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J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press
From left, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Anna, a survivor of sexual assault, appear at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 30, 2014, to discuss "Campus Accountability and Safety Act" that is before the Senate. Anna was an 18 year old student at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in central New York when she was sexually assaulted by fellow students at a fraternity party, just three weeks into her freshman year.

WASHINGTON — Campus sexual assault victims are joining senators on Capitol Hill in announcing legislation designed to make colleges more accountable to rape victims.

The effort was led by two Democratic senators, Claire McCaskill and Kirsten Gillibrand, but the legislation has bipartisan support. It would require campuses to designate a confidential adviser for victims and to develop an agreement with local law enforcement over how such cases are handled.

The action on Capitol Hill further escalates the dialogue in Washington on an issue long handled locally. A White House task force on campus sexual assault earlier this year recommended a series of actions schools should take, and the Education Department took the unprecedented step of releasing the names of schools facing federal investigation for the way they handle sexual abuse allegations.