Reporting Sexual Assault
REPORTING PROCEDURES FOR THE UNIVERSITY
You have the choice to report the sexual assault to the University. This can be done by informing the dean of students and/or Public Safety. If the accused assailant is a St. John's University student, employee, or member of the University community a formal investigation by the University Office of Student Conduct or Human Resources will occur. Once a report is made, the University will provide you with support and resources that can help you though the recovery process. Interim measures such as temporary suspension for the accused assailant may be taken. If the accused assailant is not a St. John's University student, employee, or member of the University community, it is possible to file for a "Trespass Notice," which means that the assailant will not be allowed on any University grounds nor attend any University events.
Under the Title IX legal mandate, if a member of the University such as faculty, deans, staff, and/or administrators is informed about an assault, that University member must report the assault to the dean of students or Public Safety in order to secure your safety and the safety of the University community. Public Safety will also be informed and the Dean of Students will inform the Title IX coordinator, who will oversee the investigation and process. The only exceptions to this mandate are information that is reported during a counseling session at the Center for Counseling and Consultation and to a priest during confessional services.
According to the St. John's University HR Policy Manual in accordance with the Title IX legal mandate, every member of the faculty, administration, and staff of St. John's University, acting in his or her capacity as an employee of the University, is obligated to immediately report any incident of fsexual assault, rape, or other forcible sexual offense against any member of the University community upon learning of the incident. Additionally, ever y member of the faculty, administration, and staff is similarly obligated to report any incident of intimate partner violence or stalking against any student member of the University upon learning of the incident. Even when the individual requests confidentiality of the incident, the employee has a responsibility to report it.
When a situation is a crisis, but no imminent danger exists, report it to:
- Dean of Students: Queens, ext. 718-990-6774; Staten Island, ext. 718-390-4445; Manhattan, ext. 212-277-5173; or
- Vice President for Public Safety at 718-990-5252; or Queens, ext. 718-990-5252; Staten Island, ext. 718-390-4487; Manhattan, ext. 212-277-5155
If a student is in imminent danger, call 911 and Public Safety directly from any campus phone. The
Department of Public Safety can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
After a report is made, the Title IX coordinator will be informed and will oversee the investigation and process. The student will also have contact with a support person from the University, who will discuss the survivor's options for formal reporting procedures and available medical, counseling, academic, legal, and housing resources. For further details on how to help the student in need, see section titled "How to Help Someone Who Has Experienced a Sexual Assault, Intimate Partner Violence, or Stalking." A complete listing of on- and off-campus resources is available in the Sexual Assault Guide and Resource Manual.
The decision to report a sexual assault to New York City law enforcement is solely up to you. You may choose to report an assault at any time.
THINGS TO KNOW IF YOU ARE REPORTING
If you decide to report the assault to law enforcement and the assault occurred within 96 hours, it is crucial for evidentiary reasons that you do not:
- Shower, bathe, or douche
- Throw away any clothes that were worn at the time of the assault
- Brush or comb your hair
- Use the restroom
- Brush your teeth or gargle
- Put on makeup
- Clean or straighten up the crime scene
- Eat or drink anything
The location of where the assault occurred dictates the police agency that has jurisdiction. You may contact your local precinct to discuss your options. Because it is important to ask questions before and throughout the reporting process, many rape crisis centers and programs, including the Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention (SAVI) Program, will guide you through this process free of charge. Their advice and caring support can prove to be invaluable as you interact with the police and the criminal justice system. The process may be overwhelming at times and it is important for you to know you do not have to go through it alone.
If you plan to report, it may be helpful for you to immediately write down everything you can remember about the assault (for your own purposes) including what the assailant(s) looked like (e.g., height, weight, scars, tattoos, hair color, clothes); any unusual odor; any noticeable signs of intoxication; anything the assailant(s) said during the assault; what kinds of sexual activities were demanded and/or carried out; what kinds of weapons, threats, or physical force were used; and any special traits noticed (e.g., limp, speech impediments, use of slang, lack of erection, etc.). Writing it down will not only aid you in recalling details should you be required to testify, but it also gives you an active role in the investigation, which can be empowering as it allows for an element of control in a situation where control had previously been taken away.
If you choose to report the assault, you will probably be asked to describe your experience in detail to several different officers and investigators. You may also be asked to tell a nurse what happened, and may want to share your feelings with an advocate. If the case is pursued, at a later date you will be interviewed by the prosecutor's office and may have to take part in different hearings in which you are asked questions about the assault. If you plan to prosecute, you should know it may take months or years for a case to go to trial. Again, the resources provided at the end of this guide and survivor groups are invaluable at helping you get through this process.
If you report a sexual assault to law enforcement, you may be eligible for state crime victim compensation funds. If you are eligible, these funds can possibly pay for medical expenses; one-time or ongoing sexually transmitted disease testing; psychological counseling and treatment; lost wages; crime scene clean-up expenses; the cost to repair or replace items of essential personal property; reasonable court transportation expenses and other services and assistance. Programs such as SAVI can also assist you in filing compensation claims with the New York State Office of Victim Services.
THE FEDERAL CAMPUS SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIMS' BILL OF RIGHTS
- Survivors shall be notified of their options to notify law enforcement.
- Accuser and accused must have the same opportunity to have others present.
- Both parties shall be informed of the outcome of any disciplinary proceeding.
- Survivors shall be notified of counseling services.
- Survivors shall be notified of options for changing academic and living situations.
The Campus Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights was signed into law by President George Bush in July of 1992. This law requires that all colleges and universities (both public and private) participating in federal student aid programs afford sexual assault victims certain basic rights. Schools found to have violated this law can be fined up to $35,000 or lose their eligibility to participate in federal student aid programs. Complaints about schools that have filed to comply with this law should be made to the U.S. Department of Education. The “Campus Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights” exists as a part of the campus security reporting requirements, commonly known as the Jeanne Clery Act.