Higher Education Institutions, Law Enforcement Agencies and SF Board of Supervisors Join Forces to Combat Sexual Assault on College Campuses and Break The Silence

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September, 22, 2015

Twitter: @GeorgeGascon

CONTACT:                 

Alex Bastian (415) 553-1931

Maxwell Szabo (415) 553-9089

 

HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS, LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES AND SF BOARD OF SUPERVISORS JOIN FORCES TO COMBAT SEXUAL ASSAULT ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES AND BREAK THE SILENCE

City and Educational Leaders Announce Memorandum of Understanding, Task Force, and Public Education Campaign

 

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, District Attorney George Gascón was joined by Supervisor Jane Kim, SFPD Chief Greg Suhr, University of San Francisco (USF) President Paul Fitzgerald, University of California at San Francisco’s (UCSF) Interim Chief of Police Mike Denson, Dr. Alicia Boccellari of the San Francisco Trauma Recovery Center and representatives from San Francisco’s higher-education institutions to announce a three-part effort to raise awareness and combat sexual assault on college campuses. 

 

“The rate of victimization on college campuses is appalling, and it has to stop,” said District Attorney George Gascón.  “There is a national conversation that is ongoing, but San Francisco isn’t waiting for the other shoe to drop.  We are taking action to ensure students feel safe on campus, and that they know where to turn for help in the event that they are victimized.”

 

“When sexual assault and rape on our schools’ campuses is considered just a part of the higher ed experience, we have to act,” said Supervisor Jane Kim.  “With the formation of the Safer Schools Sexual Assault Task Force, we will have the experts—including survivors of sexual assault—all in the same room to help us create a blueprint for how San Francisco can lead nationally to create and maintain safe schools in our City.”

 

"I applaud our San Francisco law enforcement and college partners for adopting our model Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to respond to campus violence and sexual assault,” said Attorney General Kamala Harris.  “I worked with President Napolitano and CA law enforcement to jointly create this Model MOU because we know that we must work together to ensure that perpetrators of sexual assault are held accountable and victims receive the justice they deserve.  This effort will break down silos and ensure local coordination in response to sexual violence on campus."

 

University of California President Janet Napolitano said, “This is the kind of outcome California Attorney General Kamala Harris and I envisioned when we unveiled a toolkit in May to help law enforcement agencies improve collaboration on campus sexual assault prevention and response. We salute District Attorney Gascón for taking action on a memorandum of understanding with the UCSF Police Department, SFPD and the San Francisco Trauma Recovery Center.”

 

The three-part effort includes the first of seven Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) between law enforcement and higher education institutions.  The agreement is between the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office (SFDA), the University of California Police Department (UCSF PD), the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD), and the San Francisco Trauma Recovery Center.  The purpose of the MOU, which will be signed shortly, is to meet the statutory requirements established by AB 1433 (Gatto, 2014), requiring covered institutions to adopt and implement written policies and procedures to ensure that reports of Part 1 violent crimes, hate crimes or sexual assaults are immediately, or as soon as practicably possible, disclosed to local law enforcement.  The MOU will also promote collaboration between these parties to enhance the reporting, investigation and appropriate response to sexual assault and other covered crimes, as well as to meet the requirements set forth in the Victim’s Bill of Rights Act of 2008, known as Marsy’s Law.  While this is the first such MOU in San Francisco, similar agreements with six additional San Francisco higher-educational institutions are forthcoming.

 

Today, Supervisor Kim will also introduce legislation to create the Safer Schools Sexual Assault Task Force.  The task force will establish best practices to prevent violence on our campuses in order to protect students throughout our higher education institutions as well as ensure that the cover-up culture that has been widely reported across the nation does not permeate San Francisco’s campuses.  The Safer Schools Sexual Assault Task Force will provide the City with a report that analyzes relevant State and federal laws regarding on-campus sexual assault, recommend best practices for colleges and universities in the City to reduce sexual assault as well as any steps that the City can take, including changes in law or policy, to assist those institutions towards that goal.

 

The final announcement relates to a public education campaign established to raise awareness.  Today's event was hosted by the University of San Francisco (USF), who is a partner in the public education campaign and continues to be a leader on the issue.  Before a new student even arrives on USF's campus they must complete an online training program called "Think About It," which addresses the use of drugs and alcohol, and educates students about sexual violence.  The program was developed at USF, and is now being used by more than 500 universities nationwide. They were also the first university in the country to implement “Callisto,” a new online system for reporting campus sexual assault, which provides students with an additional avenue for reporting the crime.

 

All parties in attendance have committed to helping raise awareness about the prevalence of sexual assault during the “the Red Zone,” the period between Labor Day and Thanksgiving when more than 50% of sexual assaults occur.  Nationally, the number of sexual assaults among college women are absolutely staggering, with 1 in 5 having been sexually assaulted while in college.  The public education campaign will utilize a network of community groups, on-campus organizations and social media to get the word out, utilizing #1in5 to encourage students and educators to break the silence.  

 

More information is available at sfgov.org/1in5

 

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STATEMENTS FROM OUR PARTNERS

 

Mike Denson, Interim Chief of Police at UCSF

 

“With this project we’re enhancing campus security and justice,” said Mike Denson, Interim Chief of Police at UCSF. “Campus safety involves all students and the campus community at large. We are very pleased to work with other institutions in San Francisco, and we are happy to be part of a program that is making our campus safer.” 

 

Dr. Alicia Boccellari, Director, Trauma Recovery Center, regarding AB 1433

 

“The San Francisco Rape Treatment Center and the UCSF/SFGH Trauma Recovery Center are so pleased to be part of this initiative that will require reports made by student crime victims to campus security be immediately disclosed to law enforcement while also preserving the students right to personal privacy. We believe this initiative will increase planning and support for student safety as well as providing a path for student crime victims to receive much needed services.”