SAN FRANCISCO – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and University of California President Janet Napolitano today applauded the signing of a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) between multiple universities in San Francisco, the San Francisco Police Department, and the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office to better support and seek justice for survivors of campus sexual assault. Their MOU is based on a Model MOU released by the California Department of Justice in May 2015, which was the product of a collaborative effort between Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, the University of California Office of the President, the Alameda County and San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Offices, and the San Francisco Police Department and Oxnard Police Department.
California is entering a new era of accountability for campus sexual assault. For the first time under California law, campuses across the state are required to immediately alert law enforcement when a sexual assault occurs. As of July 1, 2015, California campuses are required to have policies in place to ensure that reports of violent crime, hate crime, or sexual assault made to campus authorities are immediately disclosed to law enforcement. The Model MOU will help campuses and law enforcement agencies comply with their new obligations, increase reporting, and improve their response to campus sexual assault to seek justice for victims and accountability for perpetrators.
Specifically, the Model MOU lays out key action items that include:
- Clarifying the duties of campus authorities and law enforcement agencies following an assault, including who will act as first responder, who will collect and preserve evidence, and how to share necessary information while preserving victim privacy
- Ensuring that campuses, law enforcement, and community-based organizations work together to connect victims to services – including rape kits – as soon as possible
- Committing to regular training for both the campus and law enforcement communities
By adopting the best practices in this model agreement, school officials and law enforcement agencies can provide clear, accurate, and supportive information to students who have been assaulted, including a clear understanding of how to report an incident to authorities and where and how to seek medical assistance.
“I applaud the San Francisco law enforcement and college partners for adopting our model Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to respond to campus violence and sexual assault,” said Attorney General Harris. “I worked with President Napolitano and CA law enforcement to jointly create this Model MOU because we know that we must work together to ensure that perpetrators of sexual assault are held accountable and victims receive the justice and support they deserve. This effort will break down silos and ensure local coordination in response to sexual violence on campus.”
University of California President Janet Napolitano said, “This is the kind of outcome California Attorney General Kamala Harris and I envisioned when we unveiled a toolkit in May to help law enforcement agencies improve collaboration on campus sexual assault prevention and response. We salute District Attorney Gascón for taking action on a memorandum of understanding with the UCSF Police Department, SFPD and the San Francisco Trauma Recovery Center.”
In May 2015, Attorney General Harris released the Model Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), including both a How-To Guide and Template MOU for law enforcement agencies and institutions of higher learning to utilize in crafting and adopting customized local agreements. At a press conference with University of California President Janet Napolitano, law enforcement leaders, and advocates to announce the Model MOU, Attorney General Harris encouraged campuses to use these resources to improve coordination, collaboration and transparency in addressing campus sexual assault.