Campus sexual assault bills introduced in Nebraska Legislature

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LINCOLN, Neb. -- Monday, Senators Sara Howard and Adam Morfeld introduced three bills addressing sexual assault on college campuses.

LB 898 would provide for a campus climate survey on sexual violence and provide training to employees who interact with victims of sexual violence. The survey would be conducted every other year and assess how safe students feel on campus. LB 987 would allow victims to feel empowered to decide if and when to report a sexual assault upon receipt of medical treatment.

"We have seen far too many sexual assaults taking place on college campuses across the country. Unfortunately, Nebraska universities are not immune to these violent crimes. I believe these bills will help address specific issues when it comes to sexual assault and provided valuable data and training to school personnel. Every parent who sends their child to a Nebraska college or university has the right to expect that everything possible is being done to ensure their children are safe on our campuses," Howard said.

Senator Morfeld of Lincoln introduced LB 857 to provide amnesty for those who report violence related to sexual assault from disciplinary action related to acts such as underage drinking. It would also provide confidential counselors for those who seek services related to sexual violence.

"The time has come and gone for us to remove barriers for survivors of sexual assault on campus to report their experiences," Morfeld said.

In addition, Senator Mike McDonnell will be creating a task force to review the statutes that involve rape kits to make sure they are being processed in a timely manner and reviewing statutes that pertain to sexual assault.

"The Attorney General's Office and the State Crime Lab have made positive steps regarding how to address the sexual assault kit backlog in Nebraska going forward. This is a very serious issue that we are not taking lightly. The time for making plans to prevent another backlog is now," McDonnell said.