As you are aware, there have been some exciting changes happening in addressing and preventing sexual assault on colleges campuses. Over the past 15 years of CALCASA’s campus related work we have identified 3 principles that frame the most effective work being done.
- Survivor Centeredness: When we are developing all our protocols, policies and programs with the varying needs of survivors at the center it allows us to keep from creating “one size fits all” approaches, that don’t serve our diverse communities well. This supports the autonomy and experience of survivors in all of our work on campus from policy development to supportive services to prevention programs.
- Community Collaboration and Engagement: By ensuring that our work is collaborative and doesn’t create a “code of silence” on our campuses, we can reduce the shame and harm associated with sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. By creating partnerships between campuses and community based rape crisis centers and other programs, we leverage the expertise and support of both the campus and the community
- Comprehensive Prevention: While it is tempting for universities to focus on “programs in a box” prevention, or one or another type of prevention strategy on campus, comprehensive prevention creates an environment on campus that has the potential to change campus norms that can support a culture where rape can thrive. No one prevention strategy can have the impact of a comprehensive approach. A comprehensive approach includes primary prevention, bystander intervention, awareness campaigns and empowerment based risk reduction programs
We are excited that emerging legislative policies have aligned with these principles.
SB 967: Campus Safety: DeLeon
Starting in January 2015, this bill will require all California colleges that receive state financial aid dollars to adopt “victim centered” policies, specific to the disciplinary process on their campuses.
These policies include (among other things): an affirmative consent standard and an evidentiary standard of preponderance of the evidence in campus adjudication, statements about how they will protect the privacy of survivors, how they will account for the participation of support people in these proceedings and amnesty policies for victims and 3rd party witnesses.
?Additionally, schools will need to enter into MOU’s and other formal relationships, to the extent feasible, with on campus and community based organizations, like rape crisis centers, to ensure a collaborative approach.
Finally, schools will be required to implement “comprehensive prevention” programs that include primary prevention, awareness campaigns, empowerment based risk reduction programs and bystander intervention as part of a comprehensive approach to preventing sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.
The White House Report on Sexual Assault
Rape and Sexual Assault a Renewed Called to Action, the report produced by the White House Council on Women and Girls and released in January of 2014, outlines a focus on victim centered policies like ensuring confidentiality and partnering with local rape crisis centers, as well as developing comprehensive prevention strategies that incorporate bystander intervention and engaging men as part of the campus wide prevention plan.
?Clery Act Amendments?
?Most recently, the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Campus SaVE), amended via the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act of 2013, has reinforced this framework.
On Monday, October 20th, the Department of Education published to the Federal Register, after the rulemaking process and a public comment period, its final regulations for how the Campus SaVE amendments will be interpreted and enforced. These regulations reflect the same principles that CALCASA continues to promote, and that have been reinforced via our work with advocates and students. CALCASA has prepared a document outlining some of the amendments to the regulations, with highlights related to how rape crisis centers can work more closely with universities to ensure that these principles remain at the forefront of policy development.
We are looking forward to continuing to share with you ways of working with your local colleges and universities as they create systemic changes that will create more supportive environments for survivors and eliminate environments where rape can thrive.
Stay tuned for upcoming webinars and other training opportunities and, as always, feel free to contact your CALCASA campus team for support and assistance at firstname.lastname@example.org.