The governor of New York recently announced a full examination of all of the state’s higher education institutions to ensure they are all in compliance with the “Enough is Enough” law.
The state enacted the law in 2015 in order to protect students from dating violence and sexual assault on all college and university campuses and also to ensure that schools were conducting proper and complete investigations of all sexual assault allegations.
The law also provided $4.5 million in funding in order for the State Police to establish a sexual assault victims’ unit, and another $10 million was provided to assist colleges and universities in stopping these crimes.
In announcing the review, Governor Cuomo said the state anticipates that the review will be complete by the fall semester and there should be a preliminary report in place by September 1st.
In order to complete the review, a team will be assembled with members from the Department of Education, Department of Health, Division of Criminal Justice, Division of Human Rights, Office of Victim Services, and the State Police.
Members will evaluate each school’s compliance with the law, including whether staff and student training is being done, and how investigations are handled.
Each school must also have a Student’s Bill of Rights in place which is provided to each student, as well as posted around campus and on the institute’s website. Schools are also required to complete a campus assessment every two years to ensure they are in compliance, as well as provide that information to the state.
In the year the law was put into place, there were 9,200 incidents of sexual offenses and assaults which were reported, per statistics from the U.S. Department of Education. Just over 700 of those incidents occurred at New York colleges and universities.
However, according to the National Institute of Justice, the number sexual assault victims is actually higher. Their data reveals that while attending college, 19 percent of women will become victims of sexual assault, while six percent of men will be assaulted.
Their data also reveals that college females are more at risk of being sexually assaulted than females who do not attend a university or college.
Attorney Neal Goldstein commented that he was pleased that the state was conducting the review, given the prevalence that still exists in the number of campus sexual assault victims.
He added, “Many victims don’t realize that not only does the offender face criminal charges, but the victim may also be able to bring civil charges against their attacker as a way of obtaining financial damages for the pain and loss the attack has caused them to suffer.”