Congress members are considering a bill that would combat sexual assault on college campuses.
“The Survivor Outreach and Support on Campus Act” or the “SOS Campus Act” requires every federally funded college to hire independently-designated advocates who are in charge of providing services to people who have survived sexual assault. Those services include immediate medical services, ongoing counseling, and information on their legal rights on and off campus.
“I have worked since I came to the Senate to try to reduce sexual assault, sexual violence on campus, in the military in the workforce,” Senator Tim Kaine, (D-Va.) said. “We have to focus on culture changes that will reduce the instances of sexual assaults on campus and everywhere in society.,” he added.
The bill is being considered as Congress reworks the Higher Education Act which focuses on many aspects of sexual assault, including prevention. Local victim advocates say such a bill is necessary for today’s society.
“I think the SOS Act is needed on campuses because I know of a school that their Title IX office isn’t effective. They don’t help students as quickly as they want and they push things off…I don’t think it’s much of a priority as it needs to be on campuses so I think more can be done,” Norina Zeb, a student at NOVA Community College said.
Local crisis centers and community-based organizations are currently providing many of these services on campuses around the nation. The legislation requires that universities either consult with or partner with these organizations to ensure that survivors get the services they need.