VAWA Reauthorization

VAWA Signing

On March 7, 2013, President Obama signed a bill that strengthened and reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act. Included in the bill was the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (Campus SaVE), which amends the Jeanne Clery Act and affords additional rights to campus victims of sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.

Every post-secondary institution participating in Title IV financial aid programs will be required to:

  • compile statistics of incidents of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking that occur within Clery geography and are reported to campus security authorities
  • include within its Annual Security Report a statement of policy regarding:
    • its programs to prevent domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking
    • the procedures that will be followed once an incident of these crimes has been reported, including a statement of the standard of evidence that will be used during any institutional conduct proceeding arising from the report
    • educational programs to promote the awareness of rape, acquaintance rape, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, which shall include primary prevention and awareness programs for incoming students and new employees, as well as ongoing prevention and awareness programs for students and faculty, and includes:
      • a statement that the institution prohibits these offenses
      • the definition of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking in its jurisdiction
      • the definition of consent in reference to sexual activity
      • safe and positive options for bystander intervention
      • information on risk reduction to recognize warning signs of abusive behavior
    • possible sanctions on protective measures the institution may impose following a final determination of an institutional disciplinary procedure regarding rape, acquaintance rape, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking
    • procedures victims should follow if a sex offense, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking has occurred, including information in writing about
      • importance of preserving evidence
      • to whom the alleged offense should be reported
      • options regarding law enforcement and campus authorities, including notification of the victim’s option to notify law enforcement (on-campus and local police), be assisted by campus authorities in notifying law enforcement if the victim so chooses, the option to decline to notify such authorities, and, where applicable, the rights of victims and the institution’s responsibilities regarding orders of protection, no contact orders, restraining orders, or similar lawful orders issued by a criminal, civil, or tribal court
    • procedures for institutional disciplinary action in cases of alleged domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking, which shall include statements that proceedings shall
      • provide a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation and resolution
      • be conducted by officials who receive annual training on issues related to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, and how to conduct an investigation and hearing process that protects the safety of victims and promotes accountability
      • the accuser and the accused are entitled to the same opportunity to have others present during an institutional disciplinary proceeding, including the opportunity to be accompanied to any related meeting or proceeding by an advisor of their choice
      • both the accuser and the accused shall be simultaneously informed, in writing, of:
        • the outcome of the institutional disciplinary proceeding
        • the institution’s procedures for the accused and the victim to appeal the results
        • any change in the results that occurs prior to the time the results become final
        • when the results become final
    • information about how the institution will protect the confidentiality of victims
    • written notification of students about existing counseling, health, mental health, victim advocacy, legal assistance, and other services available for victims on-campus and in the community
    • written notification of victims about options for, and available assistance in, changing academic, living, transportation, and working situations, if requested by the victim and such accommodations are reasonably available, regardless of whether the victim chooses to report the crime to campus police or local law enforcement
    • a student or employee who reports to the institution that they have been a victim of one of the aforementioned crimes shall be provided with a written explanation of the student or employee’s rights and options

Specific guidelines as to how this will impact institutions will be released by the Department of Education after the negotiated rulemaking process. If you need any technical assistance as you evaluate your own campus process, please do not hesitate to contact us at (484) 580-8754.

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