Rep. LeGeyt, Sen. Witkos Join Fellow Legislators to Pass Law That Addresses Sexual Assault on College Campuses

May 1, 2014

Patch.com

HARTFORD — State Representative Tim LeGeyt (R-17) and State Senator Kevin Witkos (R-8) joined their colleagues in the General Assembly to unanimously approve legislation that strengthens laws to address sexual assaults, stalking and intimate partner violence.

“This legislation not only strengthens the protections for the students, administrators, and staff of our colleges and universities with regard to creating a safer environment and reducing sexual assault occurrences,” said Rep. LeGeyt, Ranking Member of the Higher Education Committee and co-sponsor of the legislation, “but also makes the process of reporting those assaults easier to follow and more sympathetic to the victims. With staggering statistics that 1 in 5 women are assaulted in their college years, and only 20% of those victims actually report the assault, we need to ensure that the proper procedures are in place to make our colleges and universities safer.”

During discussion of the bill on the House floor, Roberta Willis (D-64), Chairwoman of the Higher Education Committee, hailed LeGeyt as an ‘amazing stalwart’ for his work in the process to strengthen this legislation.

The legislation, H.B. 5029, brings current state law in closer alignment with the federal Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act by requiring the uniform campus crime reports to include incidences of sexual assault, stalking and intimate partner violence against students and employees that were reported to the institution.

“Sexual assault and domestic violence is a problem that impacts both men and women, and the frequency of assault on Connecticut’s college campuses is disturbing,” said Sen. Witkos, also a co-sponsor of the bill. “This legislation is an important step in expanding violence prevention and awareness. The bill aims to help victims learn about their rights and options to seek justice. It also promotes campus-wide education to make sure all students and staff know how to recognize and respond to violence. Sexual assault is a serious problem, and lawmakers have shown today that we are serious about making college campuses safe.”

Other important components of the bill provide for trained crisis response teams, the development of relationships with community providers that specialize in either domestic or sexual violence and student and employee training to encourage bystander intervention so that victims can access free and confidential counseling and advocacy services.

LeGeyt further commented, “This is a multifaceted problem that should have everyone concerned about what is happening on our college campuses. It is my hope that this legislation will serve to create a safer environment in which people can work and learn.”