In today’s Star-Ledger opinion column, NJCASA’s Executive Director Patricia Teffenhart discusses proposed legislation to address campus sexual assault, a topic that has gained great attention in the past year.

“Policymakers have suggested an array of policies to support campuses in strengthening reporting mechanisms and working collaboratively with local law enforcement. While we certainly welcome an increased focus on the issue, including discussion of the need for financial resources, it’s important that the outcomes of policy discussions prioritize the interests of the most important stakeholders in the matter: survivors of sexual assault.”

One proposed piece of legislation would require higher education institutions to report all allegations of sexual assault to law enforcement. NJCASA advocates for survivors to be informed of all legal rights and options, and to decide how to proceed based on what’s right for them.

A survivor-centered approach honors the unique path upon which each survivor embarks and recognizes that a policy that mandates reporting of sexual assaults will most likely reduce the number of survivors who come forward (ultimately resulting in underreporting of sexual assault and underusing survivor services).

For the full column, visit “Advise, not force, college campus sex assault victims to report attacks