Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) celebrated the inclusion of both her bipartisan Survivor Bill of Rights in the States Act and key portions of her bipartisan Hold Accountable and Lend Transparency (HALT) on Campus Sexual Violence Act in H.R. 1620, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021.
“The House passage of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act is cause for celebration on its own. Having several of my amendments to better serve survivors by ensuring that their rights are recognized and voices are heard is the icing on an historic cake,” said Rep. Speier, Co-Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus. “By providing climate surveys to students on sexual and domestic violence, we will better monitor the efficacy of our reforms and the pervasiveness of campus violence. Similarly, a Task Force on Sexual Violence in Education will provide crucial information to educators, lawmakers, students, parents, and the public alike on how to better prevent and address sexual violence. The inclusion of the Survivors Bill of Rights in the States Act will ensure that survivors have commonsense protections when it comes to their rape kits. I’m proud to support this bill package which advances survivors’ safety, dignity, justice, and respect.”
The Survivor Bill of Rights in the States Act builds on the unanimous passage of the Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act (Pub.L. 114-236) establishing rights for survivors of federal sexual assault offenses by incentivizing states to ensure that survivors have, at a minimum, the rights guaranteed by the federal law. That includes the right to be informed if the government intends to destroy or dispose of a sexual assault evidence collection kit, the right to be informed of any result of a kit, and the right to have a sexual assault evidence collection kit or its probative contents preserved without charge for the maximum applicable statute of limitations or 20 years, whichever is shorter. States that guarantee these rights, at a minimum, would be entitled to 10 percent of their STOP grant funding.
Additionally, two provisions from the bipartisan HALT on Campus Sexual Violence Act were included as amendments to the bill. They are:
- Speier Amendment 43: Directs the Secretary of Education to make available a climate survey for institutions of higher education to administer to students on their experiences with sexual assault, sexual harassment, domestic violence, stalking, and dating violence.
- Speier Amendment 45: Establishes an Interagency Task Force on Sexual Violence in Education to provide pertinent information to the government, public, and educational institutions on campus sexual violence prevention and response, as well as how to better assist survivors.
The Survivors Bill of Rights in the States amendment is cosponsored by Rep. Lofgren (CA).
The campus sexual violence amendments are cosponsored by Reps. Kuster (NH), Frankel (FL), Escobar (TX), Lawrence (MI), Moore (WI), Dingell (MI), Pressley (MA), Clark (MA), and Hayes (CT).