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 117th Congress, our Task Force and its members have proudly championed commonsense, bipartisan bills to combat the scourge of sexual violence, including those contained in this agenda,” said the co-chairs. “Together, we reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act for the first time in 9 years. We enacted landmark legislation to void mandatory arbitration clauses that have curtailed the legal options of employees and customers who come forward with sexual assault or harassment claims. Congress also passed significant reforms to ensure our nation’s soldiers can access the support and justice they need to heal and thrive in the wake of sexual violence.”
“Moving forward in the remainder of the 117th Congress and beyond, we reaffirm our commitment to our partnership,” the co-chairs continued. “These issues are too serious, and the stakes are too high, to let ourselves be divided by partisan politics as we confront sexual violence.”
The Task Force’s agenda addresses several areas where our country must work to combat sexual violence. Specifically, the agenda covers:
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.
Law enforcement and criminal justice
Our legal system must ensure that every survivor of sexual violence is treated with dignity and respect 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.
Resources and support for survivors
Survivors face enormous obstacles and barriers as they seek justice and begin to put their lives back together. Taking a holistic approach to how best to address the emotional, physical, and financial needs of survivors is imperative to helping those impacted by violence and trauma to heal.
Human trafficking is an international scourge that destroys countless lives but isn’t easy to detect. The average age of sex trafficking victims in America in 2019 was just 17 years old. The Task Force is proud to support legislation to combat the efforts of traffickers to use American financial systems to sustain their crimes.
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.
The Task Force co-chairs are proud to support legislation that provides support to the goals and ideas of National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month to help survivors heal and move forward.
The Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence Legislative Agenda can be viewed here.