New California Bill Requires Schools to Provide Intimate Partner and Dating Violence Outreach Programming at Student Orientation

On July 12, 2019, California Governor, Gavin Newsom, signed AB 381 into law, amending Section 67386 of the Education Code. Effective January 1, 2020, the bill conditions the receipt of state funds for student financial assistant on postsecondary institutions (as well as community colleges and the CSU/UC systems) providing outreach programming regarding intimate partner and dating violence as part of every incoming student orientation.

Prior to the passage of AB 381, California colleges were already required to implement comprehensive policies regarding sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. However, AB 381 specifically addresses what must be included in a college’s outreach programming and also requires that the programming be provided to all incoming students (including graduate, transfer and international students). Colleges must inform students of:

  • The warning signs of intimate partner and dating violence;
  • Campus policies and resources relating to intimate partner and dating violence;
  • Off-campus resources and centers relating to intimate partner and dating violence; and
  • A focus on prevention and bystander intervention training as it related to intimate partner and dating violence.

Colleges should take the following steps to ensure compliance:

  1. Review current student orientation information to ensure that the required outreach programming is included.
  2. Review current Title IX/Sexual Misconduct Policies to ensure compliance with California requirements set forth in Section 67386 of the Education Code (existing law).
  3. Evaluate whether the college can develop agreements or partnerships with existing on-campus and community-based organizations to refer students to resources for counseling, mental health, victim advocacy, and legal assistance, including resources for the accused (existing law).

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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