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State Legislature Approves Bill to Better Address Sexual Violence and Harassment on College Campuses

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO, CA — Last week, the California State Legislature passed a measure authored by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D - Woodland Hills) to equip California’s college students with greater protections and tools against sexual violence. If signed by Governor Newsom, Assembly Bill (AB) 2683 would requires universities to annually train their students on sexual violence and sexual harassment and provide them with better information regarding resources and  reporting options.

“Far too many young people experience sexual assault and harassment on college campuses,” said Assemblymember Gabriel. “This bill will help ensure that our students are safe and protected on campus, that victims are provided with the support they need, and that perpetrators are held accountable. I’m grateful to the many young people who worked with our office to pass this important measure.”

The crisis of sexual violence at higher education institutions has been well documented. According to the 2019 Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct conducted by the Association of American Universities, an average of 13% of undergraduate students nationwide experienced non-consensual sexual contact. Other recent studies suggest that up to one-third of undergraduate women experience non-consensual sexual contact. These reports also find that the majority of those who had been victims experienced multiple behavioral, emotional, academic, or professional consequences.

While existing laws require colleges to provide education and outreach programming, institutions are not currently required to train their students on these topics. And while some institutions have adopted strong training requirements independently, other campuses and institutions have fallen short. Students also socialize within various campuses, meaning that less comprehensive training at one campus can impact students at another.

Additionally, many trainings focus solely on the prevention of sexual violence, while information about what to do after an incident occurs is not covered. This often leaves survivors of sexual violence with little to no knowledge of what to do in the wake of the incident, which can lead to further traumatization, under-reporting, and other adverse consequences. Data from the National Crime Survey found greater levels of perceived social support were connected to victims being more likely to report a crime, demonstrating the role that support services and resources can play in empowering victims.

AB 2683 will increase students' knowledge about sexual violence and the resources available if they are a victim of sexual violence by establishing a requirement for training all students must receive, which will include information regarding crimes that are considered sexual violence and how to report an incident, contact information for local and campus resources for victims, methods of encouraging peer support for victims and sanctions for offenders, and more.

“We are proud to sponsor AB 2683 as it passes through the legislature and on the Governor’s desk,” said Kate Rodgers, Collegiate Director of Policy at Generation Up. “Mandating that California Community Colleges and Universities require Title IX training for all students, the bill provides students with the information and resources necessary to prevent sexual violence and harassment. We strongly urge the Governor to sign AB 2683 and protect California students.”

The bill now moves to the Governor’s desk, where it must be acted on by September 30th.