Press Releases

Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence Unveils Legislative Agenda

Washington, DC, July 30, 2020

**Agenda includes bills that have been introduced in Congress to address sexual violence**

Today, Today, the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence, led by Representatives Annie Kuster (D-NH), Jackie Speier (D-CA), David Joyce (R-OH), and John Katko (R-NY) unveiled the Task Force’s legislative agenda, which highlights legislation to address and prevent sexual violence.

“In the three years since we first launched the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence, our nation has seen a sea change of attitudes in terms of how this abhorrent behavior is addressed across every facet of our society,” said the co-chairs. “Despite this progress, the challenges that remain are tremendous and we have a long way to go before the elimination of sexual violence. With the agenda’s publication today, we are laying the groundwork for our priorities for the remainder of this Congress and how we will look ahead to the start of a new Congress in 2021. This will be a living document that we will continue to add to as our Task Force produces effective, insightful, and creative solutions to eradicate the scourge of sexual violence in our country.”

“The bills included in the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence demonstrate the ongoing pervasiveness of sexual violence in the United States, and the urgent need to adopt legislation that strengthens protections for survivors, while simultaneously continuing efforts to prevent violence in our communities,” said Amanda Grady Sexton, Director of Public Affairs for the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. “The barriers that have impacted survivors of sexual violence from accessing the resources and services needed to heal, as well as challenges to accessing justice existed prior to the emergence of a global pandemic in our country. As we continue to respond to the Coronavirus, and in the wake of economic insecurity, it is more vital than ever to increase access to services, expand protections across all industries and institutions, and introduce strategies to interrupt violence at its root.”

The Task Force’s agenda addresses several areas where our country must work to combat sexual violence. Specifically, the agenda covers:

Protecting children

We must ensure our nation’s most vulnerable are protected from sexual violence. The Task Force is proud to support legislation to ensure child survivors of sexual assault in the military are able to get justice and improve trauma-informed care in our nation’s schools.

Campus sexual violence

As our nation faces a pandemic of sexual violence on its college campuses, the agenda includes Task Force-supported legislation to prevent campus sexual violence, improve data collection, and hold perpetrators accountable. 

Military sexual trauma

Our nation’s men and women in uniform deserve access to quality care as they seek treatment after surviving sexual violence. The Task Force co-chairs are pleased to advocate for legislation to ensure our nation’s soldiers can access the care they need to heal and thrive.

Online harassment and sexual violence

The Task Force is pushing for legislation that would bring America’s laws into the 21st century by addressing online privacy violations and bringing perpetrators to justice. 

Law enforcement and criminal justice

Our legal system must ensure that every survivor of sexual violence is treated with dignity and repect in our nation’s criminal justice system. The Task Force is proud to support legislation to ensure survivors are treated with dignity and respect as well as push for legislation to prevent sexual violence at the hands of law enforcement.

Improved data collection and law enforcement training

Improved data collection and law enforcement training is crucial to preventing crimes of sexual violence, protecting vulnerable American Indians, and ensuring law enforcement has the tools necessary to adequately respond to domestic violence calls.

The sexual assault kit backlog

Our nation’s backlog of sexual assault kits prevents countless survivors from receiving justice and closure. Addressing this backlog is crucial to holding perpetrators accountable while encouraging states to ensure that survivors have, at minimum, the rights guaranteed to survivors under federal law.

Housing security for survivors

The Task Force is pleased to support legislation to ensure sexual harassment in federal housing units is adequately addressed and reported to ensure survivors have a safe place to call home.

General awareness

The Task Force co-chairs are proud to support legislation that provides supports to the goals and ideas of National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month to help survivors heal and move forward.

As founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence, Kuster has been a vocal advocate for survivors of sexual assault. In April, she and her colleagues sent a bipartisan letter urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to provide funds for domestic and sexual violence programs Impacted by the COVID-19 Outbreak. 

The Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence Legislative Agenda can be viewed here.

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