Community Issues

New Protections Issued for Pennsylvania Students Reporting Sexual Assault

Gov. Wolf signed the bipartisan initiatives in an attempt to protect students on Pennsylvania college campuses.

Gov. Tom Wolf (D-PA) has on signed two new initiatives making it easier for students on college campuses to report sexual assaults.

The two measures include:

  • Offering students who report sexual assault immunity from school policies on drug use and underage drinking.
  • Requiring colleges and universities to offer online, anonymous sexual misconduct reporting.

"I want to make sure that everybody in the United States and in the world knows that, if you come to college or universities in Pennsylvania, this is a place that you can feel free of the threat of sexual violence," Gov. Wolf said at a news conference, flanked by bipartisan legislators and leaders of It's On Us, a movement fighting against sexual assault on college campuses.

"I don't want anyone to feel afraid to call 911 to report a serious crime like a rape because he or she might get a citation for something like underage drinking," Gov. Wolf said.

"Sexual assault has ruined too many lives and traumatized too many communities," said Adrianna Branin, a senior at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. "Today is a step towards righting those wrongs. It's about lending a hand to all those who have felt abandoned and lost in the aftermath of their sexual trauma."

We first introduced you to Branin in March , after she was honored with the Biden Courage Award, established by former Vice President Joe Biden, for her efforts to prevent sexual assault on campus.

Gov. Wolf speaks with Adriana Branin, a senior at IUP, at the bill signing.

According to It's On Us, 11.2 percent of undergraduate and graduate students experience sexual assault while in school, but students are more likely to report an attack when they can report it anonymously.

"One of the keys to a solution is awareness," Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne) said. "Victims must be able to come forward to report discreetly and be assured that they will be treated with dignity and credibility during the course of a thorough inquiry."

According to the Post-Gazette, some colleges and universities, including the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania State University and Temple University, already offer online reporting . Schools in Pennsylvania that do not are now expected to fund the development and implementation of electronic reporting.

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