OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation today that will protect the personal information college sexual assault victims share with campus advocates.

Senate Bill 5764, sponsored by Sen. Lisa Wellman, D-Mercer Island, exempts communication between advocates and their clients from state public disclosure laws.

“Research shows 20 percent of women will be victims of sexual assault in college and their lives will never be the same,” Wellman said. “Our college campuses should be places where students feel free to speak up without fear.”

The legislation is the first step of a broader effort by the Legislature to enact stronger policies to protect college students from violence, including campus sexual assault.

“For many victims, finding the courage to report the assault is a huge hurdle. If we are going to reduce these type of crimes, we must first recognize that far too many women feel too scared and ashamed to discuss the trauma,” Wellman said. “I hope these new protections will empower victims and eventually help reduce assaults.”