The Impact of California Senate Bill 967 on Reporting of Sexual Assault on College Campuses

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2017-06-21

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Frankenberg, Elizabeth

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Abstract

Sexual assault on college campuses is a longstanding and pervasive problem. Increasing media coverage has led to growing concern about sexual violence on college campuses and most universities’ failure to respond appropriately. However, sexual assault continues to be a frequent and underreported crime. Federal legislation has traditionally governed the way colleges handle sexual assault cases; but the California legislature now leads the way on this issue. Senate Bill 967 has set a new standard for how colleges define and respond to cases of sexual assault in California. Passed in 2014, it defines consent as an affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity from both parties. It also requires enhanced training of campus officials involved in the adjudication and investigation process, comprehensive prevention programs, collaborative partnerships with community based organizations that support survivors, and a number of additional rules that have set a high bar for how institutions respond to sexual assault. The goals of SB 967 are to support survivors in coming forward and to create a definition of consent that is affirmative, ongoing, and voluntary; thus making it easier to report sexual assaults that were perpetrated by someone with whom the victim had a pre-existing relationship, while a survivor was incapacitated, or other scenarios that used to be very difficult to prosecute. Activists’ ultimate goal is to create a society in which sexual violence is less prevalent and in which all survivors that wish to report are supported, heard, and treated with respect. Creating policies that make it easy for survivors to come forward is an important first step. Since the law’s focus is on improving the reporting process and the legal definition of sexual assault, this paper addressed the question of whether it increased reports of sexual assault on college campuses.

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Wade, Bronwen (2017). The Impact of California Senate Bill 967 on Reporting of Sexual Assault on College Campuses. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/14949.


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