Senator Boxer, Congresswoman Davis Introduce Bill to Provide Survivors of Sexual Assault with an On-Campus Advocate

Washington, DC - Today, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) introduced the Survivor Outreach and Support Campus Act (S.O.S. Campus Act), legislation that would require colleges and universities to establish an independent, on-campus advocate to support survivors of sexual assault.

“Survivors of sexual assault deserve an advocate who will fight for them every step of the way,” Senator Boxer said. “Our bill, which has been endorsed by the University of California, will help encourage more victims to come forward and report these heinous crimes. I will work with my colleagues to pass this important bill and other broader legislation to end the epidemic of violence on our nation’s campuses.”  

“Victims of a sexual assault need to know someone is there for them, especially the learning institute they have entrusted their future to,” said Congresswoman Davis, a senior member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. “This advocate will provide victims with the critical support they will need when dealing with such a traumatic event.”

The legislation would require every institution of higher education that receives federal funding to designate an independent advocate for campus sexual assault prevention and response. This advocate would be responsible for ensuring that survivors of sexual assault – regardless of whether they decide to report the crime – have access to:  

     • Emergency and follow-up medical care
     • Guidance on reporting assaults to law enforcement
     • Medical forensic or evidentiary exams
     • Crisis intervention, ongoing counseling and assistance throughout the process
     • Information on their legal rights  

The advocate will also conduct a public information campaign on the campuses.

The bill is supported by the University of California, the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, National Women’s Law Center, Break the Cycle, Jewish Women International, the American Association of University Women, Futures Without Violence and Savannah Badalich, Founder of UCLA’s 7000 in Solidarity: A Campaign Against Sexual Assault.  

The legislation is the result of months of discussions with California university officials and advocacy groups on efforts to prevent and respond to sexual assault on campus. In May, Senator Boxer sent a letter to Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, urging him to quickly finalize and release regulations to provide clear guidance to universities on how to address sexual assault.

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