If You or Someone You Know is a Survivor
Immediate Help for Survivors
- Get to a safe place and call a friend to be with you.
- If you know you want to report to the police, call 911. You will need to give your name and other information.
- If you are not sure what you want to do, there are advocates available to talk with you about your options.
- See “Help on Your Campus” in the right-hand column that includes information about 24-hour contacts on your campus and in the Worcester community.
- If you have been sexually assaulted but aren’t sure about reporting, be aware that obtaining a medical evidence exam soon is important to assess for pregnancies and STDs, and for a legal case. Do not eat, drink, bathe or clean up in any way. This is difficult, but it preserves evidence. However, if you have already done these things, it’s still possible to get evidence.
- If you have physical injuries from domestic or dating violence, these injuries are important to document for a legal case.
- If you definitely do not want to report to the police, it is still a good idea to have a medical exam. All health care providers, including student health services, are legally required to report to the police any suspected sexual or physical assaults. This does not mean that you must talk to the police.
- For additional information on getting immediate help, please see http://centralmasspfc.org/home/get-help/options-after-an-assault/
Reporting Options on Your Campus
- These forms of interpersonal violence are against policy on all college/university campuses. Survivors have the right to report what happened to them. You can report the incident to any or all of the following university officials:
- Title IX Coordinator
- University Law Enforcement
- Dean of Students Office
- Judicial Board Chair
- See “Help on Your Campus” in the right-hand column for the specific contact information for these offices on your campus.
- Survivors also have the right to change their on-campus housing situation and class schedule even if they do not want to file official judicial board charges against their perpetrator.
- Survivors may also want to speak to a confidential counselor, who may be able to assist them in reporting the incident, if they choose to do that. See “Help on Your Campus” in the right-hand column for the specific contact information for various counseling options on your campus.
Reporting Options in the Community
If they choose, survivors may report the assault to the police. According to Massachusetts state law, the right to an advocate is guaranteed for anyone who has experienced unwanted sexual contact. Advocates are available to accompany you throughout the reporting process and forensic exam.
The choice to report a sexual assault, to undergo a forensic exam, to participate in court proceedings, and to have an advocate present throughout the process are entirely your choice. If you are sexually assaulted, an advocate is always available to assist and support you.
NOTE: It can be helpful to keep a chronology of events and any relevant voice messages, text messages, emails and photos in case you want to report later.
Help for Survivors and Their Friends and Family Members
Whether or not you report to the police or to your college/university, think about talking to someone who is knowledgeable and trained to help you in the process of recovery. Advocates and Victim Services staff can help in the following ways:
- Crisis and long-term counseling
- Answers to questions about medical, legal and campus procedures
- Safety planning
- Assistance with academic and housing problems
- Accompaniment to interviews, medical exams, court and campus hearings
- Referrals to other services