SALEM, Ore. (KOIN 6) — At the moment, Oregon is one of only 10 states without confidentiality protections for victims who want help from domestic or sexual assault advocates.
House Bill 3476 would change that, and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum is leading the charge.
She told the House Judiciary Committee there is a crisis of sexual violence on college campuses.
“During the last year we’ve just become more and more aware of the epidemic of campus sexual violence that we have in this state,” Rosenblum said. “It’s not limited to one school or another. It’s not just universities versus smaller colleges.”
The proposed law she’s backing would help victims by providing state trained and certified advocates who would also be the end-all when it comes to any information the victims share.
“Now when they go to that person, there’s no assurance of privacy, there’s no guarantee that the information they provide is going to be provided to someone else,” Rosenblum said.
“Survivors and victims of crimes have many many reasons not to report to authorities,” said Niki Terzieff, a lobbyist for HB 3476. “This is a safe harbor for them, a place that they can go exercise their options and take the time to think about what they need.”
A 2014 University of Oregon study revealed 10% of the female students polled were raped and more than a third experienced some other form of sexual assault.
Those victims might come forward if this bill becomes law, Rosenblum said.
“They will be able to choose if and when they report,” the attorney general said, “and under those circumstances we actually expect there will be more reporting.”
She added this law would prevent the risk of triggering an intimidating and invasive administrative process that’s currently possible on college campuses.
“They don’t feel safe,” she said.