- Click Here if you want to Confidentially report a Sexual Assault
Information for Victims of Sexual Assault
The following information is provided so that all members of the University Community will have a better understanding of the policies and procedures the University follows when responding to victims of sexual assault as well as the resources available to those victims. Though the number of stranger to stranger sexual assaults are very low on campus, we experience a number of acquaintance rapes each year. Based on survey data, we also believe there are many assaults that go unreported and the victim chooses to deal with the aftermath by ignoring or suppressing the incident. The University encourages all victims of sexual assault to utilize the resources available to them. We also encourage everyone in the campus community to become involved in stopping sexual assault at UWG.
- If you see someone who is about to become a victim, intervene to help that person or call someone who can.
- If you’re in an organization, create an atmosphere that is intolerant of sexual assault.
- If you become aware of a person who is a victim of sexual assault, be supportive and encourage that person to seek assistance from campus or off-campus resources.
If we work together to end sexual assault, we can truly make our University “the best place to work, learn, and succeed!”
Rights of Victims of Sexual Assaults
It is the policy and practice of the University of West Georgia to provide an environment that is sensitive and responsive to the needs of victims of sexual assaults. In accordance with this position, the university has established a policy for students, employees, and others who may become victims of such assaults on its campuses. Victims are entitled to the following rights:
- To have sexual assaults treated with seriousness.
- To be treated with dignity.
- To have sexual assaults investigated and adjudicated by appropriate criminal, civil and or University authorities.
- To receive the full and prompt cooperation and assistance of University personnel in notifying the proper authorities.
- To be free from any kind of pressure by University personnel in choosing not to report a crime, or to report a crime as lesser offenses than the victims perceive.
- To have legal assistance, or to have others present, in any campus disciplinary proceedings in the same manner that the institution permits to the accused and to be notified of the outcome of such proceedings.
- To receive the full and prompt cooperation of campus personnel in obtaining, securing, and maintaining evidence as may be necessary to the proof of criminal sexual assaults in legal proceedings.
- To be made aware of, and assisted in exercising options regarding mandatory testing of sexual assault suspects for communicable diseases and to be notified of the results of such testing.
- To receive counseling from mental health services established by the University or from other victim-service agencies.
- To be protected by campus personnel (to the extent reasonably feasible) from unnecessary or unwanted contact with alleged assailants.
- Campus organizations that assist victims of sexual assaults shall be granted the privileges afforded all organizations registered on campus.
Victims of sexual assault may contact the following offices for assistance:
- On-Campus Assaults – University of West Georgia Police 678-839-6000 (24/7/365)
- Within the City of Carrollton (Carrollton PD) or Outside the City of Carrollton (Carroll County Sheriff – 911
- Health Services - 678-839-6452 (Call University Police if Health Services is closed and the Dispatcher will contact the on-call health provider)
- Counseling Services - 678-839-6428 (Call University Police if Counseling Services is closed and the Dispatcher will contact the on-call counselor)
- Carroll Rape Crisis Center 770-834-7273
- Title IX Coordinator - 678-839-5344 (Business hours only)
Incidents of sexual assault at West Georgia are rare. However, they do occur and it is important for all members of the community to be aware of the potential for these crimes and to take proper measures to prevent becoming a victim. The University Police (678-839-5280), Health Services (678-839-4164) as well as the Carroll Rape Crisis Center (770-834-7273) offers programs upon request on how to avoid becoming a victim, what to do if you become a victim and other issues related to sexual assault.
The University Police also offer self-defense classes using the RAD system of self-defense. RAD stands for Rape Aggression Defense and is a national program developed by college women for college women. We encourage any student, employee or community group interested in learning more about this subject to enroll in the class. The course is free and additional information can be found at http://www.westga.edu/police/78.php. You may also contact the program’s coordinator, Sgt. Mike Keener at 378-839-4976 or at email@example.com.
If You Become a Victim
We hope that this never happens to you, but if it does be aware that the University is here to help you. If you become a victim there are some things you need to know:
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the assault, remember that you are a victim and should not avoid seeking help out of embarrassment, peer pressure or if you have been drinking underage or using illegal substances. If you are a victim and have been consuming drugs or alcohol, intentionally or unintentionally – you will not be prosecuted by University Police. The University is here to help you and will assist in whatever manner possible. Specifically, the following Departments form a team that is trained to assist victims of sexual assault. The following list names those departments and what services they provide:
The University Police, located in Row Hall East (678-839-6000 – 24/7/365) will come to you and take you to a safe place. The police officers will notify Health Services where you will be treated by medical staff who have been specifically trained to deal with the needs of assault victims. (See below for more information on the S.A.N.E.s employed at Health Services.) Once your medical needs have been addressed, an investigator with the University Police will interview you and begin an investigation into the crime. If there is sufficient evidence, the case will be taken through the courts and that investigator will be with you through the whole process. Here are some extra things you need to know:
- You are in charge of the investigation. You can delay speaking with the officer or choose not to speak with the police at all. We want what is best for you.
- You do not have to decide right away if you want to prosecute or not. Under Georgia law you have up to two years to make that decision. You also have the right to change your mind as to whether or not you wish to prosecute. It is important that an exam and rape kit be completed so if you do decide to prosecute later, the evidence is available for use in court.
- You have the right to pursue disciplinary action against your assailant under the UWG Student Conduct Code which can be found at http://www.westga.edu/handbook/ . This action can be taken in addition to or in lieu of criminal prosecution.
- We will support you in whatever decision you wish to make. We will not bully you in either direction.
- We do strongly encourage you to seek treatment at Health Services. Their services are free of charge, confidential, and are provided on campus, rather than in a crowded emergency room at the local hospital. Health Services will provide the exam and treatment, even if the assault occurred off campus.
- Health Services will also perform a rape kit which collects the evidence needed to prosecute a case if you choose to do so. The kit is given to the University Police who will secured it in the evidence room for up to two years. The kit will be transferred to the district attorney as part of the case if you choose to prosecute. This applies to both on-campus and off-campus assaults.
- The University Police will assist you in obtaining a protective order to keep your assailant away from you. We will serve the order and enforce it to the fullest extent of the law.
Health Services, located on Parker Drive across from Row Hall (678-839-6452) will assist with medical treatment and follow up as needed. By having a medical exam, the campus physician or nurse can check for internal injuries and exposure to disease and begin treatment immediately. Health Services has four staff trained as Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (S.A.N.E.) who can address the needs of victims in a caring, compassionate manner. In addition to the medical exam, the S.A.N.E. can collect the evidence needed for prosecution. If you are a victim, you can access services in the following manner:
- If a victim wishes to be seen during normal business hours (http://www.westga.edu/health/) enter Health Services and advise the receptionist of why you are there in a manner that is most comfortable for you. You may also ask to speak directly with a Patient Advocate who will speak with you in the Advocate’s office.
- If the assault occurs after normal business hours, call the University Police (678-839-6000) who will contact the on-call S.AN.E. The S.A.N.E.’s are available if the assault occurs on or off campus.
- Along with the S.AN.E, a Patient Advocate (PA) will come in to assist. The patient advocate is a trained counselor who can address the immediate, emotional needs of a victim. The patient advocate can also assist with:
- Notifying the victim’s professors in case he or she may need to miss class. The professor is not told why but the faculty are aware if a PA contacts them, the request to miss class is legitimate.
- The PA can work with the faculty and Registrar if a class change is needed due to the assailant being in the same class with the victim.
- The PA will coordinate with Housing if a residence hall room change is needed.
- All services are provided free of charge and kept confidential.
The Counseling Center (678-839-6428) provides long term counseling services to victims of sexual assault. This applies to assaults that occur while attending the University as well as those that happened prior to coming to West Georgia. Their services are also free of charge to students and all information is considered confidential.
Housing and Residence Life located in East Commons (678-839-6426) will coordinate with the patient advocate to deal with issues involving housing. If a room change is needed by a victim, the Housing Office will take all reasonable steps to move the victim to a location where the victim can feel safe, and avoid contact with the assailant as much as possible.
A Word on Confidentiality
Professional mental health providers such as the University of West Georgia Counseling Center and Health Services are exempt from mandatory reporting obligations. The University Police, as a public law enforcement agency will acknowledge that an assault has been reported. However, Georgia law provides that the Department will not publish the name or address of a victim of sexual assault.
How to Report a Sexual Assault
If you do become a victim of a sexual assault, you should do the following:
- Get to a safe place and then phone the police. If you are on campus, call 678-839-6000. If you are off campus, call 911.
- Tell the dispatcher that you have been sexually assaulted and answer the questions the dispatcher asks you. Some of the questions may not seem important, but your answers will assist the police in serving you better. If the perpetrator may still be in the area, let the dispatcher know.
- Wait for the police to arrive. Do not change clothes, wash or in any way alter your state as this may destroy evidence. For the same reason, do not alter the site of the assault if that is where you are calling from. Do not eat, drink or take any medications until the police have arrived.
- Once the police have arrived, the officers will guide you as to what will happen next. You will be interviewed about the incident and then, if you agree, you will be transported to the Health Services or the hospital for an examination.
What Will Follow Next
- If a suspect is identified and sufficient evidence exists, the police will obtain an arrest warrant from a judge. Some jurisdictions will require you to sign the warrant in the presence of a judge. In other jurisdictions, the police will sign the warrant on behalf of the victim. On campus, it is the policy of the University Police to sign the warrant unless the victim desires to do so.
Note: The University Police will take no criminal action without the approval of the victim unless there are extraordinary circumstances which mandate action be taken.
- Once the warrant is served, the accused will be arrested and placed in jail. A magistrate will determine if the subject is to be granted bail based on various factors. These include the level of violence associated with the crime, the probability of the person appearing for trial, and the background of the accused. If bail is granted, restrictions can be placed on the person, such as not making contact with the victim, not drinking alcoholic beverages, and being home before a certain hour.
- If the accused pleads not guilty, the District Attorney will review the case prepared by the police. If the DA accepts the case, it will be presented to the Grand Jury of Carroll County for indictment. An indictment is a finding by the grand jury that sufficient evidence exists to send the case forward for a full trial. If the Grand Jury issues an indictment the case is forwarded to the Superior Court of Carroll County for trial. During the trial the District Attorney will prosecute the case on behalf of the victim. The accused will be represented by an attorney and has the right to challenge evidence and cross-examine witnesses including the victim.
- In Georgia, state law prohibits the publishing of the name or photograph of a rape victim. This includes publication in the local media as well as University publications.
- In addition to, or in lieu of criminal prosecution, the case can/will be adjudicated through the Office of Student Conduct - http://www.westga.edu/studentconduct/. To speak with the Conduct Specialist, call 678-839-4733.
Preventing Stranger-to-Stranger Assault
- At night- walk along the lighted main roads. Avoid taking shortcuts through wooded areas.
- Sign up for Wolf Guardian. From your app store, download the Rave Guardian app. Type in your University e-mail address and fill out your profile. Once initially registered, you can go to Smart911.com and fill out rest of profile. The more information you place in your profile, the better we can assist you in an emergency. This is a free service of the UWG Police Department.
- Ride the shuttle bus - it operates Sunday through Friday and the full schedule can be found at http://www.westga.edu/parking/943.php.
- When possible, walk with a friend or a group. Walking in pairs or groups significantly reduces the chances of becoming a victim of crime. Match your schedules with others so that if you need to go to the library, Campus Center, or East Commons Dining, especially after dark, you have others to go with. Do the same on the walk back to your residence hall.
- If you come in late, call the University Police Dispatch Center at 678-839-6000 and request an officer meet you at your car and escort you to your residence hall.
- Never let anyone into the residence hall that you don't know. If the person doesn't have an access card, they need to use the phone by the reader door to notify the person he/she wants to visit to meet and provide them with access.
- Report unescorted males in the women's halls to the RA staff or University Police.
- Report all suspicious persons to the University Police immediately.
- Don't allow anyone in your room that you don't know. If someone is soliciting in your hall, contact the University Police immediately.
- DO NOT prop open the exterior doors to yours or anyone else's residence halls. Always keep the door to your room locked, even when you're going to be gone for only a short time. When you're sleeping, make sure the door is always locked.
Preventing Sexual Assault by an Acquaintance
- When attending a party or in any circumstance where alcohol is being served, drink responsibly. National statistics show that the vast majority of women when sexual assaulted by a person she knows, both the victim and assailant had consumed sufficient alcohol to be considered drunk. If you remain sober, you are better prepared to perceive when a situation is getting dangerous and you're physically capable of getting away.
- If you attend a social event and plan to consume a great deal of alcohol, go with a friend who can watch over you. Just like the "designated driver", a designated "guardian angel" may prevent you from suffering the trauma associated with being a victim of sexual assault. This approach works well with groups as well as individuals.
- When going out with someone, establish the ground rules early. If the person you're with appears to want to have sexual relations and you don't, tell the person in very clear terms that you are not interested. Do not send mixed signals, which can be misinterpreted. If he continues to press the issue, ask someone else to take you home or call for a cab. Better to offend someone than be assaulted.
- If you feel uncomfortable with a person, follow your senses. Regardless of all the good qualities the person may appear to have, listen to your "sixth sense" before you agree to go out with him.
- When you go out, be prepared in case something goes wrong. Carry a cell phone in case you need to call someone to pick you up or contact the police. Preprogram the University Police number into your phone. (University Police – 678-839-6000 - available 24/7/365)
- When you go out with someone new, let a friend know who that person is and where you are going to go. Give a physical description of the person and his vehicle if the friend doesn't know him.
- If you decide to go on a date with someone you don't know very well, or take a trip but you don't want anyone to know, e-mail the University Police at firstname.lastname@example.org. Leave a message telling us when you are leaving and returning, where you are going, who you are going with, the person's description, where you met, the type of car he drives and a license number if possible. Give us a password so we can verify that you are the one sending the return e-mail. If something happens, we have a place to start looking for you. When you return, e-mail us back from the same computer, give us your password, tell us that you are OK and we'll delete the E-mail. We will not share this information with anyone.
Updated- Fall 2014