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Davis Sponsors Sexual Assault Legislation

Updated: Thursday, August 7 2014, 12:06 AM CDT
Rape among college-aged adults is far more common than you may think. As
local universities work to prevent and respond to sexual assaults,
lawmakers in Washington are too.

One in five women report being raped according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At
the University of Illinois Springfield, there has been one reported
sexual assault in the past three years; that was in 2012.

"I
think it's vastly higher. i know it is.. that's just what's officially
reported," said Lynn Otterson, the director of the women's center at
UIS.  In that role, she helps rape victims and trains student leaders
about responding to sexual assault.

As we first reported last
month, UIS staff members do not have formal, required training related
to sexual assault response. Otterson is working on plans to change that.

"[Training
is] what do you do in two senses... how do you act, talk and approach
that person. The second half would be what are the laws, what is UIS
supposed to be doing? What do we legally need to do?"

Under new
proposed federal legislation, that Illinois congressman Rodney Davis
just co-sponsored, colleges would be held more accountable for
preventing and responding to sexual assault.

"It's very personal for me. my daughter is going to college next year," said the republican congressman.

The
proposed changes in the Campus Accountability and Safety Act include
new campus resources, like confidential advisors for victims; minimum
training standards for on-campus personnel; a coordinated effort with
law enforcement and campus staff that clearly defines responsibilities
to solve crimes faster; and new transparency requirements. The
Department of Education would publish the names of schools with pending
investigations.

Additionally, students at every U.S. university
will be surveyed about sexual violence and results will be published in
an online report every year.

"I want to make sure we do
everything we can to give our colleges every tool they need, give our
law enforcement every tool they need and students to stop this tragedy,"
Davis said.

Under the proposed legislation, schools that don't
comply with certain requirements may face a penalty of up to one-percent
of the institution's operating budget. Congressman Davis said
previously, the only allowable penalty was the loss of all financial aid
which is not practical and has never been done. Davis Sponsors Sexual Assault Legislation


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