A Survivor's Rights

Information About a Survivor’s Rights

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence, dating/domestic violence, or stalking... or think maybe they have but aren’t sure what to call it, here is some information:

Survivors have the right to:

•Report to the police and the University

•NOT report to the police or University, or to decide later whether they will or won’t.

•Get free and confidential help from the campus CARE Advocate and/or the Valley Crisis Center

•Seek medical care (*It is important to note that medical providers MUST contact police for any suspected sexual or physical assaults. A survivor may want to talk to an advocate more about medical options.)

•Be treated with respect and non-judgment.

•Have confidentiality

The University must:

•Keep a record of incidents of assault that are told to University officials so that present and future students can have a real picture of the reality of crime here, but your name or details of the incident that can identify a survivor WILL NOT BE DISCLOSED ANYWHERE.

This is called the Clery Report.

Police Procedures:

•If a survivor knows they want to report to the police, they can call 911 and say, “I want to report an assault.” The dispatcher will ask for name, location, phone number, and suspect information. The dispatcher will relay information to officers who will then come to the survivor's location, unless requested otherwise.

•If up to it, a survivor can write down details about the assault while waiting.

•If the assault was recent, it may be helpful in preserving evidence to not eat, drink, wash, go to the bathroom, or "clean up" the scene of the assault, because a survivor's body constitutes the evidence in a sexual assault case. If someone has already done some of these things, it is still OK to make a report.

•A survivor has the right to have a Valley Crisis Center or Campus Advocate and one additional support person of the survivor's choice present at any medical or physical examinations or interviews by law enforcement, district attorneys or defense attorneys.

•The police should call the Campus Advocate or Valley Crisis Center advocate who can be present to give information and emotional support and explain any procedures.

•If the survivor was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, this may be relevant to the case and something one could tell the officer. The focus of the investigation should be the assault, not the use of drugs or alcohol.

•The officer will give the survivor their business card with your case number on it. Save this so that one can have easy access to your case when called for follow-up information.

•California law allows survivors to request that the police not release personal information. This will ensure a degree of confidentiality but does not guarantee complete anonymity.

•If the survivor remembers more details after reporting the incident they can call the officer to make additions to the statement.

•Most survivors do not report immediately. The police will accept a report at any time. Assailants can still be apprehended based on information from late reports.

The District Attorney chooses to pursue cases depending upon the degree of evidence and availability and cooperation of witnesses. If the complaint is rejected for criminal prosecution or action through the judicial system, it is not necessarily based on the accuracy of the charges, but rather on the strength of the evidence available.

Additional Options:

•If the survivor not sure what they want to do, you can call the CARECampus Advocate at (209)386-2051 or the Valley Crisis Center’s 24-hour hotline (209)722-4357 and request an advocate. The survivor doesn't have to give their name.

•The advocate can meet with the survivor or talk on the phone with you and inform them of all their options, rights and choices.

• A survior can get a medical exam that collects physical evidence of the assault. Contact teh Campus Advocate or Valley Crisis Center to assist with this process. Remember- a survivor can still choose to report an assault if you do not receive this exam and one can still choose not to participate in an investigation if they received the exam.

•A survivor can get a medical exam to see if they were injured internally or to check for sexually transmitted infections or pregnancy. They can do this at the Student Health Center during their normal hours of operation or have a private physician do the exam. (*It is important to note that medical providers MUST contact police for any suspected sexual or physical assaults. A survivor may want to talk to an advocate more about medical options.)

•If the police are called and do come to the hospital or to the Student Health Center, a survivor has the right to 1)discuss it with the officer and then decide to report; 2)discuss it with the officer and decide not to report; 3)refuse to discuss or report it with the officer. These are survivors' rights!

•A survivor may file a criminal report with the police even if they don't want prosecution (Ultimately the decision to prosecute is made by the District Attorney although the cooperation of the survivor is considered necessary.)

•A survivor may ask the campus Title IX Office to investigate an incident as a campus policy violation.

•A survivor may file a civil suit against the perpetrator.

•A survivor may seek to obtain a restraining order.

•A survivor may request academic assistance for missed classes or exams, or help with rearranging course work.

•A survivor may request housing accommodations.

Whether a survivor reports or not,  it may be helpful to talk to someone who is confidential, knowledgeable, and trained about sexual violence, dating/domestic violence, and stalking so that they can start the process of recovering.

 The CARE Campus Advocate will:

•Organize any help needed, including legal, medical, emotional & academic.

•Maintain confidentiality.

•Respect decisions about what--if anything--the survivor want to do next.

•Schedule appointments, coordinate services, arrange for counseling.