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House Education Committee releases bill requiring higher education sexual assault prevention training

Delaware Public Media

The House Education Committee releases a bill mandating employees and students at higher education institutions receive training in sexual assault prevention.

State lawmakers passed a bill in 2016 mandating Delaware universities and colleges offer a training program on sexual assault prevention, but up to this point, taking it has not been required.

State Rep. Kim William’s (D-Stanton) bill would require all new employees to complete trainingwithin three months of beginning work and then complete a refresher training every two years.

Newly enrolled full-time students will also be required to complete training on sexual assault prevention and awareness, as well as reporting regulations.

The bill would also require the institutions to change their reporting period for information on campus sexual assaults from the calendar year to the academic year.

“When I was reviewing the reports, I would have to pull up the previous year in order to see if data was changing, if it was improving, and it was very hard for me to understand, and I assume it was hard for the rest of us to understand as well," Williams said.

The Young Women's Christian Association spoke in favor of the bill, as well as Mariann Kenville-Moore with the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

“We believe the efforts to make sure that individuals within our universities, both staff and students, are aware of the risks of sexual violence and the ability to intervene and interrupt that risk would be an important first step in making sure that our universities are safer," Kenville-Moore said.

The bill cleared the committee with bipartisan support and now awaits a full House vote.

Before residing in Dover, Delaware, Sarah Petrowich moved around the country with her family, spending eight years in Fairbanks, Alaska, 10 years in Carbondale, Illinois and four years in Indianapolis, Indiana. She graduated from the University of Missouri in 2023 with a dual degree in Journalism and Political Science.