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Warner Joins Bipartisan Group Targeting Sexual Assaults On College Campuses

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The bill would force schools to provide confidential advisors to victims, among other rules.
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The bill would force schools to provide confidential advisors to victims, among other rules.

Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner helped introduce a bipartisan bill today to combat the high rates of sexual assaults on college campuses.

When Andrea Pino attended college in North Carolina, she was sexually assaulted at an off-campus party. After that experience, she helped found the group End Rape on Campus.

"We live in a country that puts our children at a higher risk of experiencing sexual assault if they attend college than if they don't," Pino says.

Current statistics show nearly 20 percent of women who attend colleges are sexually assaulted. Universities and colleges are required to report the rate of sexual assaults on campus to the Department of Education, but critics say many don't reveal the numbers in order to attract more students.

"The statistics are appalling," says Sen. Warner, "but the stories are heartbreaking."

Warner's bill would require every school in the U.S. to release results of an annual anonymous student survey about assaults.

"You've got to have good data. You gotta have data that is clear, consistent. The ability of the colleges to have the incentives to report this data in a clear and concise way. And it's gotta be actionable," says Sen. Warner.

The legislation also forces schools to provide confidential advisors to victims and forbids athletic departments from handling sexual-assault cases themselves. The bill is supported by four Democrats and four Republicans in the Senate.

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