Illinois AG outlines new college sexual assault prevention law

Illinois’ attorney general was at a state university Tuesday to talk about a new law enacted with the goal of helping colleges better respond to sexual violence complaints and prevent sexual violence on campuses.

The  Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act took effect this month in Illinois. The effort to pass the act started last year after holding summits on campuses across the state to discuss the problem of sexual assault.

On Tuesday, Aug. 23, Attorney General Lisa Madigan visited the University of Illinois at Chicago, joining with state, local, and university officials to highlight what the act aims to do. The attorney general’s office says the UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis, End Rape on Campus Executive Director Annie Clark, Sen. Toi Hutchinson — who was the lead sponsor of the bill — Sen. Bill Cunningham, Alderman Matt O’Shea and Director of Advocacy for Rape Victim Advocates Sarah Layden were all will Madigan at a news conference Tuesday about the law. 

In a news release sent Tuesday, Madigan’s office says the act requires that Illinois colleges and universities: 

– Develop a clear, comprehensive campus sexual violence policy, including detailed incident reporting options and university response guidelines;

– Notify student survivors about their rights, including their right to confidentiality, and the protections the university can provide to ensure the student’s health and safety, such as obtaining an order of protection, changing class schedules or campus housing, and the availability of medical and counseling services;

– Provide a confidential adviser to survivors to help them understand their options and rights, including to report the sexual assault and to seek medical and legal assistance;

– Adopt a fair and balanced process for adjudicating allegations of sexual violence; and

– Train students and campus employees to prevent sexual violence and improve awareness and responsiveness to allegations of sexual violence.

– Allow students to report data and information electronically, confidentially or anonymously (in addition to other methods offered by the college or university). A third party or bystander can also report an incident. Colleges and universities must respond to a report submitted electronically within 12 hours.

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