WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and a group of colleagues introduced legislation to support survivors of sexual assault on college campuses. The Survivor Outreach and Support on Campus Act, or S.O.S. Campus Act, would require every college and university that receives federal funding to have an independent advocate dedicated to campus sexual assault prevention and response.
“As Wisconsin students are back on campuses, I am working to ensure our universities are equipped to prevent sexual assault and support the brave survivors,” said Senator Baldwin. “Our legislation will make sure sexual assault survivors have access to the proper medical, mental health, and legal services they need at our places of higher education.”
Sexual violence on college campuses is largely underreported. A 2020 report published by the Association for American Universities (AAU) found that 13% of graduate and undergraduate students have experienced rape or sexual assault. Among undergraduate students, AAU found that 26.4% of females and 6.8% percent of males experienced rape or sexual assault. Previous studies have shown that more than 50% of college sexual assaults occur between August and November.
The S.O.S. Campus Act would require the independent advocate to conduct public information campaigns on sexual assault prevention and ensure survivors of sexual assault have access to:
- Emergency and follow-up medical care;
- Guidance on reporting assaults to law enforcement;
- Medical forensic or evidentiary exams;
- Crisis intervention, ongoing counseling, and assistance throughout the process; and
- Information on their legal rights.
Local rape crisis centers and other community-based organizations are currently providing many of these services in communities and on campuses around the nation. The legislation recognizes the importance of these partnerships by requiring that universities either consult with or partner with these organizations to ensure that survivors get the services they need.
The S.O.S. Campus Act is led by Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) and is cosponsored by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI).
Full text of the legislation is available here.
An online version of this release is available here.