In Wake of Wall Street Journal Article, NJCASA Convenes Bipartisan Roundtable to Discuss Sexual Violence Policy Priorities
The New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NJCASA) hosted a roundtable event with New Jersey legislators yesterday, discussing bipartisan short- and long-term legislative initiatives for tackling sexual violence in the Garden State.
The invitation to a closed-door, bipartisan meeting was sent to 22 legislators who have previously shown a commitment to addressing gaps in supporting New Jersey’s sexual violence prevention and response infrastructure. Twelve attended the event in-person or sent a high-level staffer. A full list of attendees is included below.
“The reality is that sexual violence is not a partisan issue,” said Patricia Teffenhart, executive director of NJCASA. “Katie Brennan’s brave disclosure not only serves as a wake-up call, but also a call to action. It’s time to put partisan rhetoric aside and start the hard work of advancing initiatives that better serve the 1.8M survivors of sexual violence who call New Jersey their home.”
Led by NJCASA experts, the group discussed opportunities to expand N.J.’s civil statute of limitations, cut-down on red tape and bureaucracy in disseminating funds to rape crisis centers, and broaden the recently-passed sexual harassment bill to better include campaign staff and volunteers.
“We have seen the great difficulties that victims of sexual assault face when coming forward with allegations,” said Sen. Kristin Corrado. “We must find ways to improve our investigatory and legal processes to ensure that justice can be served for the survivors of these horrific crimes.”
“This is a wholly apolitical, societal issue,” said Sen. Declan O’Scanlon. “I was humbled to join my Legislative colleagues and NJCASA in such an important conversation. Out of these tragic stories, we have a moment to commit to real change.”
“I’m grateful to NJCASA for putting together a critical and informative panel,” said Asw. Serena DiMaso. “We have taken steps in the legislature to change sexual harassment policies, but we still have much more to do. I’m committed to working with my colleagues to help protect survivors.”
“It was a great honor to join with NJCASA and over a dozen bipartisan lawmakers and staffers today to discuss productive policies that we can develop to support sexual assault survivors and begin developing ideas for new legislation going forward as we continue to support sexual harassment training, response, and prevention,” said Sen. Linda Greenstein.
“I appreciate the opportunity to highlight with members and advocates the dire need to pass civil statute of limitations reform now,” said Sen. Joseph Vitale. “We have sexual assault victims suffering and languishing because they have been denied by a system that we created. It’s time for a change and I appreciate NJCASA’s partnership in this fight.”
“Making it easier for victims of sexual violence to receive justice should be our top priority this session,” said Asw. Nancy Munoz.
“Acts of sexual violence knows no boundary. It affects people of all backgrounds, parties, genders, ages, and sexual orientations, and it is unacceptable,” said Majority Leader Louis Greenwald. “As we look for meaningful ways as a state to put an end to sexual violence and empower victims, we must ensure that our policies at every level of government, workplaces, and culture support these victims who have the courage to speak up and seek the justice they deserve.”
“We can and must create a better infrastructure for victims of sexual violence in New Jersey,” said Asw. Carol Murphy. “We can work together across the aisle to create lasting change that makes a real difference for survivors. I am grateful to my colleagues and NJCASA for continuing that conversation today.”
Full list of attendees:
- Carol Murphy (D – 7 LD)
- Nancy Muñoz (R – 21 LD)
- Kristin Corrado (R – 40 LD)
- Declan O’Scanlon (R – 13 LD)
- Serena DiMaso (R – 13 LD)
- Linda Greenstein (D – 14)
- Representative from Senate Majority Office
- Representative from Senate Minority Office
- Representative from Assembly Majority Office
- Representative from Assembly Minority Office
- Representative from the office of Joseph Vitale (D – 19 LD)
- Representative from the office of Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald (D – LD 6)
ABOUT NJCASA: NJCASA (www.njcasa.org) is the statewide advocacy and capacity building organization that represents the twenty-one county-based rape crisis centers, and the Rutgers University Office of Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance. NJCASA elevates the voice of sexual violence survivors and service providers by advocating for survivor-centered legislation, training allied professionals, and supporting statewide prevention strategies that work to address and defy the socio-cultural norms that permit and promote rape culture.