According to the news, there is an epidemic of campus sexual assault in our nation. To help curb this problem, federal and state legislation are cracking down.
The White House, in its best effort to squelch sexual assault in the university environment, has put in place several requirements for colleges receiving federal financial assistance. Under the Jeanne Clery Act, which was last amended in 2008, schools that fall into the federally funded category are required to disclose all campus crime statistics to all current and prospective students and employees. This includes every report of a campus sex offense to campus security or the local police.
Back in 2011, Vice President Joe Biden in his Dear Colleague Letter issued a warning to all schools that receive federal financial aid that they could lose said funding if they did not treat sexual assault cases properly. In July of this year, California and several other states introduced two bills that would increase funding cuts to college who do not treat sexual assault cases properly.
In addition, these bills also would require more supportive services and prevention programs against sexual assault. What does this look like? This means that a course on sexual assault is now added to the list of core requirements for all freshmen at these universities.
The tech community is even jumping on board to combat this serious issue. A 2011 federally sponsored “Apps Against Abuse” challenge birthed Circle of 6, a smartphone app that allows a potential victim of sexual assault to send one of several pre-written help messages to six trusted friends in a moment of perceived danger.
While all of these measures focus on the victim, little is said of the accused. However, as articles from both the LA Times and NPR accurately point out, the inherent right of the defendant to due process must not under any circumstance be compromised in the recent hysteria that has ensued from the federal crackdown.
Sex crime is a serious offense and is being taken more and more seriously. If you have questions surrounding what is and is not considered sexual assault, do not hesitate to contact an experienced sex crime defense attorney right away. If you find yourself involved in a sex crime, do not expect a slap on the wrist, as might have once been the case. You could face serious charges and should seek professional help immediately.