Sens., Rep. Introduce Legislation to Strengthen Campus Sexual Assault Protections for Students with Disabilities
Washington, D.C. – Although great strides have been made in advancing protections against sexual violence on college campuses, students with disabilities still suffer a disproportionate number of violent sexual crimes. A recent report from the National Council on Disability, “Not on the Radar: Sexual Assault of College Students with Disabilities,” found that the needs of these students are often not addressed under existing policies. To address this gap and build upon the work of the landmark Jeanne Clery Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), alongside U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), introduced the Safe Equitable Campus Resources and Education (SECuRE) Act. U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12)introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
“While my Campus SaVE legislation helped improve reporting and access to support services for survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking, more can and must be done for students with disabilities,” said Senator Casey. “This legislation will help ensure that all students, regardless of whether or not they have a disability, have access to the resources they need to feel safe at school. It’s past time we step up for them and I urge my colleagues to support the SECuRE Act.”
“All students have the right to be safe and to not fear that they will be sexually assaulted, yet sexual harassment and violence continue to occur at alarmingly high rates on college campuses across the country,” Senator Hassan said. “While there has been some increased awareness and progress in addressing sexual assault on campuses, students who experience disabilities – who face higher rates of sexual violence than students without disabilities – are often ignored or relegated to second-class status when it comes to combating sexual assault. I am introducing this legislation with Senator Casey to ensure that all students impacted by sexual violence have access to the resources and supports they need when these unconscionable incidents occur."
“Every student deserves to learn and study in an environment that is safe and free from harassment and assault,” said Congresswoman Dingell. “Despite suffering from sexual violence at nearly double the rate of their peers, it is clear that students with disabilities are slipping through the cracks when it comes to campus efforts to prevent and respond to sexual assault. This must change. The SECuRE Act ensures the needs of students with disabilities are taken into account in campus planning and response efforts, and that resources provided to the campus community are accessible to everyone. This is a critical step in our effort to combat campus sexual assault and ensure all survivors have a place to turn.”
Specifically, the SECuRE Act would:
The SECuRE Act has been endorsed by:
Advocates Building Lasting Equality in New Hampshire (ABLE NH)
American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
The Arc of Pennsylvania
The Arc of the United States
Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)
Autism Society of America
Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN)
Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA)
Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
Coalition of Parent and Attorney Advocates (COPAA)
National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD)
National Association of State Directors of Special Education
National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)
National Disability Rights Network
National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC)
Safety Advisors for Educational Campuses, LLC (SAFE Campuses, LLC)
The SECuRE Act is also recommended and supported by the National Council on Disability, a federal advisory body.