House Pushes Colleges To Crack Down On Sexual Assaults
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[April 29, 2014]
By Jeff Mason
WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The White House
will press U.S. colleges and universities on Tuesday to do more to curb
sexual assaults on students while it launches a new website,
NotAlone.gov, to help victims find resources and report crimes.
The move comes after a three-month study by a task force
established by President Barack Obama in January to help identify
ways to protect students from sexual violence.
"Colleges and universities need to face the facts about sexual
assault. No more turning a blind eye or pretending it doesn't
exist," Vice President Joe Biden said in a statement released on
"We need to give victims the support they need — like a confidential
place to go — and we need to bring the perpetrators to justice," he
The White House said one in five women is sexually assaulted while
attending college, most often in her first or second year of study.
Usually the perpetrator is known to her and more often than not the
assault goes unreported.
The new recommendations include encouraging schools to conduct a
"climate survey" to identify the scope of the problem on their
respective campuses, creating confidential places for victims to
seek support, and initiating training programs for school officials
who work with victims.
The website will provide resources for students including hotline
numbers for mental health services and data on how to file
complaints of abuse.
Administration officials told reporters on a conference call that a
wide range of colleges and universities participated in the process
that led to the recommendations.
"They are looking for guidance, they are looking for help," a senior
administration official told reporters on a conference call,
referring to U.S. colleges.
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Women played a critical role in electing Obama in 2012 and remain an
important part of his political base.
The president is trying to energize that base ahead of congressional
elections in November, when Democrats risk losing control of the
U.S. Senate to Republicans. Earlier this month Obama launched two
executive actions aimed at helping reduce a pay gap between male and
The White House noted that sexual assault on college campuses is not
directed solely at women. Men, to a lesser extent, are victims as
well, it said.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason; editing by Ken Wills)
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