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State bill proposed for college campus sexual assault task force

The University of Washington campus. (University of Washington/Collegiate Images/Getty Images)

A bill was introduced in the Washington State House of Representatives Monday, that would form a task force to combat sexual assault at institutions of higher learning.

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“The legislature recognizes that campus sexual violence and misconduct are pervasive and underreported problems that impact our communities, particularly women, students of color, LGBTQ students, and students living with disabilities,” House Bill 1998 reads.

If passed, HB-1998 would establish a task force comprised of members of the state Senate and House, select campus sexual assault survivors, and representatives from universities and community colleges in the state.

Recent data tells us that approximately 19 percent of women are likely to be sexually assaulted during their time at college. Eighty-four percent of female survivors report being sexually assaulted during their first four semesters, known as the “red zone” on college campuses.

Thirteen percent of women report being stalked during their time in college, while 43 percent of women report violent and abusive dating behaviors.

The task force would be asked to look at ways to ensure the state “provides clear, consistent, and comprehensive protections for survivors.”

It would also “develop model procedures, policies, and guidance” for colleges and universities to implement.

And finally, it will look into the feasibility of establishing a statewide office to implement and monitor the “consistency of campus sexual violence policies.”

The task force bill is co-sponsored by seven Democrats in the state House.

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