Attorney General Rosenblum today testified before the House Judiciary Committee in support of Oregon HB 3476, a bill designed to provide stronger confidentiality laws for the victims of campus sexual assault. Oregon is one of only ten states without confidentiality protections for victims seeking help from domestic or sexual assault advocates.
“We are facing a crisis of sexual violence on our campuses,” Attorney General Rosenblum testified. “The assurance of confidentiality is critical to a victim’s recovery, and it is time for Oregon to step forward and ensure the privacy of victims’ communications and records. When a student knows that she has access to confidential services, she is more likely to seek the help she needs.”
Under existing federal Title IX laws, students who seek help from a campus victim advocate face the risk of triggering an intimidating and invasive administrative process. Title IX laws require colleges and universities to investigate all disclosures of assault on campus, regardless of a victim’s wishes. Under Title IX laws, schools can recognize state laws that establish confidentiality protection for victim advocates, but currently Oregon law offers no such protection.
In Oregon, it is estimated one in five college women will become a victim of sexual assault, and nearly a third of college women will experience some form of dating violence. However, most victims don’t feel safe accessing the help they need and deserve.
“This legislation, if passed, will empower victims to get the help they need and make the choices that are right for them—not what is imposed upon them by others.”
Text of the legislation can be found here.
Kristina Edmunson, Department of Justice, Kristina.Edmunson@doj.state.or.us, 503-378-6002