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New state law applauded by assault advocates

Advocates for victims of sexual assault applaud new laws going into effect on January 1 in California, including SB 1300. The measure eliminates methods to quietly settle sexual assault claims with money and confidentiality agreements.

“This measure combats sexual harassment in the workplace by closing loopholes in the law that have up to now discouraged and prevented victims from speaking out,” said Santa Barbara State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson. “Its allowed employers to avoid sexual harassment and discrimination laws and left employees vulnerable to sexual harassment.”

A Santa Barbara-based advocacy group is pleased with the added rules to benefit victims of sexual assault or discrimination.

“It also prohibits employer compelling employees from signing non disclosure agreements as a condition of employment or bonus or raise,” said Standing Together to End Sexual Assault Executive Director Elsa Granados.

She believes the new law sends a strong message to not only assault survivors, but also the community.

“It tells us all in the community that we are not going to tolerate sexual harassment in the work place,” said Granados. “That we are going to take steps in order to hold perpetrators of that behavior accountable.”

The new law also strengthens sexual harassment training. Companies with five or more workers must now provide training for all employees.

“What we must do is change social norms,” Granados said. “What we must do is change mindset, therefore that is why the education of all employees around this issue is so important.”

If you have become a victim to sexual assault you can call Standing Together To End Sexual Assault on a 24-hour hotline at (805) 564-3696.

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