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sexual-assault-prevention

Not My Athletic Teams! Six Rape Myths and Reality

Athletes tend to have higher acceptance of rape-supportive statements vs. control group. This summary looks at key findings from research paper "Understanding Community-Specific Rape Myths : Exploring Student Athlete Culture" by Sarah McMahon

Violence Against Women – Review of Effective Training Programs

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Every year millions of women and young girls from around the globe are forced to live every day under the ever-present threat of violence. Statistics show that one out of every three women will have to at some point in their lives cope with either some sort of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. The impact of these assaults, not only affect the women victims but all of society as a whole. In an effort to reduce the level of abuse that these women have to deal with educational programs have been implemented to refocus society’s pattern of thinking so that women can be viewed as a more valuable asset. There are many different topics that can be covered in these programs. Here are several online training programs that have proven effective in helping communities to reach their goals.

The Online Training Institute

http://olti.evawintl.org/images/courses/Brochure/OLTI-eFile.pdf

The Online Training Institute program provides CEUs for professionals who are responsible for investigating sexual assault cases. The program focuses on keeping them abreast of the latest developments in regards to sexual assault. They apply extra emphasis on how to handle cases involving adult and adolescent victims who know their attackers. It addresses the unique issues such as community attitudes and biases that often interfere with the investigation process and how to overcome them. Courses offered in this program include “What Does Sexual Assault Really Look Like?”, “Preliminary Investigation: Guidelines for First Responders”, and “Effective Victim Advocacy in the Criminal Justice System: A Training Course for Victim Advocates.”

Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs

http://learn.wcsap.org

The WCSAP sponsors several online courses that cover a variety of topics that address the issues of violence against women. They offer several recorded webinars and online training courses that talk the student through a variety of issues dealing with violence against women and how victims, advocates, and others involved should deal with them. They keep everyone concerned up to date on the latest topics that deal with sexual assault as well as provide direct links to other National Resources that deal with such topics as “Understanding Sexual Violence”, “Working With Survivors”, Preventing Sexual Violence”, and “Addressing Public Policy.”

VAWnet.org

VAWnet.org

The National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women online training has virtually everything anyone might need to know about violence against women. They cover topics on domestic violence, sexual violence, transitional housing, survivors of domestic violence, building healthy teen relationships, parental issues, foster care, addressing discriminatory housing barriers for victims of domestic violence, and addressing domestic and sexual violence, substance use and mental health issues. Each program tool is designed to raise awareness, increase or enhance each individual’s knowledge base so that they are better equipped to deal with this type of crime.

UNODC

Training_Curriculum_on_Effective_Police_Responses_to_Violence_against_Women [PDF]

The United Nations’ training curriculum is specifically designed to enhance the knowledge of the local and national police so they are better equipped to respond to reports of violence against women in intimate relationships. The online training lessons include effective measures of preventing violence, how to respond and investigate reports, and how to best utilize the available resources in order to meet the needs of victims during and after an incident.

Center for Disease Control

Training_Practice_Guidelines [pdf]

The CDCs Professional Training program concentrates on training techniques on how to deal effectively with the complexities involving sexual and intimate partner violence issues. Their comprehensive programs encompass many different people and groups that may have to address these issues and teaching multiple approaches on how to address these complicated situations. Some of the courses included in the program include: “Definitions of Sexual Violence and Intimate Partner Violence”, “Identifying the Needs or Problems to be Addressed”, and “Workplace Policies and Practices.” These programs can be tailored to address specific concerns in a community and the instructors are free to adjust the program accordingly.

The problem of violence against women has been around for centuries and will not be overcome without taking a proactive approach to redirect people’s thinking and attitudes towards women. These online training courses can be very effective tools at reaching people who may not be able to get this information otherwise. Considering the fact that as of 2014 1/3 of the world’s population now has access to the Internet, an online means of education is the most available.

Note: Image source hannes.a.schwetz

Crime Against Women – Statistics Around the World

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For centuries women have been subjected to injustices all across the globe. As part of our own history, women have only in the last 100 years begun to emerge as viable participants in our modern society. Throughout the passage of time, even in cultures where women held a relatively acceptable role it was only secondary to that of any male counterpart in her family. It is that secondary status that has permitted most crime against women to be accepted by societies all over the world.

A Global Perspective

Although the passage of laws in more developed countries has brought about a reduction in violence against women, the problem still exists in large form due to lingering cultural attitudes. According to the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, at least 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence. Other reports go even further by saying that 70% have experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetime.

In countries like Australia, Canada, Israel, South Africa and the United States, this type of violence accounts for 40-70% of their female murder victims.

Rape as a Weapon of War

In countries like Bosnia and Herzegovina there were 20-50,000 women raped during their 1992-1995 wars. In Rwanda estimates suggest that 250,000 to 500,000 women and girls were targeted for violent rape in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The tactic is used to humiliate, dominate, instill fear, disperse and forcibly relocate civilian members of a community or ethnic group. According to the Global Justice Center, “rape is being used more than any other prohibited weapon of war including starvation, attacks on cultural objects, and the use of herbicides, biological or chemical weapons, dum-dum bullets, white phosphorus or blinding lasers.”

Asia

More than 64 million girls worldwide become child brides, however 46% of women between the ages of 20-24 in South Asia are reported to be married before the age of 18. This has resulted in early and unwanted pregnancies that bring on life-threatening risks for many adolescent girls making them the leading cause of death for girls between the ages of 15-19.

Human Trafficking

Every year millions of women and girls are brought into modern day slavery. At least 55% of those in forced labor worldwide and 98% of those in forced sexual exploitation are female. According to the UNODC, the most common form of human trafficking, making up 79% is sexual exploitation of women and girls. In regions of the world where there is a lot of political unrest like the Middle East, there has been an increase in the human trafficking of women as they are forced to flee conflict areas in search of refuge. Instead, many are then forced into prostitution and sex slaves in other countries.

European Countries

Even in the more developed European countries it is reported that between 40 – 50% of women experience unwanted sexual advances, physical contact or other forms of sexual harassment at work. According to the UNICRI, one in ten women have been stalked by a previous partner, 31% of women who report being raped by a partner have been repeatedly raped (six or more times) and just over one in ten women experienced some form of sexual violence by an adult before they were 15 years old.

The Americas

In the United States, 83% of girls aged 12 – 16 have experienced some form of sexual harassment in public schools. The UN reports that in Latin America a woman is assaulted every 15 seconds in Brazil’s Sao Paulo. In Colombia, the number of cases where women have been disfigured by acid thrown in their faces quadrupled between the years 2011 – 2012. And of the 25 countries that are considered “high or very high” in rankings for “femicides” (killings of women that seem to be related to their gender), more than half are in the Americas.

Space does not permit the detailed listing of the rampant crime against women that happens on a global scale every day. It is clear that even in our modern day and age, the issue still remains to be of major concern. While these numbers may appear to be staggering it should be a sobering fact to note that even they represent a far lower number of crimes than actually occurred. Because of the shame and guilt felt by most, many crimes are never reported. It is clear that more work needs to be done in this area.

With the UN and other organizations campaigning worldwide in reeducation programs designed to change the view many people have about women, there has been a great deal of improvement but the problem still continues on a large scale. Even developed countries that claim to be more progressive still have underlying cultural biases that keep women in a more vulnerable position.

As more and more laws are passed like the Campus SaVE Act, designed to protect the human rights of women, we will continue to see a progressive change in the world’s view of women and a major reduction in these numbers and the promise of a better future for women the world over may eventually get fulfilled.

[Photo Andrea@flickr]

Crime Against Women – Statistics on Campuses and Campus SaVE Act

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According to an interview with Susan Carbon, Director of the Department of Justice, even though the nation has witnessed a decrease in the area of violent crime in recent years, the area of crime against women has actually experienced a dramatic increase. Ms. Carbon pointed out that the primary areas of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking still continue to have a major impact on many women across the country.  Campus SaVE Act is a bold and necessary step towards addressing these crimes. As many statistics bear out, each year:

  • One in every four women will experience severe physical violence by a former spouse, boyfriend, or significant other.
  • Stalkers will victimize approximately 5.2 million women with domestic violence-related stalking being the most common.
  • One in five women can expect to be raped in their lifetime with 1.3 million rapes being reported every year.

Crimes Against Women on College Campuses

While these figures can be quite sobering, these four major crimes can be even more alarming when they occur on college campuses. However, there is an added layer of concern as statistics show that a major contributing factor to the increase violence against women on college campuses seems to be a direct result alcohol in many circumstances.

It appears that many college rapists avoid the justice system by targeting women who will not be considered credible because of alcohol, drug use, or some other similarly related factors. Their tactics are often to ply the women with alcohol before using force. The statistics seem to give weight to this argument:

  • 19% of undergraduate women reported experiencing completed or attempted sexual assault since entering college. The majority of these assaults occurred while the woman was incapacitated with alcohol.
  • There is a higher risk of incapacitated rape while a woman is in college.
  • More that 80% of undetected college rapists reported committing rapes of women who were incapacitated because of drugs or alcohol.
  • Still, as alarming as these figures are they are not reported with any level of accuracy.

Most Crimes are Unreported

While these statistics may seem a bit extreme it becomes even more disturbing when you consider that most crimes that involve violence against women go unreported, leaving their victims to suffer in silence because of traditional views and societal attitudes. For most women, they will be left alone with feelings of guilt and shame, never reaching out to seek the help the need from police, hospitals, crisis centers, or shelters. It is estimated that only 2% of victims of incapacitated rape reported the assault to law enforcement.

What Can Be Done About It

This paints a grim picture of the level of crime against women on college campuses, however there are other added layers of violence against women that are quite common when it comes to assaults that occur on college campuses. Consider the facts that unlike other forms of sexual assault or violence against women, many of these crimes are committed in full view of witnesses or bystanders.

With 60% of alcohol-facilitated rapes occurring at parties there are more often than not witnesses to the crime, yet few people feel compelled to intervene. Clearly, this is where the new Campus SaVE Act can be of immense support. With the need to change the campus culture a re-education needs to be implemented that will offer new programs like Bystander Intervention Training to change the social attitudes that continue to contribute to this growing problem on our nation’s campuses.

As we watch our nation’s campuses evolve under this new law, we’ll see new educational programs emerge to redirect college thinking starting from the top down. Administrators will be enlisted as partners in reaching out to all those involved. Bystanders will be less afraid to speak up when they see things without fear of repercussions and with the combined efforts of drug and alcohol abuse centers working with the school police, department of justice, and other authorities we will slowly begin to see much of the crimes changing making our campuses safe for women everywhere.

Photo credit Flickr

 

Crime Against Women - History of Laws Around the World

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Back in the 18th century B.C., the Babylonian King Hammurabi established a governmental collection of 282 laws that established a set of conduct for his people in ancient Mesopotamia.  In that set of laws there were very clear distinctions laid out for both men and women. According to Hammurabi’s Code, “if a man killed a pregnant maid-servant,” he was punished with only a fine.  However if he were to kill a “free-born” pregnant woman, his own daughter had to be sacrificed as retribution.  Clearly, these pre-Biblical laws helped to shape people’s views of women from our earliest times in recorded history.  While Hammurabi may have been thinking of only his time, the influences of his laws have echoed throughout history and the same theme of crime against women has continued with little change for many millennia.

Mankind’s Historical Record of Crime Against Women

In 1997, according to the United Nations Human Development Report, after nearly 50 years of research and study, they came to a significant conclusion.

“No society treats its women as well as men.”  While the differences in the gender gap vary from country to country, they determined that women were more often than not relegated to second-class citizenship all around the world.  Here are a few examples.

The Congo

One of the most heinous demonstrations of crime against women, even in these modern times is the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  This country has earned the label of the “rape capital of the world.”  The prevalence and intensity of sexual violence against women has been described as the worst in the world.  The Congo has long held a history of violence against women but the offenses have increased in recent years because of the political unrest that is growing in the country since most of the militia believe that sexual assault against women is a justifiable weapon in times of war.

Asia 

In countries like China and India, the term “missing women” refers to a skewing of the gender ratio.  In China for example, for many years a family was only allowed to have one child and since a male child is considered much more valuable than a female child parents were allowed to kill any female child born to them. Society, in many of these regions is now experiencing a shortage of women for their men to marry.

Western World - Crimes of Honor

Crimes of honor are considered to be crimes that are directly connected to the honor or shame of the men in society.  For years, in many western cultures many patriarchal societies have given men the authority over women in every aspect of their lives.  Through this authority, women can be overpowered and controlled by any male position (a boyfriend, husband, or father) in order to protect his position and status in society.  Any woman who did not comply with his rules, or established hierarchy was subjected to all manner of abuses throughout their lifetimes.

It has only been in the last century that women have slowly begun to close the gap between the sexes and have earned their own rights as dignified citizens of this modern world.  While crime against women continues to plague our society today, it is clear that with new laws constantly being established throughout the world the pattern is finally beginning to fade away.

Is it possible to see a world without crime against women in our future?  Many believe it is only a matter of time.  Until then, we have to rely on the continuous progression of laws to protect women from the historic violence that they have had to contend with for millennia

Photo Credit: Ben Sutherland

Campus SaVE Act - How to Comply

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With the new Campus SaVE Act now signed into law, educational institutions are now expected to meet even more details included in this expanded view of violence. The new reporting guidelines outline additional obligations and that require them to implement very specific policies, procedures, and training for staff, faculty, and students in regards to sexual and intimate partner violence. The new law, passed in March of 2013 is quite detailed and will require all higher educational institutions that receive financial aid programs under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to comply with every aspect of it. This could be a challenge for some institutions as they not only need to understand the new language of the law but also how it has been expanded from previous laws to include gays, lesbians, transgender individuals, Native Americans and male victims of dating, sexual assault, and stalking.

Here are some of the most basic efforts that every institution should include to help them to prepare to comply with this new law.

Public Awareness

One of the first things that every university should begin with is a campus wide public campaign that informs everyone involved about the new law. These announcements and programs should encourage a collaborative effort to let anyone who could possibly be affected by the new Campus SaVE Act to know of the requirements and what will be expected of them. This means informing students, faculty, campus security, human resources, residence staff, counselors, and health staff of the changes and what is to be expected.

Collect Data for Campus SaVE Act

Institutions must also begin collecting and compiling data about the new categories of crimes that fall under the law. These will include hate crimes based on gender identity or national origin. This is required information that must be included in their ASR reports due to be submitted in October of 2014.

Consult With Legal Counsel

The law is very detailed and may need clarification for some so it is advisable that every institution consult with their legal counsel and review each of the required policies, the proper procedures, and practices that may possibly be construed as sexual misconduct in order to determine what actions and adjustments may be needed for them to meet these additional expectations.

Implement Training Programs

In addition, they must revise existing programs or implement new educational training programs for all students, staff, and faculty so that the expanded understanding of the new law will be fully understood by everyone that may be impacted in some way by the new Campus SaVE Act.

A Good Faith Effort

While preliminary guidance regarding the new reporting regulations were issued in May of 2013, there are still more details expected in regards to the new requirements, all involved institutions are expected to make a “good faith effort” to begin compliance while they are waiting for more clarification on the new crime reporting rules.

Consult the U.S. Attorney General

It is strongly recommended by Congress that all institutions look to the U.S. Attorney General’s office and the Secretary of Health and Human Services for assistance in the best way for them to comply. They should be assured that they will receive the guidance they need on all types of prevention and educational programs and procedures that can be best applied to their situation.

 

[Photo credit: Mark Fischer flickr ]

Crime Against Women - A Brief History of Laws in the US

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Throughout history, regardless of a woman’s culture or background they have been subjected to all sorts of unjust offenses.  While men have suffered their own assaults women, historically have had to bear the brunt of all manner of abuse.  From early childhood, they were raised without rights, some barely treated better than slaves, while others may have had the appearance of freedom they were often kept under the control of a male family member. The violence they have endured over the years has gradually receded and over time the passage of laws has made life a little more humane.  Here is a brief history of how those laws have impacted crime against women in the United States over the past 200+ years.

1800-1900 - Its not really a Crime... is it?

At the beginning of the 19th century a woman’s legal status in life was directly connected to her husband, brother, or father.  By law she could only expect to be subservient and dependent on these close family members.  European settlers who believed that husbands had the God given right to correct their wives through the use of physical punishment in various forms of domestic violence influenced the culture of the time.  The laws offered little to no protection from crime against women.  Wife abuse or other forms of family violence was often supported and encouraged by societal expectations and religious morals.

The case of Calvin Bradley vs. the State of Mississippi in 1824 was the first of many major cases of domestic abuse was decided in the state Supreme Court.  The ruling that the husband had gone to excessive lengths to “chastise” his wife set a precedent for the establishment of new laws favoring women to be put into place.  By the mid 1800s wife assault had become illegal in several states across the country.

1900 - 1950 - Women Take on New Roles

By the time the 19th century arrived the United States had changed its image completely.  Instead of a strong agricultural community the nation had entered into an age of industry.  Along with the new face of the nation, a new family image was also evolving.  Men were no longer working at home but were seeking outside sources of income leaving women behind to take care of the home and children.  Education was not an option for many leaving them again with a lower status of unintelligent, weak and of little consequence with few options for change.  Family matters were considered private and intimate affairs that should be resolved behind closed doors.  Because of this, even with the new laws protecting wives from abuse these types of incidents were often unreported.

Women were still not allowed to have their own property or vote in most states.  It isn’t until 1920 that the Nineteenth Amendment is passed, guaranteeing women the right to vote.  Equal rights were not given to women until 1923.

With the rise of the Feminist Movement, gradually more laws began to emerge that slowly worked to overturn strongly entrenched thinking among many in society.  With the passage of the right to vote in 1920 women were gradually being allowed to enter public office, which lead to more laws giving women additional protection than ever before.

1950 – 2000 - Harassment and Crime Against Women Get Recognized

By 1986 the United States Supreme Court decides on the case of Meritor Savings Bank vs. Vinson – determining “that sexual harassment creating a hostile or abusive work environment, even without economic loss for the person being harassed, is in violation of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

While crimes against women may have begun to decline the statistics show that offenses were still very high.  In the 1980s, these issues were now being addressed in Congress.  In 1984 the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act was passed in an effort to prevent more incidents of family violence and to provide shelter to those victimized and in 1994, Congress passed a major crime bill, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.  This bill was known for creating a never before seen number of programs focused on assisting law enforcement to fight violent crimes predominantly committed against women.  The scope of the law was now reaching far beyond those of family abuse and extending to cover other acts of violence against women.

The 21st Century - Expanded Laws to Stop Crime Against Women

Today, the VAWA is the latest legal win in fighting crime against women.  Through this law a number of grant programs and funding for violence prevention, investigations and prosecutions, and victims services have been implemented.  Whether the crimes are domestic in nature or a stranger assault the evolution of laws protecting women have moved from those in the private family circle to protect all women regardless of social status, sexual orientation, or relationship to the assailant.

The law was reauthorized in 2000 and again in 2005 where its protection was extended to battered and trafficked immigrants with enhanced penalties for repeat stalking offenders.  It also added programs for American Indian victims, sexual assault victims and programs to improve the public’s response to domestic violence.  

While the occurrence of crime against women continues to be a problem in our society today, the hope is that with the continuous passage of laws expanding protection of women’s rights there will be a marked decline eventually leading to eliminating the problem all together

(image courtesy of Cornell Kheel Center - Six women including Mary Dreier, Ida Rauh, Helen Marot, Rena Borky, Yetta Raff, and Mary Effers linked arm in arm in their march to City Hall during the shirtwaist strike to demand an end to abuse by police . Other shirtwaist strikers follow behind carrying a union banner, Dec. 3, 1909)

Campus Save Act - Top 5 Resources

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Since the new amendment to the Campus Save Act 2013 was signed a year ago, things have been moving at a fast pace at university campuses across the country. The requirements to comply by the 2014-15 school year means that administration, staff, and students alike need to have ready access to available resources in order to not only understand the new parameters of the law but also how to implement or take advantage of these new requirements.

1- Why You Need a Copy of the Campus Save Act

At the very least, everyone should have access to a copy of the actual document so that they can read it in full. With the high rate of crimes against women happening in campuses all over the country and the low reporting rates this new law is a necessity and it will require everyone to become very familiar with the many details involved in each section of the new legislation.

Get the PDF of the Campus Save Act here

2- Campus Save Act Resources For Schools

There are a number of new definitions and clarifications required and it is essential that all institutions become well versed in these new details. To get a better understanding on how to implement the new Campus Save Act 2013 there is an excellent webinar series that explains thoroughly many of the new guidelines set out in the new legislation.

The webinar is held with S. Daniel Carter, Director of the 32 National Campus Safety Initiative and Connie Kirkland, Director of Behavior Intervention Support Services. The entire series is about one hour in length and covers essential topics such as how to collect sexual assault evidence, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking statistics, how to establish programs as a deterrent to these types of crimes, the proper procedures for informing victims of their rights, and how to ensure and guarantee the rights of both the accuser and accused.

It also includes many of the definitions of certain crimes, new policies, educational requirements, bystander intervention, correct procedures and how they should be followed, disciplinary proceedings, and more. The session is quite thorough and will most likely answer many of your questions that you might have regarding what is expected under this new Campus Save Act 2013.

Click here for the Webinar Series

Once you’ve completed listening to this webinar series you should have a very clear understanding of what is expected of everyone in order to comply.

3- For More Detailed Resources on Campus Save Act

There are also a number of other valuable resources that can provide you with the needed guidance to fully implement the new legislation in your particular institution. The list includes essential downloadable documents as well as an extensive list of articles, letters, books, blogs, and videos that have been prepared specifically to address the new issues that are a result of the Campus Save Act 2013.

Simply by logging into the Response Ability Project’s website, you’ll be able to get access to many of these important documents, articles, blogs, videos and any other resources that you’ll need to ensure your institution’s compliance.

4- Prevention & Training Checklist

It will also be very beneficial for you to have a checklist detailing much of the content that will be required in the sexual misconduct training sessions that are required. Having this information at your disposal will help to clear up any doubts as to what should be included and how needs to participate in the sessions. ATIXA Resources provides all of this information in The ATIXA Title IX/SaVE Act Prevention & Training Checklist.

Prevention & Training Checklist

5- For Ongoing Conversations on the Subject

Finally, for an ongoing conversation on the new legislation you might want to make regular visits to the Campus Clarity Blog. Here they will discuss compliance issues and various questions that will inevitably arise about the subject as the mandated time of compliance draws nearer. This site will help to keep many abreast of the issues as soon as they come up so that you can always be aware of how they may affect your institution.

Click here for Campus Clarity Blog

According to the new law all institutions must be in full compliance by October 1, 2014. This means that every college institution as well as anyone who works with them should be focusing on implementing this new legislation now. Violence against women has been an ongoing practice for many years now and the only way it will be changed is when everyone begins to work together to stem the tide.

[photo credit quinn.anya @flickr]

Campus Save Act 2013 - What Does it Mean?

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In March of last year President Obama signed into law a new Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act. While the law itself is not entirely new it does quite well in clarifying many of the questions that people had regarding its predecessor “the Clery Act” of 1992. Today, the new law often referred to as the Campus SaVE Act 2013 casts a wider net over many acts of crime against women to clarify its definitions, include additional offenses, stricter prevention policies, and a more detailed explanation of victim’s rights. Colleges and universities across the country are expected to comply and have all of the new requirements in place by the coming 2014-15 school year. The fight against violence against women has been ongoing for centuries and this new law represents a major milestone for many who are at the forefront of this battle.  But that leaves many people wondering exactly what that means for all of us.  Here are some of the more salient points included in the new Campus SaVE Act 2013.

Clarifies Definitions

One of the main focuses of the new law is to clarify a few definitions that were not fully understood in the previous law passed 20 years ago.  It was discovered that terms such as “domestic violence”, “dating violence”, and stalking were in some cases overlapping causing some confusion about how to report the crime and under what jurisdiction.  With campus laws, local and state laws, the responsibility of investigating and prosecuting such crimes is now made very clear.

Under the new law, any crime against women whether it is a sexual assault or an act of violence is clearly defined and explained so that victim’s rights can be adequately protected.

New Policies

The new policies do not negate the current guidelines previously followed under the original Violence Against Women Act but actually expands on them. Under these new guidelines the University must meet very specific requirements in regards to both education and victim’s rights.

They must include educational and awareness programs not only in their student and staff orientations but also in their regular curriculum throughout the school year.  The definition of each of the stated crimes, the specific offenses in their jurisdiction, the definition of consent, and other core information must become the core of these programs.

A new feature of the Campus SaVE Act 2013 is The Bystander Intervention guidelines.  These assure that an individual who sees a crime being committed will be able to report it without fear of any repercussions or reprisals. This is in an effort to encourage more people to become active participants in the legal system.  The goal is to work to change the societal norms so that others are not just watching things happen but will feel empowered to take a stand against crime against women.

The New Victim’s Notification of Rights

According to the new Campus Save Act 2013, “Any student or employee who reports any incident is entitled to a direct written explanation of all rights and options.”  This clause is separate from the disclosure statement in the original Clery Act Annual Security Report.

An example of the more detailed explanation of those rights can be seen with the explanation of the victim’s right to privacy, which goes beyond that of keeping their name out of a report.  Since identification can be made by means other than publicly discussing the case it is necessary that the steps involved in investigating a case takes into consideration additional actions to protect the victim’s privacy.

For example, if the location of the crime is the victim’s dorm room, sending officers to that room to investigate can reveal the victim’s identity and expose the offense.  In that case, meeting in another location may be warranted.

For centuries women have been relegated to second class citizens unworthy of protection because of many archaic cultural beliefs however today, with the new amendments to the Violence Against Women Act they are taking one more step towards becoming an integral part of our society deserving of equal protection under the law.

These and other clauses go into effect in March of 2014 and it is strongly recommended that everyone take the time to learn these new legal requirements for universities across the country.

Image source: Mark Fischer

Campus Save Act of 2013 - Five Things You Should Know About It

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Five Things You Should Know About Violence Against Women Act of 2013 and Campus Save Act of 2013

On November 25th of each year a little known date is recognized by only a few the world over.  “The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.”  This day instituted by the General Assembly of the United Nations was started in 1999 in hopes of raising public awareness of the countless women who have been attacked, assaulted, or coerced into actions against their will.

The prejudices that are launched against many women are deeply rooted practices that go back thousands of years and will take much more than a special day to change. Add to this the fact that this historical plague against women most often on college campuses and you’ll soon realize that violence against women on school campuses is an assault on our nation’s future.

Still, efforts to make such changes are being made and a modicum of success has been seen.  One of those efforts has been with the passing of the Violence Against Women Act of 2013 and the Campus Save Act both of which have been designed to slow the tide of violence against women.  While both of these documents are very encouraging steps forward in our fight against violence against women there are some things that everyone should know about them.

1. Student Training Programs

According to the 2013 Violence Against Women Act and the Campus Save Act all students will be required to attend a comprehensive “primary prevention and awareness” program where they will be clearly educated on what offenses like rape, acquaintance rape, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking entail and the school’s position on prohibiting these behaviors.

 2. New Student Discipline Requirements

The VAWA Act of 2013 also must detail the proper procedures victims should follow to preserve evidence of an assault and where the assault should be reported.  The compliance should also explain clearly the victim’s rights in these cases.

 3. Standards of Investigation

Another requirement of the VAWA Act of 2013 must also address the proper standards of investigation and conduct of student discipline proceedings in cases of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking cases.

 4. New Reporting Requirements

 The 2013 Violence Against Women Act also has new reporting requirements that every college campus must meet.  In the past, reporting of these types of assaults was also very inconsistent.  There was a lack of clarity of definition that that made those reporting campus statistics unsure.  With clear definitions listed in the VAWA Act of 2013 reporting now is clear.

In addition to the annual reporting of crimes of “forcible and non-forcible sex offenses and aggravated assaults” campuses are also required to report cases of domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking as well.

 5. The New Law Is More Inclusive

The previous violence against women act of 1994 not all women were included.  Native American women and LGBT survivor complaints were not always respected.  With the passing of this new reauthorization of the law these critical gaps have now been closed.  Today, all women who are victims of violence can get the protection that they need.

According to a December 2000 report entitled “The Sexual Victimization of College Women” published by the National Institute of Justice, a college with 10,000 students could experience as many as 350 rapes per year.  That fact along with other acts of violence against women is the very reason why the new Violence Against Women Act of 2013 is so important to the future of our women and society as a whole.

 

[Image source: STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN EVERYWHERE Speak Out Rally at Columbia Heights Plaza on 14th between Kenyon Street and Park Road, NW, Washington DC on Saturday afternoon, 9 March 2013 by Elvert Barnes PROTEST PHOTOGRAPHY]