New CA Law to Protect on Campus Crime Victims

October 10, 2014
New CA Law to Protect on Campus Crime Victims

Recently a bill meant to “ensure that crimes committed on college campuses are properly reported and investigated” was signed into law by Governor Brown. The new legislation requires colleges to report specific violent crimes, such as sexual assault and hate crimes, that occur on campus or near camps, to local law enforcement as long as the victim permits it.

Campus’ Cover Up Crime

Calif. Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) introduced this piece of legislation in January of 2014, following accusations that several California colleges had covered up on-campus sexual assaults for fear of deterring students from attending. Prior to this law there was lack of clarity around how campuses were to report crime, as well as a certain unwillingness of campus officials to involve the proper law enforcement professional. As a result, the chance of a perpetrator being arrested and convicted was decreased, thus potentially allowing the perpetrator the chance for repeat crimes.  “Crimes that occur on campus should not be treated any differently than those that occur elsewhere in our community,” said Assemblyman Gatto. “This law will ensure that college administrators involve law enforcement when appropriate.”

Clery Act Report

Prior to the law, the only way for concerned students or parents to get campus crime statistics was from a federally required Clery Act report. And recently several California colleges became subjects in a federal lawsuit that alleged violations of the Clery Act.

Better Understanding of Campus Crime

Since then, Gatto has been proactively responding to community fears, putting together the act, as well as also writing the act so that it provides protections for people falsely accused of committing college-campus crimes. “Victims of crime should not see their chances of justice hurt, nor should perpetrators be allowed to victimize others, because a school values its public image more than victims’ rights,” said Gatto. “Simple communication between campus officials and local law enforcement will ensure a greater understanding of crime in a community and increased public safety.”

 

Source:  California News Wire, California Bill to Protect Campus Crime Victims signed into Law – AB 1433, October 8, 2014

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