Finding Support

 

Helplines

Helplines are available and provide confidential help to victims of sexual and relationship violence. They may provide information and direction on where and how to seek care by health care practitioners that are trained in sexual assault, applicable laws, and next steps. They may also provide someone for you to talk to about your experience.

Click here for a list of helplines.

On-Campus Resources

If you experience sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape, dating and domestic violence, or stalking, the campus Title IX office provides resources and information and can explain the process of investigation. Many campus health centers have a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) and can perform a forensic exam or provide other assistance.

Students are entitled to support services, no contact orders, and appropriate accommodations without a formal report. You are not required to make a formal report to the Title IX office or to campus police.

Support Services

There are several resources for all parties going through a Title IX process. The Title IX coordinator serves as a neutral office to provide appropriate resources. In addition to the Title IX coordinator, many campuses have available mental health services, which also serve as a neutral resource for all parties. Offices of Residential Life, Campus Life, Student Health, and others also serve to support all students, though a student can lose privileges to access these services through assigned sanctions. Check with your Title IX office to see what resources are available to you, as they may vary by institution.

Additional Support and Accommodations

Many campuses also have specific resources for those who have been victimized that may include support resources, advocacy, and counseling. Often, students who choose not to report can still access these confidential resources for additional support and necessary accommodations. It is important to note that formal reporting should be the choice of the victim/survivor. They should have the right to choose not to report and they should have the right to change their mind at any time.
There may be separate resources for those who are respondents (accused) in a reported case. 

Reasonable Accommodations

Reasonable accommodations are based on the individual victim/survivor’s needs. These typically happen if someone chooses not to go through the reporting or investigation process and work instead with confidential resources. The range of these accommodations may include, but are not limited to 

  • no-contact orders
  • protective escorts
  • academic accommodations, including more time to work on assignments or exams
  • changes in living, work, and academic settings
  • access to health and mental health care

In cases in which a victim/survivor does not want to file a complaint but is requesting accommodations, there may be some limits to the types of accommodations that can be provided. For example, in the absence of a specific report or complaint against another individual, the institution will most likely not be able to require that the individual to be removed from a class or change their living arrangements. However, in these situations, the school should make reasonable changes to the victim/survivor’s living, work, or academic settings that will accommodate the victim/survivor. (Note: “reasonable accommodations” and “interim measures” are often used interchangeably.)

Interim Measures

Interim measures are steps taken and accommodations made to address safety and allow for all parties’ participation in the Title IX process. These are often taken during a Title IX investigation, before a decision has been made. The range of these measures may include, but are not limited to no contact orders, counseling services, and academic accommodations. If the offense is deemed egregious, a temporary suspension, change in perpetrator living arrangement, or other steps may be taken to create a safer campus community. (Note: “reasonable accommodations” and “interim measures” are often used interchangeably.)

Role of Staff and Faculty 

Most staff and faculty on college campuses are mandated to report information they learn that may indicate sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape, dating and domestic violence, and stalking. This information gets reported to the Title IX office to determine appropriate next steps. Additionally, there are confidential resources on campuses. Generally, these are staff or faculty designated by the college or university, advocates, clergy, licensed therapists, or medical providers. These individuals do not have a duty to report information that is disclosed to them unless the student is a minor or there is imminent harm. If you aren’t sure who the mandated reporters and confidential resources are on your campus, check with your dean of students or Title IX office.

Reporting to Police 

Reporting through the criminal justice system is an additional resource and is available whether or not a student reports through the university’s Title IX office. If campuses do not have a security office, an accredited police department, or a campus advocate to help students navigate this system, students should be able to learn more through the Title IX office and can familiarize themselves with community advocacy agencies that often support campuses. For those campuses that do have accredited police departments, they can be helpful in discussing the rights of students, obtaining orders of protection if appropriate, issuing timely warnings to make the campus community aware of a threat to safety, and supporting a student through a criminal reporting process and investigation. 

Anonymous Reporting

Campuses often offer an anonymous reporting option to provide additional information to the college to help determine educational programming, environmental changes, and prevention efforts. Anonymous means of reporting are generally hosted by security or police departments, advocacy services, or student health services.

Off-Campus Resources

In addition to on-campus resources, there are places off-campus that students can go for support if they experience sexual or relationship violence. 

Local Rape Crisis Center

Many towns have a rape crisis or domestic violence center that is available to help anyone (including college students) who experience sexual or relationship violence. The rape crisis center or domestic violence shelter will provide a number of services, including hospital accompaniment, legal advocacy, crisis intervention, and support groups. The student health center or Title IX office at your institution may have information for community resources. You can search for a rape crisis center in your area through this web site.

Local Police Department

You always have the option of working with the city or community police, even if your school has a campus police department. You could work with police near campus to file a criminal report and to secure other resources. Depending on your campus and town, the city police may have a partnership with the campus police. This may make it easier to file a criminal report if you are interested.  

Hospitals

If there is a hospital on or near campus, you can visit it for support and resources, including a sexual assault forensic exam performed by someone who is specially trained to perform such an exam. The local hospital may have a partnership with the local rape crisis or domestic violence center and a confidential advocate may be available.