Questions and answers for sexual assault victims
Victims of crime often have many questions and getting them answered by the police can an intimidating prospect. Below are some frequently asked questions and answers; we hope they will help to alleviate some of the fear a victim may have of calling the police.
Are there resources available to survivors?
Yes, the following are just some of the resources available for sexual assault survivors:
What should I do if I am the victim of a sexual assault or rape?
- Go to a place that is safe and seek medical treatment. If a sexual assault occurs, safety and medical assistance are the first priorities. On campus and in the local area, 24-hour assistance is available.
- Whether or not you decide to report the incident, seek medical treatment immediately and get counseling as soon as possible.
- Consider calling the police or going directly to a hospital (where someone can call the police for you if you wish).
- Begin to consider taking steps to preserve any evidence. For instance, douching, batheing, showering, or changing clothes before seeking medical attention can cause evidence to be lost. Remember, preserving evidence can be critical in later pursuing a criminal or other judicial case.
- Also, sheets or other bed coverings can contain critical DNA evidence. The quick collection of such evidence is important for potential subsequent prosecution.
- If you need medical transportation to the hospital, call the Northern Kentucky University Police Department at 859-572-5500. Calling for transport will not result in an investigation unless the survivor wants to pursue one.
- Visits to the hospital for medical treatment and counseling are confidential. A qualified sexual assault counselor will meet with you and provide emotional support and advice on disciplinary and legal options.
- Conversations with S.A.N.E. nurses and counselors are not disclosed to anyone (unless there is a threat of physical harm to that individual or others) without the expressed permission of the person seeking assistance.
- Seek counseling. Even if you don't report the sexual assault or press charges, you should seek emotional support. Counseling is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling the Women's Crisis Center at 859-491-3335 or 1-800-928-3335. This program provides victim advocates who can meet survivors at the hospital, help them work through feelings, discuss options, and offer assistance with referrals and follow-up. Students may also seek assistance from the Health, Counseling and Student Wellness at 859-572-5650 during normal business hours. On-call counselors can be reached at any time through the University Police dispatch at 859-572-5500.
How do I report a sexual assault?
- Reporting an assault to the university police or other law enforcement or campus security authorities does not require filing criminal charges, but it does allow support systems to be put in place for the survivor.
- Consider reporting the sexual assault to the authorities. The more often sexual assaults are reported, the easier it may be to prevent them. Reporting is best done as soon as possible after the assault, but it may be done at any time.
- Students can make their report to any campus security authority, including, but not limited to, University Police (859-572-5500), Student Conduct Office (859-572-5147), advisors to recognized student organizations and athletic coaches. The University will assist students who report sexual assault in obtaining medical support and information regarding available legal and judicial resources as well as counseling and support services.
- Students who choose to notify police should be aware of the importance of the immediacy of reporting the incident and the importance of preserving physical evidence at the assault scene as well as on the person assaulted. The gathering of physical evidence can provide important evidence and support criminal charges leading to a successful prosecution.
- Students who are reporting an immediate assault should be accompanied to a health care facility of their choice to allow for collection of evidence and treatment. If a sexual assault victim chooses to report the incident days, weeks, or even months after the assault, important support systems are still available and can be arranged.
- Sexual assaults, for which individuals seek medical treatment, must be reported to the appropriate police unit by health care officials. However, as noted above, students are not required to criminally prosecute the case or file a police report, unless the sexual assault survivor is a minor.
- Reporting an assault to the police ensures that the incident will be included in the university's annual crime statistics report. It does not commit you to pursuing the charge but does allow you to keep your options open.