Sexual assault is a broad term that encompasses any sexual activity that occurs without consent. It includes, but is not limited to, unwanted kissing and fondling; forcible vaginal, oral or anal intercourse; and forcible penetration with an object or a finger. Both the reporting individual and respondent can be male, female or nonbinary.
If someone discloses a sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking incident, first responders (often faculty or staff members) should:
- Move to a private, safe space.
- Discuss confidential vs. private resources BEFORE the reporting individual shares any further details. Most faculty and staff are private resources. If individuals are not sure about filing a formal report yet, but would like to explore their options or have decided not to report, let them know that they can choose to disclose as much/as little as they wish. They do not have to provide us with the respondent's name before we can explore options with them.
- Assess for any immediate needs and the physical well-being of the reporting individual.
Make sure they are informed about:
- Medical help for STIs and other injuries. Reporting individuals may fill out a victim compensation claim form either online or with the help of the Crime Victims Assistance Center (CVAC), and their medical expenses will be covered by the Crime Victims Program. There is a confidential CVAC advocate who can meet with the individuals on campus at the VARCC, with an appointment.
- A Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence (SAFE) kit can be done in local hospitals at no cost. Having a SAFE kit done does not mean that they have to press charges, but it will keep that option open and preserves evidence. Timely services are essential.
- Other reminders for first responders:
- A first responder is a source of support and referral. Remember, the reporting individual may be reporting an old or a new incident; all options should be given no matter what the time frame of the incident.
- Listen, believe and emotionally support.
- Respect the individual and do what you can to make them comfortable.
- Do not judge the individual or their lifestyle.
- Respect the reporting individual's choice(s).
- Safety planning — both on-campus and off-campus safety planning forms are available:
- Listen in a non judgemental, caring way. Make sure that the reporting individual understands that their lifestyle will not be judged. SUNY has an Alcohol and/or Drug Use Amnesty Policy.
- Explore reporting individual's options with them:
- Encourage students to use the VARCC contact form to schedule a meeting with the provider(s) they wish to meet with and/or report an incident to.
- Get minimal details from the reporting individual to discuss options. The VARCC makes it possible to have one meeting so they do not have to repeatedly discuss their traumatic event.
As a private resource, you must report the incident to one of the following offices:
- CARE Team
- University Police Department
- Residential Life (if the reporting individual lives on campus)
- Office of Student Conduct
- Title IX Coordinator
- Andrew Baker, 607-777-2486, AD-217D
It is not easy to listen to sexual assault incident. Take good care of yourself afterward. Debrief with your supervisor, a case manager from the CARE Team or a counselor at the University Counseling Center.
- Check in later
You may choose to check in later with the reporting individual's permission.