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Newtown lawmaker touts signing of sexual assault prevention bill

Newtown State Representative Mitch Bolinsky was among the legislators who attended a bill signing ceremony Monday for a law aimed at improving the state's response to sexual violence at all of Connecticut's universities.  Bolisnky co-sponsored the bill.

The bill expands sexual assault policies at all college campuses in Connecticut byrequiring colleges to immediately provide victims of sexual assault with supportive information regarding their rights and options and allowing any victims of sexual assault to report the crime anonymously. The legislation would require colleges to establish sexual response teams and partner with local sexual assault service providers to enhance the level of care given to victims and to report information annually on sexual assault policies and details of sexual assault cases to the state legislature for review.

The new law also mandates that colleges and universities treat stalking in the same manner.

Bolinsky says colleges need to be safe and trusting environments for students.  He says sexual violence of any kind should have a zero-tolerance in schools.  He cited statistics from the Higher Education Committee that one in five women on college campuses suffers assaults, and just 20 percent of assaults are being reported.

Sexual violence on campuses made headlines when University of Connecticut students this year testified before legislators stating that school officials weren't helpful when they reported crimes.

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