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New law aims to protect college students from sexual assault

New law aims to protect college students from sexual assaultWith studies showing an alarming one-in-five undergraduate college women becoming victims of rape or attempted rape, a measure was signed into law recently that will prevent and ensure proper response to sexual assaults that occur on college campuses.

“College represents new experiences and new beginnings for thousands of young women and men each year,” sponsor Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) said. “With thousands of college students heading to school, many of them for the first time, we are reminded of the importance in both preventing sexual assaults and responding with every single resource at our disposal when they do occur. Sexual assault cannot be tolerated anywhere.”

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 incidence of violence on their campuses and effectively deal with the aftermath of sexual assaults.

Acknowledging this reality, Senator Hutchinson teamed with Attorney General Lisa Madigan to ensure colleges develop clear, comprehensive campus plans for dealing with sexual violence. Each plan will ensure victims have help immediately after an attack, including confidential advisers who can guide them to medical and legal resources. These advisers must also focus on often-overlooked issues, such as orders of protection and situations where housing and class schedules need to be changed.  

House Bill 821 was signed into law by the governor and takes effect immediately.

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