Following an incident ofsexual misconduct and violence - which can take many forms, including but not limited to rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, image-based sexual abuse, stalking, and domestic abuse -you have options. Students and staff may choose to disclose the incident to a member of staff to seek support. This is not the same as making a formal report to the University for the purposes of initiating the procedures within the Sexual Misconduct and Violence Policy. A disclosure is simply you telling a member of staff what happened so they can direct you to support and reporting options. They can also record your first disclosure on the SMV Disclosure Recording Form, so you can keep this for your records.
You have the choice of what to do next and can choose to:
The police have specially trained officers, who are very experienced in helping victim-survivors of all forms of gender-based violence including rape, sexual assault, domestic abuse, stalking and image-based sexual abuse. To make a report to the Police you can call 101 or in an emergency call 999.
If you would like more information on this option, you may wish to discuss the police procedure with an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA). An ISVA can provide you with impartial information to enable you to make choices by providing you with an overview of the police process and what to expect. You can access an ISVA through the Sexual Assault Referral Centre, The Meadows or the Rape and Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre.
Report to the University
You can choose to report an incident of sexual misconduct and violence to the University to initiate the process within the Sexual Misconduct and Violence Policy. This is separate from disclosing an incident to a member of staff.
You may submit a report under theSexual Misconduct and Violence Policyby completing theReporting Form. This form can be used by students and staff to make reports against students and/or staff.
The University may only consider if there was a breach of theSexual Misconduct and Violence Policy. The University uses the civil standard of proof, i.e. the balance of probabilities. The outcome of an investigation into the report will determine if any further action will occur and, if so, the appropriate disciplinary process will be followed. The University’s disciplinary process is separate from criminal law matters, and our misconduct offences are distinct from criminal offences.
When you make a report, you are offered a meeting with a case manager who will discuss the procedure with you and give you time to confirm your report. This allows you time to consider all of your options before the University takes action.
Consider Your Options
You may need time to decide what you want to do next. You may choose to seek support as you consider your options. TheSexual Assault Referral Centreoffers forensic medical exams, support, counselling, and sexual health screenings. You can have an exam without police involvement and the evidence can be stored. The Sexual Assault Referral Centre can also help you consider your reporting options.
By attending the Sexual Assault Referral Centre, you can seek support, receive practical help and learn more about your reporting options while giving yourself time to consider what to do next.
North East SARC
Local Sexual Assault Referral Centres
The Meadows SARC: Covering the County Durham and Darlington area
You may decide that you do not want to report to the University or Police. If this is the case, the University will still offer you support through your College and the Counselling Service and will refer you to specialist services if you prefer.
There is no time limit on when you can make a report. You can report to the Police at any time. You can report the University as long as the Responding Party is still a member of the University community.