Proposed bill creates statewide protocol for on-campus sexual assault

Proposed+bill+creates+statewide+protocol+for+on-campus+sexual+assault

new bill in Texas legislature is being proposed to create a statewide protocol for how college campuses handle sexual assault.

Proposed by state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, the new bill aims to draw more awareness to the severity of sexual assault as well as create a certain protocol that Texas universities are suggested to follow, Rep. Dukes said.

Currently, there is not a set protocol all universities use to handle sexual assault. Each school has differing policies, and Rep. Dukes said she is aiming to change that with her bill.

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There will be an “establishment of a statewide task force to address sexual assault occurring on the campuses of public and private institutions of higher education,” according to the bill.

The bill states the task force will include educational professionals, sexual assault counselors and sexual assault survivors. It will also create “recommended coordinated victim support services using campus-based or community-based resources.”

On a typical college campus, one in five women will be sexually assualted at some point during their time in college, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC).

Only five percent of college women who are sexually assaulted report to law enforcement, according to the NSVRC.

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TCU Police Sgt. Kelly Ham said he thinks student awareness is important in preventing future sexual assault cases.

“We are required by law to put out a crime alert even if it’s a known acquaintance,” Ham said. “The [crime alerts] also serve as a reminder to say, ‘hey, this could happen to anybody.’”

By drawing awareness to sexual assault and by keeping the entire campus informed by crime alerts, the TCU Police Department hopes to see a decrease in on-campus assault.

The most recent sexual assault case at TCU occurred on Jan. 17 to a woman in a residence hall. TCU police said students who have been assaulted should call the police and seek medical attention immediately.

“We’re here to help your security,” Ham said. “We don’t want to blame the victim. It’s never their fault.”