Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) and U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today praised the announcement by University of California President Janet Napolitano that the system will voluntarily implement the provisions of the Survivor Outreach and Support Campus Act (SOS Campus Act) by establishing an independent, on-campus advocate to support survivors of sexual assault on every UC campus.
“The University of California is setting a powerful example for colleges across the country by creating a victim’s advocate on each of its campuses to help end the epidemic of sexual assault,” Senator Boxer said. “I want to thank President Napolitano for taking to heart the letter I wrote and implementing the key provisions of the SOS Campus Act before it becomes law. I am so proud of the UC system and call on every university to follow its lead.”
“I applaud UC President Janet Napolitano and the Task Force for the decision to create an independent survivors’ advocate on the campuses of the UC system,” said Representative Davis, a senior member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. “These advocates are proving effective in the military. An independent advocate puts power back in the hands of those who have been attacked by helping them negotiate the judicial system and providing confidential support. As more survivors come forward to report these crimes, a message will be sent to perpetrators that illegal acts will not be ignored and will be prosecuted.”
Senator Boxer introduced the SOS Campus Act with Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) in July. The legislation would require every institution of higher education that receives federal funding to designate an independent advocate for campus sexual assault prevention and response. The advocate would be responsible for ensuring that survivors of sexual assault – regardless of whether they decide to report the crime – have access to:
Emergency and follow-up medical care
- Guidance on reporting assaults to law enforcement
- Medical forensic or evidentiary exams
- Crisis intervention, ongoing counseling and assistance throughout the process
- Information on their legal rights
The advocate will also conduct a public information campaign on the campuses.
In August, Senator Boxer wrote to California colleges and universities, urging them to voluntarily implement the provisions of the SOS Campus Act by creating an independent victim’s advocate on every campus in the state.
The bill is supported by the University of California, the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, National Women’s Law Center, Break the Cycle, Jewish Women International, the American Association of University Women, Futures Without Violence, the Peace Officers Research Association of California, the Violence Prevention Coalition of Orange County, the Association of Title IX Administrators and Savannah Badalich, Founder of UCLA’s 7000 in Solidarity: A Campaign Against Sexual Assault.
The creation of an independent victim’s advocate office on each of its campuses was part of a broader set of recommendations put forward today by the University of California’s Task Force on Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence and Sexual Assault. A copy of the University’s report, which includes additional information on the creation of an independent advocacy office on UC campuses, can be found here.