A nationwide effort is kicking off Thursday to fix a patchwork of state laws that allow many cities to destroy rape kits before they’re tested, sometimes in a matter of weeks.

The national campaign is led by a nonpartisan victims rights group called Rise, which gained acclaim by getting an historic survivors bill of rights signed into federal law last year. Its goal now is to replicate that federal statute on the state level by pushing state legislatures to reform laws on the collection and storage of rape kits.

Sexual violence against men in conflict-torn countries from Syria to the Democratic Republic of Congo is an "invisible" crime, with victims reluctant to speak out for fear of being ostracized and mocked, researchers said.

To read full article, visit this Reuters link.

The Liberal government is planning to invest more than $100-million over five years to create a national strategy to prevent gender-based violence, citing a Globe and Mail investigation into how police handle sex-assault allegations across the country.

To read full article, visit this Globe and Mail link.

Steve Penny resigned as president and chief executive of USA Gymnastics on Thursday in the wake of the federation's handling of sexual abuse allegations concerning a former team doctor.

Penny's resignation comes a week after the United States Olympic Committee's board of directors sent a recommendation to USA Gymnastics following reports that the organization turned a blind eye to allegations of sexual misconduct.

To read full article, visit this Reuters link.

The head of Australia's Anglican Church expressed sorrow and shame after a government report published on Friday said close to 1,100 people had filed child sexual assault claims against the church over a 35-year period.

The interim report, which said most children were aged around 11 when they were abused, came a month after a high-level inquiry into child abuse was told the Australian Catholic church had paid A$276 million ($212 million) in compensation to thousands of victims since 1980.

LONDON, March 15 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Banks could revolutionise the fight against human trafficking and modern slavery by reporting suspicious transactions and other financial activity that ring alarm bells, according to a report on Wednesday.

Financial institutions hold data on traffickers and their victims that could play a vital role in combating trafficking - as long as they also collaborate with groups working to stop the trade and supporting survivors, the report said.

There was a rise in reports of sexual assault at U.S. Navy and Army military academies in the last year, the Department of Defense said on Wednesday.

An annual report, based on anonymous surveys, said reports of sexual assault in total across the military academies had decreased slightly in the last year, and the Air Force Academy specifically saw a decrease from 49 reports to 32.

Reports of crime on and around college campuses nationwide rose by about 7 percent in 2015, according to newly released figures from the US Department of Education.

The rise included a 16 percent spike in one of the more closely watched categories: reports of sexual assault.

To read full article, visit this Boston Globe link.

GRAND RAPIDS — Twenty more women have joined a growing federal lawsuit against Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics and Larry Nassar.

It's the largest group to date to start or join a civil action against the three parties in connection with sexual assault allegations against the former MSU doctor. It brings to 78 the number of women or girls suing MSU and Nassar in federal court and a California state court. Five other lawsuits name Nassar and USA Gymnastics.

“Whole villages burnt to ashes, attacks on hospitals and churches, bodies dumped in rivers, allegations of young girls held as sexual slaves, women young and old gang raped and boys and men forcibly recruited,” Yasmin Sooka said, adding that South Sudan is the world's third largest refugee crisis, with nearly two million internally displaced and more than one and a half million refugees having fled to neighbouring countries.

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