Gov. Wolf unveils legislation to combat campus sexual assault

Pennsylvania Politics

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Governor Tom Wolf was in Harrisburg on Monday to talk about new legislation to strengthen the “It’s On Us PA” initiative and build on the state’s progress in reducing sexual assault on college and university campuses.

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Wolf unveiled a four-bill package aimed at further strengthening protections for students. It would include:

  1. Enacting a “yes means yes” law that requires all postsecondary institutions to have policies that clearly set standards of consent
  2. Strengthening protections for victims of on-campus crime by requiring schools to inform victims of their rights and services and provide them with protective accommodations or other protective measures if requested
  3. Teaching middle and high school students to recognize and prevent dating violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and stalking
  4. Creating a task force to study sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking in grades 6-12 and in postsecondary institutions

“We have made a lot of progress in combatting sexual violence and harassment in schools, but we need to do more to ensure all of our students are safe,” Wolf said. “These four legislative proposals are the next step to preventing assaults and violence and ensuring victims get the help they deserve.”

According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey by the CDC, there are more than 418,000 victims of sexual violence who are younger than 18 years old in Pennsylvania.  

In 2019, Wolf signed two laws from his It’s On Us campaign, according to a press release from his office. The laws require colleges to provide an anonymous way for students to report sexual assault online and to provide protection for students reporting sexual assault, preventing them from being disciplined for violating school drug, alcohol, or other policies. 

It’s On Us is a nationwide initiative that aims to raise awareness about sexual assault, educate individuals about assault and consent, teach people how to identify dangerous situations, empower people to intervene in problematic situations, and encourage individuals to create supportive environments for survivors. 

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