Gov. Walker signs sexual assault amnesty bill in Stevens Point

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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) -- A bill that ensures sexual assault victims and those who report them are not cited or disciplined for underage drinking is now law. Governor Scott Walker signed the bill Thursday at UW-Stevens Point.

Assembly Bill 808, the Sexual Assault Victim Amnesty bill, was authored by Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) and Representative Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan).

The bill prohibits an underage person who has been sexually assaulted or assists a friend who has been assaulted, from being cited for underage drinking. It also prohibits additional disciplinary by the University of Wisconsin System.

“The prevalence of sexual violence across our nation and in our college campuses is nothing short of alarming and deeply concerning,” stated Senator Petrowski in a news release.

“Survivors of sexual assault need to know that they can come forward and report this crime without fear of an underage drinking ticket. This important piece of legislation will help to tear down at least one barrier to reporting and hopefully shed some light on how we can continue to combat this issue in Wisconsin.”

The bill was introduced in January in hopes of encouraging more reporting of sexual assaults. The attorney general said Wisconsin colleges and police typically don't discipline or cite those for underage drinking if they're sexual assault victims or reported the crime, but supporters say this bill solidifies that practice in statute.