36ºF

Legislation introduced to provide an independent advocate for survivors of sexual assault

Legislation introduced to provide an independent advocate for survivors of sexual assault (Image 1) (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WSLS 10) - U.S. Senators Tim Kaine, Barbara Boxer and Kirsten Gillibrand introduced the Survivor Outreach and Support on Campus Act (S.O.S. Campus Act), legislation that would require colleges and universities to ensure that an independent advocate is available to support survivors of sexual assault on every campus. 

Congresswoman Susan Davis will introduce the House version of the bill next week when the House is back in session.  

"Our responsibility is twofold – to embrace strategies that prevent sexual assaults and to ensure that survivors have the support they need," said Kaine in a written statement, released on Thursday. "By designating independent advocates on college campuses, the S.O.S. Campus Act will connect survivors to valuable counseling, medical care and legal information."

The legislation would require every institution of higher education that receives federal funding to designate an independent advocate for campus sexual assault prevention and response. 

Officials say this advocate would be responsible for ensuring that survivors of sexual assault – regardless of whether they decide to report the crime – have access to:

·         Emergency and follow-up medical care

·         Guidance on reporting assaults to law enforcement

·         Medical forensic or evidentiary exams

·         Crisis intervention, ongoing counseling and assistance throughout the process

·         Information on their legal rights