Tim Kaine legislation supports survivors of sexual assault on college campuses

tim kaineU.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, introduced legislation to help provide support for survivors of sexual assault on college campuses.

The Survivor Outreach and Support on Campus Act (S.O.S. Campus Act) would require colleges and universities to have an independent advocate available to support survivors of sexual assault on every campus. The S.O.S. Campus Act is cosponsored by Senators Diane Feinstein and Tammy Baldwin.

“It’s our responsibility as public servants to advocate relentlessly for reforms to prevent sexual assault and protections for survivors,” Kaine said. “This bill takes a much-needed step to ensure colleges and universities across the country are providing survivors of sexual assault with the support they need.”

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. This advocate would be responsible for ensuring that survivors of sexual assault 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

Local rape crisis centers and other community-based organizations are currently providing many of these services in communities and on campuses around the nation. The legislation recognizes the importance of these partnerships by requiring that universities either consult with or partner with these organizations to ensure that survivors get the services they need. The advocate will also conduct a public information campaign on the campuses.

Representative Susan Davis is introducing companion legislation in the House of Representatives today. Kaine has introduced earlier versions of this legislation in previous Congresses.

You can view the bill text here.

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