The college has ethical, moral and legal responsibilities to follow up on all disclosures of sexual and relationship violence. Reports of violations of the College-Wide Policy Against Sex Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault and Other Forms of Sexual Violence, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence and Stalking or Title IX are not accusations, but requests for investigation and assistance. Any community member may report concerns, but certain employees must report violations of the policy of Title IX:
- Members of the faculty and staff
- Vice Presidents and the President
- Student Life employees, except student employees
- Resident Assistant and LINK mentors
Obligatory reporters cannot keep the information they are given confidential, even if the survivor asks them to do so. Reports are to be made by phone or email to the Title IX Coordinator (or designee), Vice President of Student Life & Dean of Students or Campus & Public Safety within 24 hours.
Responding to Disclosure
The first response a survivor receives can have a long-lasting positive or negative impact on their well-being. As the recipient of a disclosure, your role is to reassure the survivor that they were right to confide in you, get them the resources that can help them, and fulfill your legal reporting obligations. You don’t have to provide advocacy and ongoing emotional support, or find out what “really” happened.
Some helpful responses include:
- “I’m sorry that happened to you.”
- “You did nothing wrong. You are not to blame for the harm someone else did to you.”
Avoid the following:
- Response that convey skepticism or disbelief, as these are the most damaging to survivors
- Asking questions beyond what is necessary to make a report
- Telling the survivor that they “have to” do something
- Making promises about what will happen next
Steps to take
Remind about obligatory reporting
As an obligatory reporter, you cannot keep the information you are given confidential, even if the survivor asks you to do so. When you suspect that someone is going to disclose, gently interrupt to remind them that you are an obligatory reporter. Offer them confidential resources and let them know that you are willing to listen if they wish to continue.
Check for safety and reassure
Ask the person if they are safe now; if not, call Campus & Public Safety: 724-223-6032.
Ask if they need medical assistance; if so, refer them to Student Health and Counseling. If after hours, contact Campus & Public Safety for assistance getting to the hospital.
Disclosing sexual or relationship violence can be embarrassing and frightening. There is no need to ask for more details than the person initially gives you about the incident. While you cannot make promises about what will happen next, you can tell the person that you appreciate their trust and given them the resources that can be helpful to them.
When you conclude your conversation, ask if they would like to speak with a counselor or someone in Campus & Public Safety. Give them appropriate phone numbers from the Resource List. Depending on their response, you can offer to call the counseling center for them to make an appointment or walk them over.
If the survivor is in danger, or you think the perpetrator may be dangerous to someone else, call Campus & Public Safety as soon as possible.
An obligatory report can be made by phone or by email (email is preferable) to the Title IX Coordinator (or designee), the Vice President of Student Life & Dean of Students or to Campus & Public Safety.
You must report:
- Sexual harassment
- Unwanted sexual contact
- Sexual assault
- Physical or sexual violence between romantic partners
If you know the name of the survivor or alleged perpetrator and the type of incident, that is enough to make a report. Third-party information must also be reported if you have the name of either the alleged victim or the perpetrator. You must disclose all information that you have about a situation.
If you need more information or are not sure what to do, please contact the Title IX Coordinator (or designee), the Vice President of Student Life & Dean of Students or Campus & Public Safety.