Getting Help If You Experienced Sexual Violence
If You Have Experienced a Sexual Violence or Intimate Partner Violence: Getting Help as Soon as Possible
The University encourages individuals who may have experienced sexual violence or intimate partner violence to talk to someone about what happened so that they can get the support they need, and the University can respond appropriately. A person has the right to simultaneously file a criminal complaint and report to the University under this Policy.
Individuals are encouraged to seek medical attention and preserve evidence that may assist in proving that the alleged violation occurred (i.e. do not bathe, shower or change clothes) or may be helpful in obtaining a protection order regardless of whether or not a person decides to pursue criminal prosecution at any point. Other evidence that should be preserved includes text and email messages, bedding and clothing.
In the case of sexual violence, a sexual assault response team (SART) will be activated by the hospital should a person seek medical attention and/or wish to have evidence collected. A specially trained sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) will respond as part of the team to perform the examination. The evidence will be secured whether or not a person decides to pursue criminal prosecution. If a person chooses not to pursue criminal prosecution, the evidence will not be tested and will be held for at least five (5) years as per NJ State Attorney General directive. A sexual assault care advocate will be available to assist a person through the process.
University Assistance for a Complainant
A Complainant can expect the following assistance from the University when an allegation of a policy violation is made, whether the alleged violation occurred on or off campus. The University will:
- Provide a written explanation regarding the Complainant’s rights and options as outlined in the New Jersey Campus Sexual Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights (provided at the end of this booklet), the Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy and related procedures.
- Provide or assist in obtaining University and/or community-based services for health, mental health, counseling, legal, victim advocacy, visa and immigration assistance, student financial aid and other support services (see back pages for contact information).
- Provide notification about and assistance with protective measures and/or options for accommodations/changes to academic, living, transportation or work situations (see “Protective Measures and Accommodations” section that follows), provided that reasonable alternatives are available, regardless of whether the Complainant chooses to report the alleged incident to the University or law enforcement authorities. This includes student financial aid information related to withdrawing from a class or the University, loan repayment terms and other related information.
- Provide information about options regarding reporting the incident to law enforcement and/or University authorities, including that the Complainant can decline to notify such authorities. The University will comply with a Complainant’s request for assistance in notifying law enforcement authorities and/or moving forward with University disciplinary proceedings.
The University will also support a Complainant who chooses to pursue with law enforcement authorities orders of protection, restraining orders or similar lawful orders, which the University itself cannot provide (other than no contact orders). The University is responsible for complying with and enforcing orders of protection, restraining orders or similar lawful orders.
- Provide information about how the University will protect the confidentiality of the Complainant and other necessary parties, to the extent permissible by law, including how the University will meet its public record-keeping obligation regarding the incident, including Clery Act reporting and disclosures, without disclosing personally identifying information about the Complainant. Personally identifying information includes first and last name; a home or other physical address; contact information (including a postal or email address or phone number), social security, driver’s license, passport and or student ID numbers; and any other information, including date of birth, racial or ethnic background, or religious affiliation that would serve to identify any individual.
The ultimate decision regarding whether the Complainant wants to proceed with health, mental health, legal and/or counseling services belongs to the Complainant. Complainants are free from any pressure from University personnel to report an incident to law enforcement authorities if they do not wish to do so, report an incident as a lesser offense than a Complainant perceives the crime to be, refrain from reporting an incident, and/or refrain from reporting an incident to avoid unwanted personal publicity.