Combating sexual violence on college campusesSPRINGFIELD – An alarming one in five undergraduate college women will become a victim of rape or attempted rape.

“College represents new experiences and new beginnings for thousands of young women and men each year,” Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) said. “Unfortunately, too many of those students will become victims of sexual violence that can have negative effects lasting a lifetime.”  

While there have been efforts at the federal level to deal with the issue of sexual violence on campuses, universities have been left with a patchwork of recommendations and proposals without clear guidance on how they can reduce the incidents of violence on their campuses and effectively deal with the aftermath of sexual assaults.

Acknowledging this reality, Senator Hutchinson passed House Bill 821 out of the Senate Criminal Law Committee today. The proposal requires colleges and universities to develop a clear, comprehensive campus plan for dealing with sexual violence, ensuring victims have help immediately after an attack, including confidential advisers who can guide them to medical and legal resources. The plan calls for universities to focus on often-overlooked issues, such as orders of protection and situations where housing and class schedules need to be changed.  

“We must do everything in our power to protect students and respond with every single resource at our disposal,” Hutchinson said. “Sexual assault cannot be tolerated anywhere.”

House Bill 821 passed the Senate Criminal Law Committee unopposed and will now head to the Senate floor for further debate.

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