Colleges might soon be required to report cases of sexual assault to local law enforcement agencies.
Virginia, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey have all created preliminary versions of bills that will call for more collaboration between schools and police departments around the issue of campus rape.
New York's proposed bill would make affirmative consent a statewide policy, and "would require that colleges make it clear to sexual assault victims they are able to report their rapes to city and state police in addition to their university." Different states vary in the specifics of their drafts.
The new action comes in response to the increase in rapes and incidents of sexual assault on college campuses. The hope is that if colleges are now required to involve the local authorities, sexual assault cases will be better handled.
However, victims of sexual assault find the new proposal problematic. "If a survivor comes forward and says, 'Hey I need help, I want to get this guy out of my classes,' that's very different from saying, 'I want to involve myself in a lengthy arduous legal process,'" sexual assault survivor Zoe Ridolfi-Starr said.
Lack of trust in the enforcement system also plays a role in hesitation toward the new legislation, as Ridolfi-Starr added she would not look forward to working with "the same agency responsible for the death of Eric Garner."
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