New York State Police plan to assign 12 senior investigators to help campus and local police statewide deal with college date rapes under the state’s new consent law.
Superintendent Joseph D’Amico said Wednesday that the new victims unit will also employ nurse examiners as consultants to ensure evidence is properly documented and collected and cases are promptly investigated. The senior investigators will provide training to local authorities about the law and investigative and interrogation methods, and interact with the colleges, he said.
“We won’t tolerate police agencies or campus security that don’t take it seriously,” D’Amico said at New York University, part of a campaign to highlight the effort. The unit was established by the state law requiring uniform protocols meant to prevent and respond to campus sex assaults.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that they constitute “an epidemic” that schools have been reluctant to even discuss, with crimes apparently committed by a small percentage of males, repeat predators and victims reluctant and sometimes discouraged from coming forward.
The law extends protocols established at state institutions to private schools, requiring they adopt student codes requiring affirmative consent before sex. It specifies students’ right to make reports to police of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or sexual assault.
Cuomo, who said he now has three daughters in college, noted that they have helped him become more attuned to women’s issues and the disparity in the way society treats women and that this problem is part of that. “We don’t want to admit that we have a problem with violence against women,” he said.
“It’s time to change the culture,” he said. “It’s not about whether the woman said no before she was attacked. It’s whether the woman said yes.”
The law was signed in July, with most provisions scheduled to take effect in early October. It requires colleges and universities in New York to amend their rules to include affirmative consent for sex, clarify victim rights to make a police report, and provide all students with the written rules. Schools that don’t certify compliance by next July become ineligible for state aid.
According to law, its provisions apply on campus, off campus or while studying abroad.