Marsy's Law Marks National Campus Safety Awareness Month with Tele-Townhall
According the the U.S. Department of Education, a 2016 survey of more than 6,500 colleges and universities across the country showed that there were 37,389 reported criminal offenses on campuses. Crime is a major problem at our nation’s schools, and that is why in 2008 Congress unanimously approved the creation of National Campus Safety Awareness Month (NCSAM), which is celebrated every September.
The goal of NCSAM is to encourage a public conversation on important topics in violence prevention at our nation’s colleges and universities, a goal that reinforces the importance of implementing Marsy’s Law in Pennsylvania. In order to facilitate these conversations about crime, the victims of those crimes must feel that they have a voice.
In September, Marsy’s Law for Pennsylvania hosted a tele-townhall for student journalists to learn more about Marsy’s Law, and how to keep themselves safe on campus. The tele-townhall included Jennifer Storm, Commonwealth Victim Advocate, and Jennifer Riley, State Director for Marsy’s Law.
“September is a great time to be talking about this… typically we think of the first six weeks on campus as the ‘Red Zone’ where more than half of all sexual assaults occur,” Riley shared during the call. “Every time someone is assaulted that is a crime, and that’s where Marsy’s Law comes in.”
The U.S. Department of Education reports that crimes most commonly seen on campuses include burglary, vehicle theft, aggravated assault, and forcible sex offenses. Storm, who has extensive experience with speaking on college campuses, encouraged students look out for one another and to remain aware of the factors that facilitate crime within campus culture, such as drinking alcohol.
“We want you to have an amazing, wonderful, life-changing experience – in a good way – and there are definitely ways to safeguard each other,” Storm said. “Enjoy your college experience, but do it in a way that you have a positive outcome and not a criminal outcome.”
Listen to the full audio from the tele-townhall here.