SOMERSET, NJ— This fall, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office will hold a community forum to talk about sexual violence on college campuses as part of a broader initiative to promote stronger police-community relations.

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that all 21 county prosecutors in the state will hold community forums this fall on local college campuses to address the issue of campus sexual violence.

Grewal made the announcement at the Rutgers at Somerset campus while speaking at the “New Jersey Conference on Campus Sexual Violence” hosted by the Rutgers Center on Violence Against Women and Children.

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The upcoming community forums, the attorney general said, are to show that law enforcement must stand with students in the fight to end campus sexual violence, particularly in light of proposed federal policy changes under Title IX that could discourage student survivors from reporting sexual violence and prevent schools from taking administrative action against students who are credibly accused of sexual assaults.   

“We will steadfastly defend the right of students to receive an education free of sexual harassment, violence and discrimination,” said Attorney General Grewal in a statement. “The message that I want these survivors to hear is this: there are prosecutors across the state and investigators working with them who dedicate their lives to prosecuting cases like yours and pursuing justice for survivors like you.

The events on campus sexual violence will be part of the 21-County, 21st Century Community Policing Project – or “21/21 Project” – that was launched one year ago by Grewal to promote stronger police-community relations by bringing law enforcement and community stakeholders together in every county a minimum four times each year for town hall meetings, roundtable discussions, and other events addressing vital issues.

Grewal is one of the leaders of a coalition of 19 attorneys general opposing the U.S. Department of Education’s proposal. He announced that opposition in January with New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education Zakiya Smith Ellis, and over the past year, Grewal has announced other major initiatives to address sexual violence and to protect and assist survivors.

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