Preventing Sexual Violence act to go into effect Aug. 2016

By Aaron Navarro

The act will require employees, and student employees, at Illinois universities to be trained on how to prevent sexual violence and improve “awareness and responsiveness to allegations” of such acts.

Currently, some University student employees on campus are designated Campus Security Authorities, or CSAs.

Student employees designated as CSAs range from Student Patrol officers to housing residential advisors.

Students are trained to officially report sexual assault cases to campus police, to intervene as a bystander and have an established understanding of how the investigation process is handled.

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    CSAs are “required to report good faith allegations that certain crimes occurred on campus, in public areas bordering campus, and in non-campus buildings owned or controlled by the University,” according to We Care’s website.

    University Police Lt. Joan Fiesta said CSAs are valuable because students see them as peers, making it a little less difficult to report harassment or

    “We believe that students who experience sexual assault will be more likely to talk to a peer than they will the police right away,” Fiesta said. “So we want those students who will be seen as peers to have that training and resources.”

    University Police Captain Tony Brown said new CSAs go through training in collaboration with the First Year Campus Acquaintance Rape Education, or FYCARE.

    “New employees have an online training through FYCARE. It includes training through Title IX, what constitutes sexual violence, dating violence,” Brown said. “It defines the school’s definition of consent and how to report sexual assault violence and how to report that to campus officials or the police.”

    Those who investigate these cases — campus police, title XI staff and Dean of Students staff — go through training in terms of handling these investigations.

    Patricia Morey, chassistant dean of students in the Women’s Resource Center said the Women’s Resources Center trains their employees on handling sexual assault cases, though in different senses.

    She said the center’s student employees go through similar, on-site training as campus CSAs. The center’s other set of employees are students who run FYCARE, and they are trained through a semester long-course.

    “(FYCARE facilitators) not only learn about the issues but also the resources and how to respond if a student discloses they’ve been through an issue like this,” Morey said.. “We have done research on how effective FYCARE is … it’s been shown to be very effective.”

    Morey said the majority of University student employees are trained on how to handle reports of sexual assault and misconduct but more can be done to educate the entire student body.

    “I would say more can and will be done in the future. I think what is true of students is that their lives are pulled in lots of different directions at any one time,” she said. “So they may be more open to hearing about these issues at one time or another, so they may not be picking up on things as much as we hope.”

    Fiesta said the We Care website is a varied and informative source for victims of sexual assault as well as members of support systems.

    “Everything that we have is an introduction to keep it in people’s minds. That’s why we continue to get further information out, especially with the We Care website,” Fiesta said. “We’re using that as a springboard as to what things are going to look like.”

    Morey said information sources, such as We Care, are necessary in further educating University students.

    “We’re trying to develop a multiple tier educational program, so the foundation would be FYCARE, and then we’ll continue to provide opportunities for students to learn more,” Morey said.

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