ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Reports of sexual assault on New York state college campuses have skyrocketed under new policies.
As WCBS 880’s Stephanie Colombini reported Sunday, it has been almost two years since the government began cracking down on sexual violence at colleges.
In that time, the number of New York schools under federal investigation for handling assaults has gone up six-fold, from four to 25.
Experts said the spike reflects better reporting, rather than an actual uptick in sexual violence on college campuses.
Critics argued that for years many U.S. colleges hid such crimes behind federal privacy laws in an effort to publicly protect their brands.
At SUNY at Albany, which opened a dedicated Advocacy Center for Sexual Violence in 2014, officials say the number of alleged victims seeking help increased from 23 to 150.
Last year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo threw his support behind a policy for handling sexual assaults that would apply to all public and private schools statewide.
The policy includes a sexual assault victims bill of rights, a uniform definition of consent, a confidentiality protocol and “this law will provide amnesty to the victim from any related offenses, which I believe are really just tactics to stop the victim from coming forward,” Cuomo said in January 2015.
The bill would require that a woman give “clear, unambiguous, and voluntary” consent before any sexual activity. To encourage victims to come forward, students reporting assaults would get immunity from related offenses such as drug use. And victims would be offered the option of reporting an assault to state police rather than campus authorities or a local police department.
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