Assistance for Victims of Sexual Assaults
The District Police Department is committed to ensuring that students, employees, and other persons who have been sexually assaulted are provided treatment, medical, and counseling assistance and information, and that they are treated with sensitivity, dignity and confidentiality. Every effort is made to ensure that our educational environment promotes and assists prompt reporting of sexual assaults and provides compassionate support services for survivors. Prompt reporting of sexual assaults is encouraged. Sexual assault includes, but is not necessarily limited to, acts or attempted acts of rape, forced sodomy, forced oral copulation, rape by foreign object, sexual battery and acquaintance/ date rape.
Reporting the Sexual Assault
Sexual assaults should be reported to the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the location where the crime occurred. Sexual assaults that occur on campus or any District facility should be reported to District Police. When the crime occurs off District property, District Police will assist the survivor by facilitating contact with the law enforcement having jurisdiction over the location where the crime occurred. Reports may be made anonymously.
The following is a LIST of some of the law enforcement agencies, college departments, or support services that provide a variety of support options and resources for survivors of sexual assault.
Any person who has been sexually assaulted has several legal options: criminal prosecution against the assailant; and/or civil prosecution against the assailant; and/or the College District disciplinary procedure if the assailant is an employee or student.
Notification or reporting to the police agency having jurisdiction over the location where the crime or attempted crime occurred begins the criminal prosecution. If the crime occurs off campus or District properties, the District Police Department can facilitate contact for the sexual assault survivor with the appropriate law enforcement agency and/or provide information as to how to contact them. All law enforcement agencies have trained police officers who will facilitate medical and counseling services, referrals, evidence collection and information. You will be interviewed at a location of your choice and will be allowed or offered an advocate(s) to accompany you during all aspects of the investigation. Under California law, a sexual assault survivor’s name and any identifying information can’t be released without the survivor’s written consent. The protection of the survivor’s name and any identifying information will be of the highest priority. A survivor’s decision to prosecute does not necessarily have to be made during initial contact with officers and the survivor’s decision determines officers’ subsequent investigation protocol. Police Officers have legal authority to arrest the assailant as appropriate and to forward the case to the District Attorney’s Office for criminal prosecution upon completion of the investigation. District Police will also help ensure the survivor of sexual assault has an advocate from the court, the department, community agencies, and/or friends or family of their choosing to support them through the criminal prosecution process if the survivor decides to prosecute the assailant.
Survivors of sexual assault can consult an attorney about initiating a suit in civil court against their assailant for damages. The purpose of a civil suit is to compensate the survivor for the wrong done to them. A civil action can be brought against the assailant regardless of the decision to criminally prosecute.
College District Rape and Sexual Assault Policy and Response Procedures
The Sonoma County Junior College District has adopted Student Conduct Standards and the following formal policy and response procedures 7.18 and 7.18P to address response to rape and sexual assault:
College District Disciplinary Procedure
If the crime occurs on a campus or any District property and the assailant is a student, in addition to criminal and civil action, campus administrative action may be initiated through the Office of the Vice President of Student Services – 524-1647 and/or the District Compliance Office – 527-4303. The District may sanction/discipline a student charged with sexual assault, which may include, but is not limited to: probation, counseling, suspension, or expulsion.
If the assailant is a faculty or staff member, besides criminal and civil action, they may be subject to disciplinary action under applicable human resources and employment policies or collective bargaining agreements. Report suspected employee misconduct to the Director of Human Resources at 527-4302 and/or the District Compliance Office – 527-4303.
A survivor may request a change in academic arrangements (and housing arrangements if living in dormitories or college housing) after a sexual assault. The District will make every effort to accommodate such requests if the changes are reasonably available.
Contact the Vice President of Student Services at 524-1647 and/or the District Compliance Office at 527-4303 for additional information.
The District is committed to providing disciplinary proceedings that are supportive, sensitive, expedient, and respectful to each individual’s rights. Both the accuser and the accused are entitled to the same opportunities to have others present during a disciplinary proceeding, and both must be informed of the outcome of any institutional disciplinary proceeding alleging a sex offense.
For additional information regarding disciplinary proceedings, visit the Student Services site.
If you become a victim of a Sexual Assault
Get to a safe place.
Notify the police agency having jurisdiction of the location where the crime or attempted crime occurred.
Seek medical attention whether or not you intend to notify the police, even if you have not been seriously physically injured. A medical examination is important to check for sexually transmitted diseases, other infections, injuries, and pregnancy.
Help preserve evidence. Physical evidence is paramount in helping to prosecute assailants. Evidence generally must be collected within 72 hours of the assault and only by a certified medical facility upon the request of a law enforcement agency. To preserve evidence after an attack, you should not change your clothes, bathe, shower, or take any other personal hygiene action before contacting police. If it becomes absolutely necessary that you change your clothes, each item should be packaged separately in a paper bag. If oral contact took place, do not brush your teeth, use mouthwash or smoke. Do not straighten up the crime scene.
Sexual Assault Prevention Programs
The District Police Department maintains a Crime Prevention and Outreach Unit that provides numerous personal safety and crime prevention seminars, to include sexual assault awareness and prevention, for students and staff and additionally to individual departments, organizations, clubs, classrooms, and other programs upon request. The District Police Department also works closely with Student Health Services and Student Psychological Services in providing joint seminars, classroom presentations, educational pamphlets, and sexual assault and rape prevention information to our educational community. Free date rape and acquaintance rape prevention information and educational pamphlets are also available in the District Police Department and Student Health Services. Student Affairs and Student Health Services annually sponsor “Sexual Health Awareness Week” that includes resource tables and dynamic speakers that provide information on a myriad of topics to include date and acquaintance rape. The District Police Department also provides an officer for new employee and faculty orientations, student information days, and student employee orientations to inform students and employees of available police services and programs.
The Intranet electronic mail system throughout the District, the Police Department website, the Bearfacts
, the Insider,
and the Oakleaf
newspaper are all additional resources utilized by the District Police Department for dissemination of “Timely Warning”
crime information bulletins, crime prevention tips, and newsworthy information.