University of Delaware
Frequently Asked Questions about Sexual Assault

To the University of Delaware Community:

As president of the University of Delaware, my foremost priority is ensuring the safety and well-being of all members of the UD community. The University is committed to providing a learning, living and working environment that is based on mutual respect and free from all forms of violence, including sexual assault.

Sexual assault is a serious crime and is not tolerated at the University of Delaware. With consent of the victim, all reported instances of sexual assault will be investigated and adjudicated by the University and reported to the appropriate law enforcement agencies. The University provides several support services and personnel dedicated to helping victims of sexual assault secure treatment and counseling, evaluate options for reporting the crime and access advocacy and follow-up services as needed.

I encourage all members of the UD community to read the University's policy on sexual assault. The policy and this website define the acts constituting sexual assault and describe the resources available to victims.

The University of Delaware will be vigilant in ensuring that students, faculty, staff and visitors are protected from sexual assault and harassment and that the elimination of all forms of violence within the University community remains our most critical imperative.

Sincerely,

Patrick T. Harker
President

CAMPUS RESOURCES:

Center for Counseling & Student Development

261 Perkins Student Center (above the bookstore)
www.udel.edu/Counseling
302-831-2141

Office of the Dean of Students

101 Hullihen Hall
www.udel.edu/studentlife/deanofstudents.html
302-831-8939

Office of Equity and Inclusion

305 Hullihen Hall
www.udel.edu/oei
302-831-8063

Office of Student Conduct

218 Hullihen Hall
www.udel.edu/studentconduct
302-831-2117

S.O.S. - Sexual Offense Support

www.udel.edu/sos
24/7 crisis assistance: 831-2226 (Student Health staff will take a first name & phone number. The Victim Advocate on duty will call you back within 10 minutes.)

Student Health Service (for men and women)

Laurel Hall
www.udel.edu/shs/index.html
302-831-2226

Student Health Service - Women's Health Clinic

232 Laurel Hall
www.udel.edu/shs/womens/index.html
302-831-8035

Student Wellness & Health Promotion

231 South College Avenue
www.udel.edu/studentwellness
Email: studentwellness@udel.edu
302-831-3457

Study Abroad Office

Elliott Hall, 26 East Main Street
www.udel.edu/studyabroad
Email: studyabroad@udel.edu
302-831-2852

UD Police Victim Services

www.udel.edu/PublicSafety
302-831-2222, ask to speak to a Victim Services employee

OFF-CAMPUS RESOURCES:

Christiana Hospital: Forensic Nurse Examiners

Christiana Hospital Emergency Room, 4755 Ogletown-Stanton Road
www.christianacare.org/forensicnurseexaminers
302-733-1000, ask for a forensic nurse

ContactLifeline

www.contactlifeline.org
1-800-262-9800 for 24 hour crisis services in Delaware including suicide hotline, rape crisis hotline, and general crisis counseling.

Planned Parenthood

Website provides locations; nearest to campus is 140 East Delaware Ave.
www.plannedparenthood.org/delaware
302-731-7801

Police-Based Victim Services:

Newark Police Victim Services
302-366-7110, ext. 137

New Castle County Police Victim Services
302-395-8139 or 302-395-8135

Wilmington Police Victim Services
302-576-3622 or 302-576-3648

Attorney General's Victim/Witness Program
302-577-8500 or 1-800-870-1790

Delaware State Police - 1-800-VICTIM1

Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN):

www.rainn.org
24 hour National Online Sexual Assault Hotline or
24 Hour National Sexual Assault Phone Hotline
1-800-656-HOPE

The following information has been included to provide the University community with a clear understanding of the University's policy on Sexual Assault, procedures for reporting, and support services offered.

Questions about the Policy and the Definition of Sexual Assault

What is UD's Policy for sexual assault?

The following policy is taken directly from the Student Code of Conduct:

  • Sexual Assault
    1. Statement of Policy

      The University will not tolerate sexual assault. Sexual assault occurs when consent is not received, a person is physically forced, intimidated or coerced into a sexual act, or when a person is physically or mentally unable to give consent. Assault may be committed by an acquaintance or a stranger. Violations will be adjudicated by the University and may be reported to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.

      Sexual Assault Amnesty

      The Office of Student Conduct grants Amnesty to students who may have violated the Code of Conduct’s Alcohol Policy at the same time of the incident when he or she became a victim of sexual assault. Therefore, no alcohol charges are applied to a student who reports that he or she was under the influence of alcohol at the time of a sexual assault.

    2. Consent

    Consent is an affirmative decision to willingly engage in mutually acceptable sexual activity given by clear words or actions. It is an informed decision made freely and actively by all involved parties. In order for a sexual encounter to be consenual, each participant must agree to engage in each act of sexual activity in the sexual encounter.

    Relying solely on non-verbal communication can lead to miscommunication about one’s intent. It is important not to make assumptions. Confusion or ambiguity may arise at any time during a sexual interaction. Therefore, it is essential that each participant clarifies his or her willingness to continue at each progression of the sexual interaction.

    Consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity or lack of active response alone. Furthermore, a current or previous dating or sexual relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent in every instance, and consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity. Being intoxicated does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain consent.

    Conduct will be considered “without consent” if no clear consent, verbal or non-verbal, is given. In some situations, an individual’s ability to freely consent is taken away by another person or circumstance. Examples include, but are not limited to, when an individual is incapacitated due to alcohol or other drugs, scared, physically forced, intimidated, coerced, mentally or physically impaired, passed out, beaten, threatened, isolated or confined.

    The use of alcohol or drugs can limit a person’s ability to freely and clearly give consent. Alcohol and other drugs can lower inhibitions and create an atmosphere of confusion over whether or not consent has been freely and clearly given. The perspective of a reasonable person will be the basis for determining whether one should have known how the use of alcohol or drugs impacted another’s ability to give consent. Being intoxicated or impaired by drugs is never an excuse for sexual assault.

    1. Prohibited Activities

      Specific violations of this standard include, but are not limited to:

      Any uninvited, unwelcome advance, request for sexual favor, or touching or kissing of a sexual nature, where such conduct placed the victim in a position where he or she reasonably felt unable to avoid the uninvited conduct. Conduct includes, but is not limited to, rape, sodomy or oral copulation, sexual assault, or batter

Who can be a victim of sexual assault?

Anyone can be a victim of sexual assault, regardless of age, sex, gender, race, ethnicity, class/socio-economic status, religion, sexual orientation, etc.

Who can be accused of sexual assault?

Anyone can be accused of sexual assault.

What are some examples of sexual assault?

Prohibited actions include, but are not limited to:

  • Someone touching, fondling, kissing or making any unwanted contact with your body;
  • Someone putting his/her finger, tongue, mouth, penis or an object in or on your vagina, mouth, penis or anus without your consent.

What is consent?

The University's explanation of "Consent" is provided in the Code of Conduct and restated above in the first question -- "What is UD's Policy for Sexual Assault?"

What does it mean to feel "unable to avoid the uninvited conduct," as stated in the policy?

Listed below are some examples of situations in which a person may feel "unable to avoid the uninvited conduct". We cannot list every possible scenario, so if you have any questions please call Sexual Offense Support (SOS):

  • Sexual acts committed by any act of coercion, by force, by threat of force, by gesture, intimidation, or by threat of death, physical injury, pain, kidnapping, or other acts that result in the victim feeling scared.
  • Sexual acts committed while you were unconscious, sleeping, or otherwise unaware that a sexual act was taking place.
  • Sexual acts committed while you were incapacitated due to alcohol or other drugs (both legal and illegal) or prescription drugs, whether you took them yourself or someone gave you these substances without your knowledge. As stated in the policy, "The use of alcohol or drugs can limit a person's ability to freely and clearly give consent. Alcohol and other drugs can lower inhibitions and create an atmosphere of confusion over whether or not consent has been freely and clearly given. The perspective of a reasonable person will be the basis for determining whether one should have known how the use of alcohol or drugs impacted another's ability to give consent. Being intoxicated or impaired by drugs is never an excuse for sexual assault."
  • Sexual acts committed when you have a mental, physical, or psychological disability (temporary or permanent) that impairs your inability to give consent.

Questions about Services for Victims

What emotional support services are available on campus?

The following offices are available on campus for emotional support:

Sexual Offense Support (SOS) provides confidential & anonymous support services for survivors of sexual assault, intimate partner violence & stalking. These services are:

  1. 24 hour Crisis Intervention and Victim Advocacy - Volunteer Victim Advocates are available over the phone to listen, answer questions, and provide detailed information about your options. Victim Advocates can also meet with victims in a private room at the Student Health Service as well as accompany victims to the hospital, to report to police, to attend a student conduct hearing, to counseling, or to any other resources. To reach the SOS Victim Advocate on duty call Student Health at 302-831-2226. The person who answers will take a first name and phone number, hang up and page the advocate on duty, and the advocate will call you back within 10 minutes. If Student Health is closed, the message will tell you to call UD Police at 302-831-2222 in order to reach S.O.S.
  2. One-on-one follow up appointments, as well as assistance communicating with professors, landlords, financial assistance agencies, etc., are available with the SOS Coordinator (who is a professional staff member at Student Wellness & Health Promotion). In addition to emotional support, follow up care can include communication with professors about excusing absences from class or postponing exams and assignments, help in applying for financial assistance, referral to on and off campus counseling resources, and advocacy during any follow up meetings or hearings through the student conduct process.
  3. Sexual Assault Survivors' Support Group is offered by S.O.S. at Student Wellness & Health Promotion. For information about the Survivors' Support Group, call 302-831-3457.

Center for Counseling & Student Development (CCSD) provides assessment and referral, short-term individual counseling, psychological crisis intervention, consultation and outreach. After hours if you are in crisis, you may call 831-2226 to connect with a Psychologist (except when the Student Health Service is closed.)

Please note: If you are calling for SOS or CCSD services, your name and identifying information will NOT be reported to any office or authority.

What emotional support services are available off campus?

ContactLifeline provides confidential support services for survivors of sexual assault. These services are:

  1. 24 hour Crisis Intervention and Victim Advocacy - In Delaware call (302) 761-9100 or 1-800-262-9800. In addition to crisis services for victims of rape & sexual assault, ContactLifeline also provides general crisis counseling and Suicide intervention.
  2. After-care counseling is provided by ContactLifeline's own After-care Coordinator. To utilize this free service, call ContactLifeline via the numbers provided above.

Delaware provides a 24 hour Domestic Violence Hotline at (302) 762-6110. In order to utilize a safe shelter in Delaware, call the DV Hotline.

RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) offers a national phone hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) and an online hotline. RAINN provides answers to Frequently Asked Questions about using their hotlines.

The S.O.S. Coordinator at Student Wellness & Health Promotion and the staff at the Center for Counseling & Student Development (CCSD), including the Referral Coordinator, can assist students with referrals to off-campus counseling resources. Make an appointment at either location to seek referral to therapists in the community.

What can I do if I want medical care?

For comprehensive medical care after a sexual assault, it is recommended that you go to the Emergency Room at Christiana Hospital. In fact, Christiana Hospital is the only facility in New Castle County where you can go for evidence collection to be utilized in a criminal case. If you go to Christiana Hospital Emergency Room, let them know that you need to see the Forensic Nurse Examiner. An SOS Victim Advocate can accompany you to the hospital to provide support and answer any questions you may have about what to expect. Forensic Nurse Examiners are specially trained nurses who provide:

  • - Trauma care & treatment of injuries
  • - Forensic Evidence Collection (only facility in New Castle County providing this service)
  • - Testing & preventative medicine for sexually transmitted diseases
  • - Pregnancy testing and emergency contraception
  • - After-care services

You may utilize these services whether or not you wish to report to police. However, if you are considering reporting the crime, there are several things you need to know:

  1. Time is an important factor in evidence collection and it is strongly recommended that you go to the hospital as soon as possible after the assault. (Nevertheless, these services are available to you at any time after an assault.) An SOS Victim Advocate can accompany you to the hospital to provide support and answer any questions you may have about what to expect.
  2. It is strongly recommended that you not shower or wash before going to the hospital, so that critical evidence can be retained.
  3. You may wish to take a change of clothes, or take the clothes you were wearing during the assault with you in a brown paper bag. The hospital will keep the clothes you wore during the assault as evidence and, if needed, they will provide you with clean clothes to wear home. The hospital can retain evidence for up to 30 days while you make a decision whether to go forward with criminal charges against the perpetrator. After 30 days if you have not contacted them or you decide not to go forward, the evidence will be destroyed.
  4. If you need transportation to the Christiana Hospital, you, or the SOS Victim Advocate, may call Public Safety's non-emergency number for transportation, 302-831-2222. You will have to provide a first name, but you will not have to report the sexual assault to police in order to be transported.

Other medical resources providing follow-up care, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy testing, and emergency contraception are:

  • - UD Student Health Service
  • - Planned Parenthood (has a sliding fee scale for students, which means that patients pay what they can afford, based upon income)
  • - You may wish to seek out your own gynecologist or primary care physician
  • - Emergency Contraception is available over the counter at local pharmacies.

What financial assistance is available?

The State of Delaware offers financial assistance through the Victim's Compensation Assistance Program. VCAP can help victims pay for expenses related to the crime, such as counseling, lost wages due to missed work, medical expenses incurred, and other crime-related costs. A professional counselor or victim advocate is required to sign the application form. The SOS Coordinator at Student Wellness & Health Promotion can sign the form as well as assist you in applying for VCAP funds.

What if I am sexually assaulted in another country on a UD Study Abroad program?

It is recommended that you contact the UD faculty or staff coordinating your trip for assistance with navigating the local resources (crisis intervention/victim advocacy, medical care, police assistance, etc.), or call the Study Abroad office at UD. You may also call SOS on campus for support while you are abroad or utilize follow up care at Student Wellness & Health Promotion once you return to campus. The laws in other countries, as well as how the criminal justice system operates, can be vastly different from what you may expect in the U.S. For links to international resources, see: http://www.udel.edu/wellspring/sos/general.html

Questions about Reporting Options

I'm not sure if I want to report. Is there someone I can talk to about my options and ask questions about the reporting process?

You can contact Sexual Offense Support and speak with a Victim Advocate for more detailed information about your options. You can also speak with staff at the Office of Student Conduct or the Office of the Dean of Students for more information about your options, even before you decide whether or not you wish to report to police or utilize the student conduct process.

What are my options for reporting this incident to an authority, in order to hold the perpetrator accountable and/or to inform authorities of the potential threat to other victims?

  1. Sexual assault is a felony crime and you may report this crime to police. If the assault occurred on University of Delaware property or on sidewalks/streets that touch campus, the appropriate agency is University of Delaware Police.
  2. If the assault occurred away from University property, then you may report to the police agency responsible for the jurisdiction where the crime occurred.
  3. Sexual assault is also a violation of the University's Code of Conduct. Therefore, you may report the violation to the University if you were assaulted by another UD student. The student conduct process can be initiated for any sexual assault or sexual harassment policy violation that occurred on University property or elsewhere, and/or as part of a University program, for example: Study Abroad programs, athletic events at other institutions, and student organization events that take place off campus. You can report a policy violation through a variety of avenues:
    • Reporting to UD Police can initiate cases in both the criminal justice system and in the University student conduct system if you wish.
    • You may meet with the Assistant Director of the Office of Student Conduct or the staff at the Office of the Dean of Students to review the process of reporting and to receive additional resources for support. If you wish, you can bring another person with you to the meeting or ask to have a victim advocate. During that meeting you will learn about your rights and options as a victim, the student conduct process, and your possible participation in an Administrative Hearing.
    • If you live in a UD residence hall and you report the assault to a Residence Life staff member, the incident will be documented on an Incident Report. A copy of the Incident Report will be provided to the Office of Student Conduct and this step will initiate the student conduct process if you wish. If you are only looking for assistance and wish to remain anonymous, then your name will not be written on the IR. Furthermore, the Residence Hall staff is available to support and assist you 24 hours a day. You can locate a Resident Assistant or Hall Director using the duty information located on the staff office door.

    To be clear, while reporting to UD police can intiate both a criminal investigation and a University investigation, they are separate investigations and processes.

What if I am underage but was intoxicated at the time of the assault - will I get charged with underage drinking if I report?
What if I am assisting a friend to get help after a sexual assault, but I was intoxicated and underage - will I be charged?

No. If you have been sexually assaulted while underage and intoxicated, neither you nor a friend assisting you will be charged with underage drinking by the University of Delaware. Read more about Sexual Assault Amnesty in the Code of Conduct or see the first Question on this list.

What can I do if I want to report to the police?

Call 911 to reach police. It is recommended that you only share that you wish to report a sexual assault and tell them where the assault occurred so that they may send the appropriate agency. The police will want to take your report as soon as possible after the assault; however, treatment of your injuries and evidence collection also need to happen as soon as possible after the crime. Since your wellbeing, evidence collection, and reporting are all critical, it doesn't matter in which order these occur, and your medical needs may take precedence over reporting. The police can meet you at Christiana Hospital to take your report when the exam is complete, or you can contact them after you leave the hospital.

Do the police departments offer any services for victims of sexual assault?

Yes. Most police agencies have Victim Services employees to assist victims who report crimes. Check the resource list at right for contact information.

Does it matter when I report the sexual assault?

All crime victims have the right to report a crime to police at any time, regardless of when it occurred. However, it may be helpful for you to know that the sooner you file a report after the crime, the better the chances that helpful evidence can be collected to support a criminal case, that you will be able to convey a clear account of what happened, and that police will be able to identify and speak with witnesses.

At UD, you may initiate a case in the Student Conduct process at any time. If you wish to report, it is strongly recommended that you do so as soon as possible after the assault.

Does it matter where I report the sexual assault?

Yes. The crime needs to be reported to the police department that is in charge of the area where the crime occurred (jurisdiction). Call 911, tell them you wish to report a sexual assault, and explain the location of the crime as best you can. You do not need to provide details about the incident. The dispatcher will send an officer from the appropriate agency to take your report, based on location of the crime.

What happens if the sexual assault is one incident in an ongoing situation of sexual harassment?

Sexual assault is considered a type of sexual harassment, so if the person(s) who sexually assaulted you is a University of Delaware employee (faculty or staff member), you may report it by following the Sexual Harassment Policy. Employees and students who believe that they have been sexually harassed can contact the Office of Equity & Inclusion for confidential support, information, and options for resolution.