What are the Police Procedures in Dealing with Rape?
If you decide to call the Smith College Department of Campus Police:
- A uniformed officer will arrive and insure your safety. The officer will encourage you to go and escort you to Health Services (open 8 a.m.- 8 p.m. Monday - Friday), Cooley Dickinson Hospital, or UMass Health Services based on the nature of your injuries. Only Cooley Dickinson Hospital or UMass Health Services provide medical services for sexual assault survivors (both utilize SANE nurses - Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners trained to handle the evidence collection required if a case goes to court). Additionally, the responding Smith College Campus Police officer will ask for a description of the assailant(s) for possible apprehension and other information that may help keep you safe.
- At Cooley Dickinson Hospital, UMass or Health Services you will receive medical attention. The SANE Nurse will document the medical report and collect evidence for use should you decide to press charges.
- The officer from Campus Police will call in one of the department's sexual assault investigators who will interview you about the details of the rape. A Campus Police officer will suggest that a counselor be present along with medical staff to reduce the number of times a survivor retells the incident. Other options such as notification of the AC on call will also be discussed.
If you decide to report a rape to Campus Police, it does not mean that you must go to court and prosecute. Decisions about prosecution are made later. Filing a report preserves evidence and documents the incident to protect your rights.
What is Campus Police's Approach to Sexual Assaults?
Smith College complies with the Federal Higher Education Amendments of 1992 (Public Law 102-325), which contain provisions requiring colleges to develop and disseminate sexual assault policies. Therefore it is crucial that women report crimes of sexual assault so that the offenders can be apprehended and kept from repeating their actions.
The Smith College Campus Police Department in recent years has provided specialized training for its officers to handle and investigate such offenses. Campus Police officers will assist survivors of rape and sexual assault by obtaining medical attention for any injuries, fully investigating the incident, providing liaison with the Northampton Police Department and the Hampshire County District Attorney's office, and advising victims of their rights to counseling and other services offered by the College and the community. Survivors are involved in all decisions about proceeding with criminal charges. The survivor's name in all reports of sexual assaults is kept confidential, by Massachusetts law, and will not be released without her or his permission.
If a sex offense occurs on campus, contact the Campus Police Department. College officials, including deans, directors, and area coordinators, will notify Campus Police personnel if they receive a report of a sexual assault. These reports do not reveal the survivors’ names without permission. However, the College must comply with federal law in providing statistical information for the community. The Campus Police Department has been designated to receive all statistical reports of sexual assault and to report those centralized statistics to the community.
Although pastoral and professional counselors are exempt from reporting campus crimes, the college encourages them, if appropriate, to inform persons they are counseling of the process of reporting on a voluntary, confidential basis for inclusion in the annual statistic or for a criminal investigation.
Confidential, sensitive care, examination, and treatment are available twenty-four hours a day at Health Services, hospitals, or other medical facilities. An important part of the criminal investigation is the collection of physical evidence. Survivors should go to Health Services as soon as possible after the incident (without showering, douching, or changing first, although they should bring a change of clothes if possible). Health Services is available for initial assessment Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. while college is in session. Survivors are sent to Cooley Dickinson Hospital for the complete evidentiary examination and treatment. The evidence will be used only if the survivor chooses to prosecute. Campus Police is always available for campus transport of sexual assault or rape victims.
If a student is the victim of a crime on campus, that student will be given information about off-campus resources and procedures for filing a civil/criminal complaint. Students are strongly encouraged to consider and investigate this option.
The Victim/Witness Assistance unit of the Northwestern District Attorney's office provides information and guidance to victims throughout the investigation and complaint process. Members of this department will provide information about the court process, survivor's rights, restraining orders and social service referrals. The Victim/Witness office will also facilitate consultation with an attorney to discuss the viability of a case. In cases in which a student is considering pursuing both disciplinary and criminal complaints, the District Attorney's Office normally advises that the student pursue the complaint through the criminal justice system first, since college disciplinary records can be subpoenaed, and could affect the outcome of a criminal case.
What are College Judicial Procedures for Sexual Assault?
Sexual assaults allegedly committed by a Smith College student can be reported and adjudicated by the College Judicial Board. However, in cases of a concurrent criminal prosecution, the College will likely wait for the criminal case to be concluded. During a College on-campus disciplinary case, the accuser and the accused are entitled to opportunities to have others present during the disciplinary hearing. Both parties are informed of the outcome of any disciplinary proceeding. Sanctions arising out of a campus disciplinary proceeding alleging a rape (including acquaintance rape) or other sex offense (forcible or nonforcible) include, but are not limited to, suspension or expulsion from the College. For more information on campus judicial proceedings see the College Judicial Board website or the Student Handbook on-line.
Sexual assaults allegedly committed by a Smith College employee can be reviewed under the College's Human Resources disciplinary policies. However, in cases of a concurrent criminal prosecution, the College reserves the option to initiate a separate disciplinary investigation. Although the criminal case will lead to a conclusion, disciplinary action may be taken to protect the college community regardless of that outcome. Sanctions arising out of an employee disciplinary proceeding alleging a rape (including acquaintance rape) or other sex offense (forcible or nonforcible) include but are not limited to termination of employment.
What are Some of the Considerations?
In cases of assault there are numerous options for a survivor to explore if she decides to take disciplinary action. There are resources on campus and in the Amherst/Northampton area to assist survivors.
It is important for survivors to investigate their alternatives carefully. When deciding which path to follow it is important to keep a few things in mind:
What outcome is desired? What do you as a survivor of a crime want to see happen next? While it is important to recognize the difficulty of presenting and proving these cases, it is also imperative that you examine all your options and rights.
Action on campus does not exclude action off campus as well.
Many survivors become frustrated because everyone is telling them what to do or, conversely, everyone seems unwilling to give an opinion. Only you can decide what to do. Taking action against your perpetrator is a step that takes a great deal of courage. Although the decision to proceed has to be made by you, this does not mean that you have to go through the decision-making process alone.