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LWVNJ Campus Sexual Assault Study

SCOPE OF THE STUDY

At the 61st Biennial LWVNJ State Convention on May 2, 2015, delegates adopted a resolution to conduct a study of Sexual Assault on Students in College Communities due to the sense of epidemic proportions and visibility of the problem on the nation's and New Jersey's campus communities. The League of Women Voters of New Jersey voted to conduct this study because we note with alarm the increase, or at least the increase in reporting, of campus sexual assaults and want to determine how best to respond to this crisis in college communities.

The wording was carefully chosen by delegates (with several proposed amendments) to include (claimed) cases as well as proven ones, and to extend to areas in the campus community beyond the confines of the actual campus (such as nearby apartments or eateries). The emphasis is assaults on students since there are ongoing concerns about colleges failing to fully disclose alleged assaults on them for public relations purposes. The delegates explicitly rejected a restriction to assaults by students.

The scope of the study as adopted at the LWVNJ 2015 State Convention is as follows.
  • First of all, to determine the types of inappropriate sexual behavior that we would want to broadly define as "sexual misconduct," "sexual assault," or "rape" for purposes of reporting requirements, victim support, policy development, legislative advocacy, and enumerating preventive actions. The reason for our definition is not to compete with NJ legal terminology, but to determine for our purposes what we mean when we use the words "sexual misconduct," "sexual assault, "or "rape."
  • Secondly, we want to assess consent and determine what we think the proper formulation and requirements for acceptable consent should be. 
  • Following these important preliminaries, we will assess the appropriate role of local law enforcement and campus administration/campus security, federal intervention and student services in dealing with alleged sexual assault.
  • We will consider and determine the most viable means of prevention (including the role of men in eliminating gender-based / sexual violence) that all campuses must implement to stop the spread of sexual assaults in New Jersey colleges. 
The League of Women Voters of New Jersey will use the results of the study to establish a position through which we will advocate on behalf of victims of sexual assault and for the elimination of sexual assaults in the New Jersey college community; as well as advocate for legislation, public awareness and education programs. Actions by League members on the local, state and national level will make a difference in our society at large and in our college communities.

Please click at the bottom of this page to download and read the LWVNJ's document, "Sexual Assault Study Background 2016." and also the "Sexual Assault Study Consensus Questions 2016," which League members will consider. The study includes the following sections:
  • The ProblemCultural Aspects of Sexual Assault or Rape - Why It Happens 
  • Myths Regarding Sexual Assault
  • Definitions of What Constitutes Sexual Offenses
  • Federal Legislation
  • A 2014 Government initiative, IT IS ON US, was announced by the Obama Administration
  • The Role of Campus Authorities vs Law Enforcement in Assault Cases
  • Current Role of Campus Administration/Campus Security
  • Current Role of Local Law Enforcement
  • Student Support Services on Campus and Available Thru the Public Community
  • Prevention
  • Current New Jersey Legislative Action
  •  

More information is available at LWVNJ Women and Family Issues.
Deadline for consensus reports: Feb 17, 2017
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Ellen Kemp,
Oct 11, 2016, 5:14 AM
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Ellen Kemp,
Oct 11, 2016, 5:35 AM