Friday, January 30, 2015

RAINN poses questions to Congress about sexual assault

With the 114th Congress ramping up, Rebecca O’Connor, RAINN’s vice president for public policy has posed three questions for them:

1. How should schools handle sexual assault cases?

What is the role and responsibility of a college or university in the fight against sexual violence?  What standards should apply to investigations, and when and how should law enforcement be involved?  How can we best protect students from these crimes and support those who are victimized?  “We’re working closely with federal lawmakers to shape legislation that will be re-introduced this session and is sure to once again make front-page news,” O’Connor explains.

2. What can be done to end the backlog of rape kits?

Untested rape kits are a national problem.  While good progress has been made, there is still much work to be done to ensure sexual assault forensic exam kits are correctly processed so victims get answers and rapists are held accountable.  “RAINN is closely monitoring the Justice Department’s implementation of the SAFER Act and new DNA initiatives,” O’Connor said, “In addition, RAINN together with the National Center for Victims of Crime and Natasha’s Justice Project, is at the helm of the Rape Kit Action Project (RKAP) which last year advised lawmakers in 20+ states as they developed rape-kit laws.  With RKAP support, seven states passed such laws last year and we expect to help many more do so this year.”

3.How can professional sports leagues be part of the solution?

Everyone has watched as the media put the spotlight on sexual assault in major league sports, and Congress is also watching.  Last month, a Senate committee hearing featured testimony from representatives from the NHL, MLB, NBA, and their players’ unions regarding the prevention of sexual assault and domestic violence.  “Continued national dialogue, including new legislation, is likely in the year ahead.  RAINN has held discussions with sports leaders as well as members of Congress about steps leagues can take to improve,” O’Connor explained.

For more information about taking action with RAINN, you can visit their Action Center.

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