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A Practical Guide for Staff and Faculty

Talking With Students About Sexual Assault, Stalking, and Abusive Relationships


Binghamton University faculty and staff are often the first to encounter a student in crisis. If a student reports to you that they were sexually assaulted, raped, or stalked, support the student. Speak to them in a quiet private place. Listen to them and encourage them to seek help and counseling as soon as possible. Do not press for details. If the student wishes, the police can take a detailed report about the incident. Tell the student they have done the right thing by coming to you for assistance.

The student’s health and safety should be your primary concern. If the student’s safety is an immediate concern, contact the New York State University Police at Binghamton: 607-777-2393 or 911. Once the student’s immediate safety needs have been met, the University Counseling Center can help coordinate services. You can contact the University Counseling Center at 607-777-2772.

If there is any question about how to proceed after a conversation with a student, call and consult with the University Counseling Center. You can reach the Counseling Center after business hours by contacting the New York State University Police at Binghamton. They will connect you to our person on-call who will assist you. It is important to always ask the student first what they would like you to do to help them feel safe.


The student may ask you to keep the event or crisis a secret. Explain that you must consult with counseling professionals who will keep the information confidential and that you need not disclose their name. Explain, too that for the student's protection and your own, you will not discuss the student's situation with anyone else, including other faculty or students. It's important not only to protect the student's confidentiality, but also to not put yourself in a situation in which you alone have information, especially information involving a stalker or dangerous person. You also need to recognize that you might not have all the information. If you are a professor, lecturer, or teaching assistant, responsible for assigning grades, you may face additional issues involving confidentiality. The Counseling Center staff and the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and the Dean of Students can assist you.

Federal regulations protect confidential student information. You may not share the student's identity with people in your department or the student's family, friends, or classmates.


Assault - Words or actions that result in either physical or emotional harm and evoke fear in the victim for their safety.

Sexual Assault/Misconduct - Any forced sexual activity that occurs without the victim’s consent, including unwanted touching, kissing, intercourse, and penetration. Sexual assault can occur even if prior acts were consensual.

Dating or Relationship Violence - Repeated behavior by one partner to control the other partner. Such abusive behavior may be incremental over time, isolating the victim from others and making the victim feel incompetent, ashamed and guilty. Leaving this kind of relationship is difficult and often requires counseling and considerable support.

Online Harassment - Deliberate, persistent and unwanted methodical electronic communication that disturbs the recipient. This can occur by e-mail, cell phone, instant messaging, or in computer chat rooms. In cases of online harassment, the University Police and the Computer Center are helpful resources.

Stalking - The obsessive pursuit of a victim in a menacing and harassing manner that evoke fear in the victim. Stalkers may also target the victim’s family and/or friends.

Vital Facts

  • One in four women report sexual assault incidents while in college.
  • BU Students, responding to a survey, indicated that if they had been sexually assaulted, the incident had the greatest effect on relationships, followed by academic performance.
  • 29% of BU students say that they know of someone at BU who has been stalked.


Other Resources

NY State University Police at Binghamton: (607) 777-2393 or 911

Offices on the lower level of the Couper Administration Building. Officers can take reports of stalking, rape and sexual assault; they can define laws for the victim and explain the available options for legal protection. Students are not required to file a report. Nonetheless, they will be afforded all the options they have to protect their safety.

Decker Student Health Services Center: (607) 777-2221

Cases of rape and sexual assault may involve health issues that need treatment. A nurse or physician at the University Health Services can explain options and treat the student without charge. They can , if necessary, also refer the student for medical services in a local hospital. Call ahead to Health Services, explain that an urgent situation exists, and arrange for an immediate appointment.

University Counseling Center: (607) 777-2772

The Counseling Center provides individual and group counseling. The coordinator of sexual assault programs and services can assist with any and all needs. The center’s services are free to students. The office is open and consultation/coordination services are available 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday.

Crime Victims Assistance Center: (607) 722-4256

An off-campus resource center that helps victims navigate all health and legal resources efficiently and protect their rights.

Planned Parenthood: (607) 723-8306 or (607) 723-5130

A resource for confidential counseling and reproductive services located at 168 Water Street, #2, Downtown Binghamton.

Office of Student Conduct (607) 777-6210

Provides information on student rights and performs on-campus adjudication.

University Ombudsman (607) 777-2388

A resource for students, faculty, and staff when there are disagreements of any kind that mediation and resolution.

Town Vestal Police: (607) 754-2111 / City of Binghamton Police: (607) 723-5321 / Village of Johnson City Police: (607 ) 729-9321

Local police collaborate with University Police on a regular basis, sharing reports and ensuring the safety of students off campus. When a student wishes to file a report with a local police department, university police officers will meet with the student, explain filing options, and in some instances may accompany the student to the local police department.

Last Updated: 8/17/16