Sexual Assault: Reporting Options, Victim's Rights Statement and Prevention Programs
HOW TO REPORT A SEXUAL ASSAULT
1) REPORT TO POLICE
All students are encouraged to report incidents of sexual assault to the police. Students who wish to press charges may contact the police in the jurisdiction where the assault occurred.
It is very important that the victim make a decision about whether to file criminal charges without pressure from any individual or group. For students who are uncertain about whether to prosecute, it may be important for them to first obtain information about what to expect from police agencies, the process of investigation and prosecution. There are resources where students may seek such information: Albany County’s Crime Victim and Sexual Violence Center (CVSVC) (518-447-7100), UAlbany’s Sexual Assault Prevention Program (518-442-5800) and the University Counseling Center (518-442-5800).
On-Campus Incidents: The University Police Department (UPD) conducts investigations of on-campus sexual assaults, and they can be reached 24 hours a day at 518-442-3131 (or 911 from an on campus phone). As a community policing organization, UPD makes every effort to be sensitive to the needs of victims. Reporting a sexual assault to UPD does not obligate the victim to cooperate in pressing charges. Other reasons for the victim to inform police include: 1) giving themselves the option of pressing charges at a later date; 2) making police aware of potential danger to other students; and 3) having an incident report on file in case the same assailant harms someone else.
Off-Campus Incidents: If the assault took place off-campus, the victim may report the incident to the police department with jurisdiction (e.g., Albany City Police at 518-438-4000). The student may request that a victim's advocate (from Albany County’s CVSVC) accompany her/him throughout the criminal proceedings.
University Police can document a report of an off-campus assault, but do not take an official report leading to criminal charges. This must be done by the victim at the local police agency. UPD will seek the victim's consent to notify the appropriate off-campus authorities. Neither the name nor other identifying information will be disclosed without the victim's consent (note that identifying information includes the names or residential addresses of either the victim or perpetrator). This is meant to ensure that the victim decides whether or not an investigation is pursued. However, it is the practice of UPD to report that a felony may have been committed in the jurisdiction of another police department. The incident may be reported to off-campus police by date, time, approximate location, and type of crime. In such cases, a designated representative from UPD will share information with a designated representative from the off-campus police department.
2) REPORT TO UNIVERSITY PERSONNEL
Students are encouraged to report all incidents of sexual assault to a member of the University such as a Residential Life Staff member, the Coordinator for Sexual Assault Prevention (518-442-5800) or to a staff member in the Office of Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility (518-442-5501), in order to receive help in accessing support services and in referring the sex offender to the on-campus judicial system. However, this decision must be made by the victim and shall be respected by all members of the University.
WHY REPORT TO THE CAMPUS JUDICIAL OFFICE?
If a victim makes a report to the campus judicial office - the Office of Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility, the Director of Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility (518-442-5501) will assist in filing a complaint for possible university disciplinary action against the alleged sex offender. The Associate Director of Residential Life/Quad Supervisor (518-442-5875) can also assist in this process.
An individual charged with a crime related to sexual assault may be subject to University disciplinary procedures, whether or not an individual is prosecuted under the New York State Penal Code. During the disciplinary process, the rights of the accused are as described in this document under “Conduct of Hearings”.
Where there is reason to believe the University’s regulations prohibiting sexual misconduct have been violated, the University will pursue strong disciplinary action, with allegations evaluated using a “Preponderance of the Evidence” standard, which means “it is More Likely than Not” that a violation of the Student Code of Conduct and, in this instance, that sexual misconduct or sexual assault has occurred. This discipline includes the possibility of suspension or dismissal from the University.
3) MAKE A CONFIDENTIAL REPORT
The following are Confidential Reporting Options:
- University Counseling Center, (518-442-5800)
- Sexual Assault Prevention Program, (518-442-5800)
- University Health Center (518-442-5454)
- Chapel House (518-489-8573)
4) DELAYING THE REPORT OF AN INCIDENT
Police reporting is an option no matter how much time has elapsed. However, timeliness of the report may affect the ability of law enforcement to obtain corroborative evidence. Medical care and/or an official rape exam continue to be important.
II. SUPPORT SERVICES PROVIDED BY THE UNIVERSITY
Students are encouraged to report to University personnel who will seek the victim's consent to notify the Vice President for Student Success. The Vice President for Student Success will provide a coordinated response that includes a variety of resources. A student's friends and family can also be a source of support; however, friends and family will only be contacted by University personnel with the student’s expressed permission. A list of available services to provide support to the victim is included at the end of Appendix J: It will be up to the victim to choose.
Note: In accordance with federal law (the Clery Act), all campus security personnel (defined for the University at Albany as staff in Residential Life, Student Involvement & Leadership, University Police, Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility, Athletics, Undergraduate Studies and Diversity and Inclusion) are required to make a date, time and location report.
However, neither the name nor other identifying information will be disclosed without the victim's consent.
III. SEXUAL DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINTS
A student can speak with the Title IX Coordinator (518-956-8110) if he/she would like to file a sex discrimination complaint. The Title IX Coordinator oversees all Title IX complaints, and identifies and addresses any patterns or systemic problems that arise during the review of such complaints. This process is different from any law enforcement investigation, and a law enforcement investigation does not relieve the University from its Title IX obligation to take appropriate action to investigate and end sexual violence, prevent its recurrence and address its effects.
Any threat of retaliation or other attempts to prevent the reporting of sexual misconduct will be prohibited and is subject to disciplinary action. Reports of retaliation should be made to the Director of Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility (518-442-5501) and/or the Associate Director of Residential Life/Quad Supervisor (518-442-5875) who will assist in filing a complaint for university disciplinary action.
Definition: Retaliation is an intentional act taken against an individual who initiates any sexual misconduct complaint, including stalking or intimate partner violence, pursues legal recourse for such a complaint, or participates in any manner in the investigation of such a report. Any act of retaliation is prohibited and is subject to judicial referral.
V. VICTIMS OF CAMPUS SEXUAL ASSAULT:
STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES AND RIGHTS
The University at Albany is committed to providing a safe and secure environment in which all members are treated with dignity and respect, and a campus free from all discrimination on the basis of sex. To that end, the University takes the strongest possible stance against sexual misconduct in all its forms, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual violence or the use of coercion, intimidation or exploitation of others for sexual purposes. The University is actively engaged in educating its members about these vital issues and in providing timely support and assistance to victims of sexual assault.
Should a sexual assault be reported, the University will investigate allegations and take appropriate actions, to the fullest possible extent. The University supports the victim’s right to privacy. In the event that a victim wishes to remain anonymous, the University will respect that request while evaluating the obligation to protect the safety and well-being of the broader community. For example, in the event that the assault/crime must be reported, the request for anonymity would be weighed against other factors, such as whether the accused individual is the subject of other complaints. In such instances, every safeguard will be taken in order to ensure the victims’ anonymity. It is imperative that victims be fully supported in their efforts to heal and respond as they determine is in their own best interests. To this end the University will provide information about campus and community medical and counseling resources and support the victim’s right to make choices about these resources and options.
All members and representatives of the University at Albany community, including campus officers, administrators, faculty, professional staff, employees, and students are expected to recognize and abide by the following principles regarding victims of campus-related sexual assaults:
1) THE RIGHT TO HUMAN DIGNITY
- Be treated with fairness and respect for their dignity;
- Have their privacy honored;
- Be free from any suggestions that they must report sexual assaults to be assured; recognition of any other identified principles or rights;
- Have their allegations of sexual assault treated seriously;
- Be free from any suggestion that they are responsible for the sexual assaults committed against them;
- Be free from any threat of retaliation or other attempt to prevent the reporting of sexual misconduct;
- Be free from unwanted pressure from campus personnel to:
- Report sexual assaults if they do not wish to do so,
- Report sexual assaults as less serious offenses,
- Refrain from reporting sexual assaults for any reason, including the fear of unwanted personal publicity.
2) THE RIGHT TO RESOURCES ON AND OFF CAMPUS
- Receive notice describing options to pursue a criminal complaint with the appropriate law enforcement agency, to pursue the University’s disciplinary process, or to pursue both processes simultaneously;
- Be notified of existing campus and community-based medical, counseling, mental health and student services for victims of sexual assault whether or not the assault is formally reported to campus or civil authorities;
- Have access to campus counseling;
- Be informed of and assisted in exercising:
- Any rights to confidential or anonymous testing for sexually transmitted infections, HIV, and pregnancy,
- Any rights to preventive measures such as emergency contraception or HIV prophylaxis,
- Any rights that may be provided by law to obtain the communicable diseases test results of sexual assault suspects;
- Be informed of the possible availability of crime victim assistance compensation through the New York State Crime Victims Board;
- Additional information about resources and options to aid in recovery are available at the end of Appendix J and at albany.edu/counseling_center/sarc.
3) The RIGHT TO CAMPUS JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS
Victims have the right to:
- Written and advance notice about a disciplinary hearing involving the person or persons accused of sexually assaulting them;
- Have the opportunity to present witnesses and other evidence, and to receive notice of the process, information about procedures, and written notice of the outcome in a manner that is equivalent to the process of the accused;
- Have a person of their choice accompany them throughout the disciplinary hearing;
- Remain present during the entire proceeding, whenever possible; alternative arrangements may be made for those who do not want to be present in the same room as the accused during the disciplinary hearing;
- Be heard at the proceeding;
- Be assured that their irrelevant past sexual history will not be discussed during the hearing;
- Make a “victim impact statement” if the accused is found in violation of the code;
- Be informed in a timely fashion (60 days) of the outcome of the hearing;
- Have the right to appeal the outcome of the hearing.
4) THE RIGHT TO LAW ENFORCEMENT AND CAMPUS INTERVENTION
- Reports of sexual assault will be investigated and evaluated by the appropriate criminal and civil authorities of the jurisdiction in which the sexual assault is reported;
- Victims shall receive full and prompt cooperation and assistance of campus personnel in notifying the proper authorities;
- Victims shall receive full, prompt, and victim-sensitive cooperation of campus personnel with regard to obtaining, securing and maintaining evidence, including a medical examination when it is necessary to preserve evidence of the assault; “No contact” orders ( e.g., Cease and Desist orders) shall be issued promptly and in writing to all parties to a reported sexual assault after the University receives notice of a complaint;
- Campus personnel shall take reasonable and necessary actions to prevent further unwanted contact by victims’ alleged assailants;
- Victims shall be notified of the options for and provided assistance in changing academic and living situations if such changes are reasonably available.
5) NOTE: STATUTORY MANDATES
- Nothing in this Statement of Principles and Rights shall be construed to preclude or in any way restrict the University at Albany from carrying out its duties under law to report suspected offenses to the appropriate law enforcement authorities. Except as required by law, the University will take care not to identify the victim.
- Nothing in this Statement of Principles and Rights shall be construed to preclude or in any way restrict the University at Albany from issuing a Community Notice when the University is aware of a reported sexual assault incident that potentially puts the campus community at risk. The University will take care not to identify the victim in such notices.
Statement of Principles and Rights adapted from: Rutgers (c 2006), Princeton (c 2006) & Ball State Universities’ Rights Statements.
VII) PREVENTION PROGRAMS
The University at Albany has programs in place to inform members of the University community about sexual assault, risk factors and risk reduction measures, and, most especially, to invite all members of the University to be proactive in working to end sexual violence. Among these initiatives are mandatory prevention programs for incoming students during Summer Planning Conference, prevention programs for all students throughout the academic year, targeted outreach to men through Men REACH (Men for Relationship Education and Change), and RAD programs (Rape Aggression Defense) for both women and men. To learn more about these and other prevention activities, visit http://www.albany.edu/counseling_center/sarc/index.shtml and http://police.albany.edu .
With a victim's consent the Vice President for Student Success or designee (518-956-8140) will provide a coordinated response that includes a variety of resources to assist the student. A student's friends and family can also be a source of support and students are encouraged to speak with them, however friends and family would only be contacted by University personnel with the students’ expressed permission. The following is a list of available services to provide support to the victim. It will be up to the victim to choose.
University Resources for Help and Support:
- The Coordinator for Sexual Assault Prevention (518-442-5800) for information and referral to on and off campus resources;
- The University Counseling Center for mental health services (518-442-5800);
- The University Health Center for health services (518-442-5454);
- Residential Life staff, if the student lives in University housing ( Main Office 518-442-5875);
- Undergraduate Education (518-442-3950) and Graduate Studies (518-442-3980) and/or teaching faculty to facilitate academic accommodations;
- Disability Resource Center (518-442-5490), International
Student Services (518-591-8189) and Multicultural Student Success (518-442-5566), Student Involvement and Leadership (518-442-5566), as appropriate
- The Office of Diversity and Inclusion ( 518-956-8110) for sex discrimination complaints;
- Title IX Coordinator (518-956-8110) for sex discrimination complaints;
- Chapel House staff for spiritual support to the student ( 518-489-8573);
- Middle Earth Hotline 518- 442-5777 for peer assistance.
Crime Victim and Sexual Violence Center (CVSVC) 518-447-7716