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Attorney General candidate discusses campus sexual assault

Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, suggested a change in how rape kits are administered and encouraged creating more “safe spaces” for care.

Josh Shapiro, the Democratic candidate for Attorney General of Pennsylvania, spoke about sexual assault prevention on college campuses during a conference call with student journalists last week.

“We must ensure that survivors of sexual assault can receive critical support services on campus,” said Shapiro, who chairs the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. He added that the commission has been doling out money to campuses across the state to encourage the creation of “safe spaces” for care.

While Temple has several “points of entry” into reporting sexual assaults, like Tuttleman Counseling Services and the Wellness Resource Center, there is no space on any of the university’s campuses dedicated solely to caring for sexual assault victims.

In student government elections this spring, several platforms advocated for more coordination of Temple’s sexual assault response resources, some suggesting the creation of a sexual assault and dating violence center.

When prompted by a reporter, Shapiro also suggested a change in approach in how rape kits are administered to Temple students. Currently, students must be picked up in a police car and driven to Philadelphia Police’s Special Victims Unit in Hunting Park to have the medical examination following a sexual assault.

Shapiro said universities need to give students “a safe space, whether it’s a safe-feeling car ride or whether it’s giving them the care and attention they need to feel comfortable reporting.”

“I would encourage Temple and any other institution to try to think of ways to make sure that students can access counseling, and medical care, in the most comfortable, private, compassionate manner possible,” he added.

CORRECTION: A print headline for this article misstated Shapiro’s political rank; he is a candidate for Attorney General of Pennsylvania.

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