The General Assembly supported legislation aimed at improving campus safety, evidence collection in cases of rape, workplace sexual harassment protection for interns, support for female veterans, anti-trafficking laws, and prevention of so-called “revenge porn.”
Late last night (Tuesday, May 19), the Senate passed S.B. 636: An Act Concerning Affirmative Consent, which will build upon last year’s groundbreaking campus sexual assault legislation to “require institutions of higher education to include in their sexual assault, stalking and intimate partner violence policies affirmative consent, which means active, clear and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity…”
If the House passes S.B. 636 and it is signed into law by Gov. Malloy, Connecticut will become the second state to enact this important step toward preventing and addressing sexual violence.
According to Laura Cordes, executive director of Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services (CONNSACS), “Connecticut lawmakers continue to lead in addressing sexual violence and we are glad to have the support of PCSW in our work to end sexual violence and secure stronger protections for victims and survivors. The adoption of a uniform affirmative consent standard throughout our higher education system (in SB 636) will promote dialogue about healthy sexuality and increase offender accountability.”
In addition to Affirmative Consent, five other significant bills advanced over the last week that indicate bipartisan support for women’s issues. Last Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed, without opposition, H.B. 6498:An Act Concerning the Timely Transfer and Processing of Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kits. The bill is aimed at expediting the handling of critical evidence in sexual assault cases and would set up strict timelines during which police must retrieve rape evidence kits from hospitals and bring them to the state’s forensic lab for testing.
S.B. 904:An Act Establishing the Connecticut Women Veterans’ Program, which acknowledges the need for programing tailored for female veterans, passed both the Senate and House, and is now on its way to Gov. Malloy for his signature.
H.B. 6849:An Act Strengthening Protections for Victims of Human Trafficking, a Governor’s bill, which says that a minor engaged in the sex trade is presumed to be a victim of trafficking rather than a prostitute, was passed by the House and is awaiting a vote in the Senate.
S.B.428: An Act Protecting Interns from Workplace Sexual Harassment and Discrimination was approved by the Senate and awaits a vote in the House.
And H.B. 6921: An Act Concerning Invasions of Privacy, was voted through the House unanimously Tuesday night. This bill strengthens the state’s laws against voyeurism and outlaws the sharing of intimate images without the subject’s consent.