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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: August 30, 2017 02:10 PM
From: Representative Dan Frankel
To: All House members
Subject: It's On Us - Online and Anonymous Reporting
In the near future, I plan on introducing legislation that creates more opportunities for victims of campus rape and sexual assault to report the crime to authorities.

In recent years, awareness of the campus sexual assault epidemic has grown dramatically. Haunting statistics show that 1 in 4 women will be a victim of sexual assault during her time in college. What’s more alarming is that campus sexual assault is one of the most under-reported crimes with only 1 in 5 victims reporting. Statistics show the most vulnerable are first year women. There can be many barriers for a victim to file a report, including the fear of not being believed. We should work to remove barriers and create more opportunities for victims to come forward.

This bill would require postsecondary institutions to offer online and anonymous reporting options for students and employees. Reporting a rape or incident of sexual assault can be hard step for a student to take. For some, it may take a year for to develop the courage to come forward to law enforcement or campus authorities. Anonymous online reporting gives a victim the opportunity to give campus authorities valuable information on an assault without fear of repercussions.

Anonymous online reporting also meets students where they are. Today’s generation of students are constantly connected to the internet, and are accustomed to using it for most tasks. When victims review their options, there is a high likelihood they’re doing it from the palm of their hand. It’s important to allow an opportunity to file a report remotely.

Anonymous reporting is widely recognized as a best practice to improve reporting of sexual violence and harassment on campus. It is also permitted under the federal Jeanne Clery Act and Title IX.

This bill is part of Governor Wolf’s “It’s on Us PA” initiative, which helps create awareness about campus sexual assault, supports survivors, encourages bystanders to intervene, and teaches consent. Please join me in co-sponsoring this meaningful legislation.

Introduced as HB1756