|Posted:||September 5, 2017 03:26 PM|
|From:||Senator Lisa Baker|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Enhanced reporting requirements of postsecondary institutions|
|In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation requiring Pennsylvania institutions of higher education to offer online and anonymous options to report sexual misconduct. Part of the “It’s On Us” initiative, this measure is one component of a larger six-bill collaboration between the General Assembly and the Wolf Administration. It will allow victims and witnesses to give school authorities valuable information, while helping to address any perceived stigma or privacy concerns.
At colleges and universities, sexual violence can be prevalent. While many survivors will share their experience with a trusted friend or peer, only one in 10 report their experience in a formal way to school administrators, campus officials or law enforcement. Anonymous reporting gives students and the rest of the campus community another option to provide information on alleged incidents of sexual misconduct, including rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. This information can be critical to helping institutions more effectively prevent and respond to sexual violence on campus, aid ongoing investigations, and better train employees to recognize such incidents and assist victims.
Each institution can select the type of tool (an app, an online form, etc.) that best fits its needs, and can determine what kind of data is collected in an anonymous report. Once submitted to campus officials, the information will be evaluated and responded to according to the requirements of the federal Clery Act and Title IX. This may involve issuing a warning if there is a serious or ongoing threat to campus safety, incorporating the information into an ongoing investigation, or including the incident in annual campus crime statistics.
I hope you will join me in this effort to bring victims and witnesses out of the shadows and give schools the tools and information needed to assist them.