Why do I have to report a sexual assault or sexual harassment incident?
First and foremost, WOU strives to provide a safe environment in which students can pursue their education free from the detrimental effects of sexual misconduct. If there is a culture of sexual violence in our community, then we are not meeting this effort. Reporting incidents of sexual misconduct help us in meeting this effort.
Second, Title IX of the United States Department of Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities. Sexual harassment, which includes acts of sexual violence, is a form of sexual discrimination. A student who is sexually harassed or assaulted may also suffer from unequal access to educational opportunities and may be afraid to come to campus, go to class, or visit a faculty or staff member’s office. While statistics on sexual violence on campuses across the nation have increased, it is still believed that these cases are severely underreported. In April 2011, The US Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights distributed a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL). The DCL expanded the required steps that schools (colleges and K-12) must take if there is a violation of Title IX to now include all employees of college campuses to be mandated reporters.
What do I have to report?
If a student reports that s/he has been sexually victimized then you are required by Title IX to report all information you are given to the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs. Even if the assault occurs off campus, if it involves WOU students, it must be reported. For your convenience, there is Anonymous Report Form that you can fill out on-line.
When do I let the student know that I am required to report?
If a student begins to tell you about a sexual assault or sexual harassment incident you should interrupt the student and explain you are mandated to report any information s/he confides in you. Being prepared by having the statement below on your syllabus or in your office may help to keep misunderstandings from occurring.
“I need to tell you that I am considered a mandated reporter. I must inform the university an incident has occurred. I don’t want to scare or intimidate you, but your personal safety and overall health is our number one concern. The reason we do this report is to make sure you are able to get all the help and support you need. If you do not want details of what occurred reported or are not interested in making a complaint at this time, you have the right to maintain your privacy. I will only report what you confide in me.”
How should I respond to a student who reports to me?
The most important things to do are to listen, believe the student, ask if the student feels safe, and determine how to help with physical and mental health. Encourage the student to report the incident to one or more of the following options:
All of the above options are available to the student, and can be pursued individually or simultaneously. An Advocate at Abby’s House can help talk through the options with the student and can accompany the student through the process of accessing any of these reporting services
Tell the student about crisis hotlines they can call 24-hours a day:
Sable House 503-623-4033 or 1-866-305-3030
Mid Valley Women’s Crisis Services 503-399-7722 or 1-866-399-7722
How soon do I have to report?
You need to report the incident immediately after hearing or witnessing a sexual assault or sexual harassment incident. The sooner you report, the sooner the information can be investigated and less opportunity for an offender to continue the behavior.
How far back can a case be reported?
Sexual assault and sexual harassment incidents can be reported as far back as the survivor OR the alleged offender was a student at WOU at the time of the incident.
Examples of Sexual Harassment?
NOTE: Investigations of sexual assault and sexual harassment incidents are not your responsibility. Trained individuals will talk with the survivor and the alleged perpetrator (if a student), as well as friends and colleagues to gather information.
The following individuals are available to help if you need assistance with your mandated reporting responsibilities:
Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs 503-838-8221 | or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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