Filler-Corn introduces bill to combat campus sexual assaults
Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Springfield) today introduced HB 1343, legislation requiring the reporting of campus sexual assaults by campus and local law enforcement to the local Commonwealth’s Attorney within 48 hours of the reported incident.
If passed, this legislation will expedite an investigation of the case, while ensuring the proper course of action, due process and any necessary legal filings are completed when sexual assaults are reported to campus law enforcement.
“As a mother of college-aged students, I share the worry of all parents about the safety of our kids when they’re away from home. And like all parents in the Commonwealth, I’ve been heart-broken and outraged by reports of rampant sexual assaults on our university campuses,” said Delegate Filler-Corn. “It’s clear we need new action to prevent these assaults. My bill is designed to encourage a thorough investigation by our justice system and promote information sharing to stop sexual predators from jumping from campus to campus.”
Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney Denise Lunsford stated, “I support legislation that would require notice to the Commonwealth Attorney regarding criminal sexual assaults occurring on Virginia’s college campuses. Such notice will help assure that violators are held responsible for their actions and that they do not commit such crimes in the future by allowing for prompt investigation and collection of evidence as well as, if appropriate, prosecution of these crimes. Additionally, notice to the Commonwealth Attorney will assure that survivors of such offenses are fully aware of all available options.”
“As Governor McAuliffe’s Task Force on Combating Campus Sexual Violence continues its work to develop a comprehensive set of recommendations that will make a substantial impact on both prevention and response to sexual assault on campuses, the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance welcomes efforts by Virginia legislators to continue to move forward through incremental policy changes,” said Kristi VanAudenhove, Executive Director of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance. “Delegate Filler-Corn’s bill requiring campuses to report investigations of felony sexual assault crimes to the local attorney for the Commonwealth within 48 hours of opening an investigation is a welcome improvement that will ensure campus sexual assaults are taken seriously.”
“This problem needs to be addressed across campus. Whether in a fraternity house, dorm room, parking garage or research facility, everyone on campus should feel safe and be protected,” added Filler-Corn.
In 2012, as a member of the Militia, Police and Public Safety Subcommittee, Delegate Filler-Corn introduced similar legislation requiring campus police to report sexual assault cases to local law enforcement so that the proper investigation ensued.
Delegate Filler-Corn added, “Our university system has long been a point of pride for us in Virginia and underpins our economic engine. However, the safety of all our students must be paramount. I know we can make the changes we need, but it will take all of us from parents, students, law enforcement and university officials working together to do it.”