Legislation To Prevent Sexual Assault Passes Out of the Education Committee

April 15, 2015

SACRAMENTO – California students are closer to receiving increased education and awareness regarding sexual assault and healthy relationships after the Senate Education Committee passed Senate Bill 695 on a bipartisan, 8-0 vote today. Under the legislation, health courses, which are a condition of graduation for a majority of California high school students, will include instruction on affirmative consent, sexual harassment, assault, violence, and the importance of developing positive, healthy relationships.

Joint-author Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, presented the bill in committee and said, “If we want to prevent sexual assault, it’s important that we start early. Last year, California led the nation in addressing sexual assault on our college and university campuses by passing SB 967, the ‘yes means yes’ bill. This bill represents the next step in our efforts to change behavior, by educating our high school students about affirmative consent. This bill will ensure that discussions about healthy relationships and consent are taking place in high school, with young men and women, so we can establish boundaries of acceptable behavior, give students the skills they may need to navigate difficult situations, and prevent sexual assault before it occurs.”

SB 695 was inspired by the first-in-the-nation “Yes Means Yes” Bill, SB 967, which requires college campuses to adopt consistent survivor-centered sexual assault response policies and protocols that follow best practices and professional standards for prevention, access to resources, and fair adjudication proceedings.

“SB 695 is an important measure that will help Californians prevent sexual assault before it occurs,” said Sandra Henriquez, Executive Director of the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault. "By including instruction on sexual assault and dating violence in high school health curricula, we have the opportunity to help students identify and develop healthy, positive relationships and create a culture where violence cannot persist."

Joint-Author Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León said, “As it stands, we are not doing nearly enough. We can, and must, educate the youth of our state, especially our young men, about affirmative consent and healthy relationships.”

The bill now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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SB 695 Bill Language and Bill Background Sheet

Contact: (De León) Claire.Conlon@sen.ca.gov (916) 651-4024 or (Jackson) Lisa.Gardiner@sen.ca.gov (916) 651-4019