Universities and Support of VAWA

By Guest Blogger

Part of the #HERvotes blog carnival.

I am very passionate about issues of social justice. One issue in particular that I am very passionate about is ending teen dating violence and other forms of interpersonal violence. I currently work as a coordinator for a Teen Dating Violence Prevention Speaker’s Bureau where I get our speakers to speak out in the community about teen dating violence. I am also working to create a peer education program at my University around all forms of interpersonal violence, a program similar to the one I was in when I was a freshman at a different University before I transferred.

But Universities need the support of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Nearly half of dating college women (43%) report having experienced violent or abusive dating behaviors. Despite this high number, more than one-third of college students (38%) say they would not even know how to get help on campus if they found themselves in an abusive relationship. Colleges and universities need to provide more comprehensive responses and additional creative educational programs to address dating violence and abuse.

The Campus Sexual Violence Elimination (SaVE) Act (S. 834/H.R. 2016) is part of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (S. 1925). This piece seeks to amend the Jeane Clery Act by offering far more comprehensive guidelines for handling sexual violence, dating violence, and stalking on campus. The Campus SaVE act would: (1) increase transparency/safety by mandating that Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) report incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, have written policies in place, and inform reported victims of their rights, available services, and available legal/disciplinary processes; (2) improve education by providing programming addressing primary prevention and bystander intervention; (3) increase accountability my mandating minimum standards for campus disciplinary procedures; and (4) increase collaboration by having schools work together to develop best practices with the input of the Secretary of Education. The Campus SaVE Act is critical to effectively addressing the overwhelming problem facing our students. The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (S. 1925) also includes funding to help colleges and universities implement these and other programs on campus.  We need to pass the VAWA reauthorization bill now!

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