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Hassan, Shaheen introduce bill to combat sexual violence against students with disabilities

By Staff | Jan 13, 2022

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen joined in reintroducing bicameral legislation to improve responses to sexual violence against students with disabilities.

“In the aftermath of their assault, survivors on college campuses often lack the institutional support and accountability that they need,” said Senator Hassan. “And this issue is often more challenging for students with disabilities. This bill creates more protections for student survivors with disabilities, because all students have a right to feel safe in their learning environments.”

“The scourge of sexual assault on college campuses is devastating, and how this crisis impacts students with disabilities is often underreported and under-resourced. Every student deserves a safe learning environment, and that means we must address barriers to reporting and improve support systems for students with disabilities who experience sexual assault,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’ll continue working in the Senate to support survivors on college campuses – particularly those on the frontlines of this crisis.”

The Safe Equitable Campus Resources and Education (SECuRE) Act makes targeted improvements to the Clery Act to ensure that the needs of people with disabilities are included in campus planning and response to incidents of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.

Specifically, the SECuRE Act would:

Require institutions to report how many of the sex offenses, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking incidents reported involved a victim who is an individual with a disability.

Ensure that campus policies for emergency response and evacuation take into account the needs of individuals with disabilities.

Require that all reports, materials and information required under the Clery Act be made available in accessible formats and in a timely manner.

Expand the risk reduction component of prevention and awareness programs to include abusive behavior and attacks targeting individuals with disabilities.

Require an assurance that campus security personnel and individuals responsible for providing the required information under the Clery Act are trained to work with individuals with disabilities.

Require institutional disciplinary proceedings to be conducted by officials who receive training on how to work with individuals with disabilities, and that the proceedings themselves be accessible to individuals with disabilities.

Permit an individual with a disability who is the accuser or the accused individual to be accompanied to any meeting or proceeding by an interpreter or other individual providing communication assistance services, in addition to his or her advisor of choice.

Require the written notice of the outcome of a disciplinary proceeding be provided in an accessible format if required.

Require campus policies to include information about the accommodations available to individuals with disabilities with respect to the programs and procedures outlined in the Clery Act.

Full text of the bill can be found here.

Senators Hassan and Shaheen have been leaders in Congress in working to ensure that students who experience disabilities receive the support that they need to be fully included in our society. Senators Hassan and Shaheen successfully secured nearly $3 billion in dedicated federal funding to support students with disabilities in the American Rescue Plan. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Shaheen leads the annual letter to the committee calling for robust funding of the IDEA.


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