Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023|
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Gov. Josh Green signed two bills into law Wednesday that strengthen protections for survivors of sexual violence throughout the University of Hawaii system.
House Bill 554 improves trauma training for UH administrators and staff across all campuses, increases access to sexual violence prevention education for students, and implements amnesty provisions to ensure that victims of campus-based sexual assault are not held responsible for the harm they have endured.
House Bill 580 expands the victim-counselor privilege to include confidential advocates employed by the university.
House Bill 554 was authored by Imua Alliance, an anti-trafficking organization in Hawaii, in partnership with the Every Voice Coalition and students from the UH community.
“According to UH’s own data, there are approximately 3,000 students who are victims of sexual assault and 4,500 students who are survivors of sexual harassment in any given year,” said Kris Coffield, executive director of Imua Alliance, who also serves as the chief-of-staff for Big Island Rep. Jeanne Kapela. “The two bills signed by the governor (Wednesday) represent the most significant step Hawaii has ever taken in addressing the crisis of sexual violence in our state’s college system.”
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