Sen. Claire McCaskill discusses combating sexual violence on cam - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Sen. Claire McCaskill discusses combating sexual violence on campus

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

As part of her "Claire on Campus" tour across Missouri, Senator Claire McCaskill spoke with students, educators and law enforcement on ways to combat sexual violence on campus.

In July, McCaskill and a bipartisan group of senators introduced the Campus Safety and Accountability Act to take aim at sexual assaults on college and university campuses by protecting and empowering students, and strengthening accountability and transparency for institutions. This includes stuff penalties for non-compliance with the legislation's new standards for training, data and best practices.

At Southeast Missouri State University's River Campus, McCaskill talked about if there was a student sexually assaulted, who would they call to tell someone and where would they go to seek help.

McCaskill said that a lot of students don't understand where to turn to get help even if there is a system in place to help them.

Two students that attended the meeting say they didn't even know there was anything set up or someone you can call on campus about sexual violence and don't know where to turn to for help. Another student exclaimed that unless there has already been an established connection, he doesn't feel comfortable to talk to someone about it.

McCaskill also said that it's not uncommon for campus law enforcement and local law enforcement to not work well together.

Doug Richards, with university police, said that Southeast Campus Police will do a thorough investigation into any sexual violence case that comes through their doors. University police will work their own cases and Cape Girardeau police will assist if needed.

Richards said the university police and Cape Girardeau police work well together.

Richards also said that police will honor the victim's request of not filing a police report and investigation if they don't feel comfortable in doing so.

"If the victim does not want to give a report and just wants someone to talk to, SEMO has Crisis teams and counselors that can assist and work with the victim," said Richards.

Southeast has a Campus Violence Program in place that will provide help to those students in their time of need. Students can even talk with someone there with complete confidentiality and know that nothing will be reported unless the student chooses to.

McCaskill said it seems that confidentially will open gates and allow the victim to come forward and feel comfortable enough to talk about sexual violence.

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