Frequently Asked Questions FAQs
1. If I share information about a sexual assault, what is the difference between confidentiality and privacy?
CONFIDENTIALITY: Under Oregon law, communications with some individuals are confidential. This means that any information shared by the victim/survivor with a specific individual will not be used against the individual in court or shared with others. This individual cannot be subpoenaed to testify against the survivor in a court of law.
PRIVACY: Western Oregon University is committed to creating an environment that encourages students to come forward if they have experienced any form of sexual misconduct. The university will safeguard the identities of the students who seek help or who report sexual misconduct. That is, university employees will seek to keep the information private (other than a counselor or medical provider).
A university employee cannot guarantee complete confidentiality, but the individual can guarantee privacy. Information is disclosed only to select university personnel who have an essential need to know in order to carry out their university responsibilities. As is the case with any educational institution, the university must balance the needs of the individual student with its obligation to protect the safety and well-being of the community at large. Therefore, depending on the seriousness of the alleged incident, further action may be necessary, including a campus security alert. The alert, however, would never contain any information identifying the student who brought the complaint.
2. What options do I have for reporting sexual misconduct?
A student may choose one or more of the following options:
An Advocate from Abby’s House can help talk you through your options and can accompany you through the process of accessing any of these reporting options.
Even if you don't want to file a police report, consider receiving medical attention from the Student Health and Counseling Center, West Valley Hospital (Dallas), Salem Hospital or Good Samaritan Hospital (Corvallis). A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) will help ensure that you are healthy, provide options to prevent pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections, and collect valuable evidence that may be useful in the future, even if you are unsure about pursuing legal action now. Physical evidence can only be collected up to 72 hours after an assault, but a survivor in Oregon has six years to decide whether to pursue a criminal case without DNA evidence and 12 years WITH DNA evidence (or six and 12 years respectively after one’s 18th birthday if the assault was unreported and took place prior to the survivor turning 18).
3. What are the benefits of reporting a sexual misconduct incident to the police?
Contacting Monmouth or Independence Police does not mean you must pursue charges. The Police can advise you of your options and can also preserve evidence while you consider your options. Both the Monmouth and Independence Police can also advise you on safety measures you can take to protect yourself.
4. What if I’m an employee at the university and I have become aware of an incident of sexual misconduct?
As a member of the Western Oregon University community, a student may approach you regarding being the recipient of unwelcomed sexual contact, or having knowledge regarding another student in this situation. It is important to provide support to a survivor of sexual assault and to also refer this person to professional resources. These steps are designed to help you best support and inform someone of the resources available to assist with the person’s physical and emotional needs.
5. Why am I encouraged to report an incident of sexual misconduct to the Office of Student Conduct?
The Office of Student Conduct staff can assist a student in filing formal complaints or, if the student does not want to file a formal complaint, the staff can work with the student to address concerns over housing, class assignments or schedules, leaves of absence, withdrawal or other academic concerns. The office staff can also assist the student in notifying local law enforcement, if the student so requests.
To seek assistance and support, or to report misconduct, contact the Office of Student Conduct, Ackerman Hall, 503-838-8930, email@example.com.
6. Should I report a sexual assault if I was drinking underage when it occurred?
Yes! Students are strongly encouraged to report incidents of, or share information about, sexual misconduct as soon as possible. This is true even if the student with a complaint or a witness may have concern that his or her own alcohol or drug use, or other prohibited activity were involved. The Office of Student Conduct will not pursue disciplinary charges against a survivor with a complaint improper use of alcohol or drugs if the survivor is making a good faith report of sexual misconduct.
7. Does it make a difference if the sexual misconduct occurs on or off campus?
No. Sexual misconduct, sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking and other violations of the Code of Student Responsibility include both on-campus and off-campus conduct.
8. Why should I seek medical attention when I haven't decided whether I want to report the assault to the police or the university?
Seeking medical attention can help you in many ways. First, seeking medical attention can help you take care of your own health by checking for injuries, treating those injuries, and addressing the possibility of sexually transmitted infections.
9. Where can I find information about WOU crime statistics?
10. Where can I find information on how to reduce my risk of being a victim of sexual assault or stalking?
Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs 503-838-8221 | or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org