October 14, 2014 — Members of a Virginia task force met for the first time last week to discuss ways to prevent campus sexual assault, AP/WAVY TV reports.
The group met amid an ongoing search for a University of Virginia student who disappeared Sept. 13. A suspect has been arrested and charged with abduction and intent to sexually assault the student (O'Dell, AP/WAVY TV, 10/9).
Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) convened the task force so that students in Virginia can "live and learn in an environment that is free of the threat of sexual violence" (Nolan, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10/8). Task force members include advocates, campus administrators, health professionals, higher education attorneys and law enforcement (AP/WAVY TV, 10/9).
Task Force Details
According to its chair, state Attorney General Mark Herring (D), the task force aims to find the best way to prevent campus sexual assaults, ensure that responses to sexual assault issues are "survivor-centered" and make certain that law enforcement officials make survivors feel safe and respected as they seek justice (Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10/8).
Herring said, "Inaction at the state level cannot continue."
At its first meeting, the task force was divided into three subcommittees: prevention, response and law enforcement (AP/WAVY TV, 10/9). Each subcommittee has been assigned a representative from McAuliffe's cabinet and a lawyer from the attorney general's office. The groups will meet monthly before the full task force reconvenes in January (Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10/8).
The task force will make recommendations to McAuliffe by June 1 (AP/WAVY TV, 10/9).