SAN FRANCISCO—A new protocol has been announced for handling campus assaults at universities in San Francisco. According to a recent study conducted by a New Jersey-based organization called One in Four, Incorporated, “1 in 4 college women will be the victim of sexual assault during her academic career.”
Other alarming statistics stated that every 21 hours there is a rape on an American college campus, and that 3 percent of college men report having survived rape or attempted rape as a child or an adult.
According to local city officials, the new protocol will better assist victims with reporting incidents and receiving help. District Attorney George Gascon and police Chief Greg Suhr spoke at the University of San Francisco on Tuesday, September 22. Suhr and Gascon announced that they would be signing memorandums of understanding with universities to encourage collaboration between campus officials and city law enforcement to improve the process of reporting and investigating sexual assaults.
Suhr stated that the goal is to work with Trauma Recovery Centers to discuss how sexual assault reports will be handled. Under the new protocol, victims will have a single point of contact to guide them through the process, police will collect evidence, and remain under strict confidentiality with the victim, but the decision on whether to prosecute will only be the victim’s decision.
“It is so important that any survivor feels confident reporting and knows that they can drive how the prosecution will happen,” says Suhr.
University of San Francisco interim police Chief Mike Denson was first to sign the memorandum with his department, with the remaining city officials slated to sign the model this week.
The process of creating a memorandum in agreement with campus authorities, is based on State Attorney General Kamala D. Harris’ model memorandum of understanding that began with University of California President Janet Napolitano, which was released in May of this year.
Harris stated in the memorandum announcement, “California has some of the best colleges and universities in the world, but for far too many hard-working students, the dream of an education from a top school is upended by sexual violence. We must acknowledge these students’ value to our future and give them the respect and dignity they deserve as our next leaders. This model agreement will help break down silos between campuses and law enforcement agencies to provide sexual assault victims with the help they need and hold more perpetrators accountable.”