Senator Grassley. (file photo)

A bill that aims to help college campuses stop sexual assaults before they happen while helping survivors to recover is being introduced in the U.S. Senate today, co-sponsored by Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley.

He says the Campus Accountability and Safety Act is a bipartisan, bicameral effort. Grassley says the bill is designed to reform the process of investigating sexual assaults to both better shield victims and to prosecute offenders.

“Our bill seeks to protect college students by providing them with resources,” Grassley says, “and especially by strengthening colleges’ accountability and transparency standards.” Grassley, a Republican, has joined with Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat from New York, in moving the legislation forward. Grassley says he and Gillibrand recently worked together on a similar measure targeting sexual assaults in the military.

With the new bill focused on higher education institutions, Grassley says weak enforcement of the laws on the books only encourages perpetrators. “It would establish a uniform process of adjudicating sexual assault cases and also promote training for on-campus personnel,” Grassley says. “This will ensure perpetrators are brought to justice, and I think it will help survivors begin to recover from a life-altering trauma.”

This is the reintroduction of a bill that was first offered in 2015 but it failed to go to a floor vote in either chamber. Past critics said the measure encouraged colleges to expel students who were accused of sexual assault even when there was little or no evidence.