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What To Do When Sexually Assaulted

Be Safe and Seek Assistance

  • Get to a safe place.
  • Try to preserve evidence.
  • Contact someone you trust.
  • Make a report to Law Enforcement.
  • Get medical attention immediately.
  • Seek counseling support.

Being sexually assaulted is a traumatic experience that may have physical and psychological effects. It is important for anyone who has been the victim of a sexual assault to go to a safe place and seek assistance as soon as possible.

HCC encourages any person who believes he or she has been a victim of a sexual assault occurring at HCC or during the course of HCC-sponsored activities to call HCC’s Department of Public Safety (443-412-2272) as soon as possible. The Department of Public Safety Office is open 24 hours a day to assist victims of sexual assault.

HCC’s Department of Public Safety will inform a victim of sexual assault of the right to notify the appropriate law enforcement agency to file criminal charges and the importance of preserving evidence associated with the sexual assault. With the victim’s consent, the HCC Department of Public Safety will notify the Harford County Sheriff's Office to conduct an official criminal investigation of any allegations of sexual assault and, where appropriate, will arrange for the victim to be transported to either University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center or University of Maryland Harford Memorial Hospital for medical evaluation and treatment.

Student victims of sexual assault will be connected with a member of the HCC Student Intervention and Prevention (SIP) Team for support and assistance through the reporting process. The SIP Team will also provide the student victim with resources and refer him/her to professionally trained crisis intervention counselors who are specifically experienced in dealing with sexual offense crises.

Only those HCC employees with a legitimate need to know will be informed of the incident. Normally that will include the Title IX Coordinator, the Vice President of Student Affairs and Institutional Effectiveness, and the Associate Vice President of Student Development.

Preservation of Evidence

Preserving physical evidence is critically important to the legal process. The collection of evidence from a crime is based upon a scientific principle that states that whenever two surfaces come in contact there will be an exchange of material. Physical evidence, such as DNA from semen, saliva and skin cells, and fingerprints, hair, and fibers are all types of evidence that can be transferred from the suspect to the victim and from the victim to the suspect. It is important that evidence be collected in a timely manner, free from contamination, and stored properly in order for that evidence to be used in criminal proceedings.

The victim of a sexual assault should not change clothes, smoke, bathe/shower, urinate, douche, wash hands, brush teeth, eat or drink before the evidence can be collected. 

Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Kits (SAFE Kits)

If a victim of sexual assault elects to go to the hospital, an advocate or designated hospital staff member will provide the following options:

  • report to police and receive a forensic exam;
  • receive a forensic exam as an anonymous report; or
  • receive medical treatment only.

Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence (SAFE) kits are collected by a trained Forensic Nurse Examiner (FNE). FNEs are nurses, not law enforcement personnel, who have been specially trained in the collection of sexual assault evidence.

A victim may decline to have a SAFE kit collected or may elect to have a kit collected as an anonymous reporting (i.e., “Jane Doe” kit). Anonymous reporting/Jane Doe kits allow the victim of a sexual assault to have a SAFE kit collected without having to report the crime to law enforcement. The evidence will be collected, given a tracking number, and stored for future use. It is important to note that Jane Doe kits are merely stored for potential use if the victim decides in the future to make a report. The evidence is not examined at the time it is collected; therefore, investigative leads, such as identifying a suspect, are not developed.

If the anonymous report option is selected, the victim will be told:

  • the benefits of anonymous reporting (e.g., time to weigh options before participating in the criminal justice system); 
  • the drawbacks of anonymous reporting (e.g., challenges for the investigation and prosecution);
  • the length of time for which evidence will be stored; and
  • who to contact, and how, if the victim decides to report.

For more information on anonymous reporting, visit the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention’s website: http://www.goccp.maryland.gov/victim/JaneDoe.php.

Interim Measures 

HCC may provide interim measures during an investigation of alleged sexual misconduct to ensure equal access to its education programs and activities and protect the complainant as necessary.  Interim measures may include the following:

For students

Both the complainant and respondent may request the following academic accommodations, if appropriate:

  • assistance in transferring to another section of a course;
  • assistance in arranging for Incompletes or Withdrawal from a course(s);
  • assistance in arranging for alternate HCC employment arrangements; and/or
  • “no contact” order pending the outcome of the investigation, which means notice is given to both the complainant and the respondent that they must not have verbal, electronic, written or third party communication with one another.

For faculty and staff

Both the complainant and the respondent may request the following employment accommodations, if appropriate:

  • temporary reassignment to other work duties and responsibilities, other work locations, other work groups/teams, or other supervision/management; and/or
  • “no contact” order pending the outcome of the investigation, which means notice is given to both the complainant and the respondent that they must not have verbal, electronic, written or third party communication with one another.

Helpful Contacts and Resources

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