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07/25/2021 03:00 AM
Pennsylvania State Senate
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=S&SPick=20210&cosponId=35525
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: April 29, 2021 10:14 AM
From: Senator Vincent J. Hughes
To: All Senate members
Subject: Task Force on secondary and postsecondary campus sexual assault and relationship violence
 
In the near future, I plan on introducing a resolution that would direct the Joint State Government Commission to conduct a study on the impact of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking on students in the Commonwealth in grades six through 12 and enrolled in postsecondary institutions and report findings and recommendations to the General Assembly.

In 2016, Governor Wolf unveiled his “It’s on Us” bill package to help reduce and combat sexual violence on college campuses.  “It’s on Us” is a statewide campaign that invites everyone to play a role in ending sexual assault on college campuses.  The campaign is part of a national movement and it brings together college and university presidents, superintendents, teachers, students, families and community members to reframe the conversation around sexual violence.  To date, two of Governor Wolf’s “It’s on Us” initiatives have been enacted.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health, one in five women in college experiences sexual assault.  Additionally, women who are sexually assaulted may face health problems that include depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.  Data from Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) found that 5.8% of students have experienced stalking since entering college and more than 26% of females and 6% of males experienced rape or sexual assault on campus.

An estimated 61,141 young women between the ages of 14 and 17 in Pennsylvania experience sexual assault, resulting in an estimated $14.8 billion in lifetime costs resulting from decreased educational attainment and productivity.  It is important that our schools, both secondary and postsecondary, ensure all learners have access to high-quality education environments that are free from discrimination and harassment.

My resolution would direct the Joint State Government Commission to conduct a study and report back to the General Assembly on recommendations regarding improving responses and establishing consistent responses to sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking and secondary and postsecondary institutions.  At a minimum, the report should address:
  • Comparing and analyzing responses to sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking in different educational settings.
  • Identifying and analyzing prevention and response policies of different educational settings relating to sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking.
  • Analyzing and identifying the number and frequency, as well as the benefits or deficiencies of the use of postsecondary institution campus climate surveys, including how those surveys have been used to update policies or programs.
Please join me in sponsoring this resolution to ensure we are providing the safest learning environment for our students.

Please reach out to my office if you have any questions. 



Introduced as SR122