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Dingell, Casey Reintroduce Legislation to Combat Sexual Violence Against Students with Disabilities

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) reintroduced bicameral legislation to improve responses to sexual violence against students with disabilities. The Safe Equitable Campus Resources and Education (SECuRE) Act makes targeted improvements to the Clery Act to ensure the needs of people with disabilities are included in campus planning and response to incidents of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.

“Every student deserves to learn and study in a safe and supportive environment,” said Dingell. “However, students with disabilities are already at an increased risk for sexual violence and many face barriers to receiving support from their schools after an assault. We need to do better when it comes to campus efforts to prevent and respond to sexual assault against students with disabilities. The SECuRE Act will ensure every student has access to critical resources and support systems amidst sexual assaults.”

In 2018, the National Council on Disability released a report titled “Not on the Radar: Sexual Assault of College Students with Disabilities,” which highlighted that the needs of students are not addressed under existing college policies for response and support after an assault. This is compounded by an Association of American Universities study that revealed 31.6 percent of undergraduate females with disabilities reported nonconsensual sexual contact involving physical force or incapacitation, compared to 18.4 percent of undergraduate females without disabilities.

“All students should feel safe on campus so they can focus on their education. Unfortunately, students with disabilities are at higher risk for sexual violence than those without disabilities, yet are often overlooked when planning and responding to campus incidents. We must ensure institutions of higher learning work with disability communities to create a safe and welcoming environment that does not tolerate sexual violence against any students. This legislation is a step towards ensuring that people with disabilities have access to the information, resources and services they need to be safe at school,” said U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA).

Full text of the bill can be found here.
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