Procedures for Investigating Sexual Assault Incidents
- Immediate Response: A number of University personnel are willing and able to assist victims of sexual assault. As soon as there is knowledge of an incident, the following offices should be contacted: Public Safety and either the Associate Dean of Students or the Director of Housing and Residence Life. Other appropriate offices will be contacted as needed by the personnel responding to the victim of the reported assault. Notification of Valdosta State Response Team:
If the assault occurs to an individual living in campus housing,
- The Individual who learn of a sexual assault to a residence hall student should contact the Director of Housing and Residence Life or Designate;
- The Director of Housing and Residence Life contacts appropriate Housing and Residence Life staff.
- The Director of Housing and Residence Life notifies the Vice President for Student Affairs
- The Director of Housing and Residence Life contacts the Director of Counseling Center.
- The Director of Housing and Residence Life will notify Public Safety if it has not already been notified; and
- A member of the Response Team will provide information to the victim regarding the Victim Witness Assistance Program;
If the assault occurs to a non-residence hall student,
- The Individual who learns of the assault contacts the Associate Dean of Student or Designate.
- The Associate Dean of Students notifies the Vice President for Student Affairs.
- The Associate Dean of Students contacts the Director of Counseling Center.
- The Associate Dean of Students contacts Public Safety if it has not already been notified; and
- A member of the Response Team will provide information to the victim regarding the Victim Witness Assistance Program.
- Delayed Reports: Victims often delay disclosing information to others about their sexual assault. When a delayed report occurs and the victim is a student, the student may be referred to the Counseling Center for personal counseling and assistance in reporting the assault to the proper authorities.
- The senior Student Affairs staff member responding to a call for assistance will insure that the considerations and rights to be afforded victims of sexual assault, as detailed in the University Sexual Assault Victims' Bill of Rights, are met. An effort should be made to have someone who is the same gender as the victim respond to the victim as soon as possible. This will allow one member to provide support and counsel, while the another member contacts appropriate individuals or agencies as needed.
- It may be helpful to explain the components of the medical examination for evidence so that the victim knows what to expect. The medical staff will ask medical history questions related to reproduction functions as well as those related to recent consensual sexual contact. They may ask some basic questions about the assault to determine the extent of the examination required. Medical staff will take samples of such items as body fluids and public hair which are necessary for potential prosecution as evidence. Also, a photograph will be taken of the victim by the police.
The response team should prepare the victim for these procedures as much as possible.
- If there is no Victim Witness Assistant, a member of the University personnel should stay with the victim throughout the examination if the victim requests. However, under no circumstances should a member of the university personnel accompany a sexual assault victim of the opposite sex during the examination.
- If the police are called, a member of the University personnel should sit with the victim during the police interview to provide support. It is important to be extremely careful to follow police procedures in these types of cases because the victims are themselves very important evidence. It is imperative not to tamper with a crime scene, impair an investigation, or tell the victim what to say or how to act.
- The responding Sexual Assault Response Team Members will assist the victim as needed in obtaining medical treatment and counseling service and in dealing with the legal authorities.
- The senior responding team member will inform the Vice President for Student Affairs or his/her Representative, [and for information purposes] the affirmative action officer, of the incident and actions taken. The Vice President for Student Affairs or representative will determine:
- Additional actions which may be undertaken to assist the victim in dealing with the aftermath of the incident. For example, contacting faculty members to ask for extension to complete work assignments and serving as a recourse for continued support;
- The need to notify additional University personnel (i.e., the President, University Relations, etc.);
- Procedure for further investigation and possible disciplinary action; and
- The need to notify the Director of Personnel of the circumstances in the event an employee is involved in an incident.