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voices against violence

Reporting Options

What do you need to feel safe to report? We're not here to make choices for you, we're here to provide options so that you can make the most informed decision. The decision to report is personal and complicated. There is no right or wrong response to the experience of interpersonal violence. Whatever your decision to report or not, we're here for you.


Who are confidential staff on campus?
What can I expect from the University?
What if I have information about someone else's experience?
Reporting to Law Enforcement
What will happen to the accused?
Civil Legal Options
Legal Resources


Who are confidential staff on campus?
(i.e. Who can I talk to without making a report?)

We respect your choice to determine if pursuing a formal report is something you want to do.

The only employees of the University that have the privilege of private and confidential support on campus are:

Federal law requires that all other employees of UT Austin who are deemed "responsible" and who are provided with enough detail about your story are obligated to make a report. 'Responsible employees' includes but is not limited to professors, academic advisers, staff members, and resident assistants. Depending on the amount of detail you share with a 'responsible employee,' such as the name of the accused, if the accused is an employee or student of UT Austin, and/or the location of an incident, you may provide enough information that they are mandated/required to report it to the Title IX coordinator..

This means that if you are not sure or not ready to report to the University, please consider speaking with a CMHC or UHS employee to discuss your options in a private and confidential setting.

It is your choice to decide how much you want to share.

The University has an obligation to investigate or otherwise remedy every alleged instance of which it is made aware of sexual assault, sexual misconduct, and sexual harassment. The University may proceed to address the matter with the accused student under the University's discipline process, even if you choose not to file a complaint with Student Judicial Services (SJS).

To see the full policy of obligations of the University to investigate, please see: Appendices D and H for more information on Sexual Harassment, Sexual Discrimination and Sexual Assault and General Information Catalog: Appendix C, Chapter 11 for the discipline process.

appendix-d
appendix-h
appendix-c -student-discipline-and-conduct

Should you have questions or concerns about this, please consider asking for an VAV Advocacy appointment at the Counseling and Mental Health Center (CMHC).

Who do I report to on campus?

  • All students have the right to report what has happened to them under federal law.

  • Survivors have the right to work both with campus offices and law enforcement, either system or neither. If you would like more information about your options, please consider scheduling a VAV Advocacy appointment for private and confidential support, meaning that no report to the University will be generated.

  • At the time of the incident, if the accused was a current UT Austin student, you may choose to report to Student Judicial Services.

  • If the incident occurred on the UT campus, a report may be filed with the UT Police Department (UTPD) by calling 512.471.4441 or visiting UTPD headquarters at 2201 Robert Dedman Drive (across from the Manor Garage and the football stadium).

  • If the accused has no connection to the University, you may choose to report to the police. For more information, see Reporting to Law Enforcement.

  • Regardless of your decision to report or not, you have the right to access services for survivors, including the VAV Survivor's Emergency Fund.

What can I expect from the University?

The University of Texas at Austin is dedicated to providing a supportive and understanding environment as you make decisions about your immediate health, reporting the incident, and long-term coping and healing. As such, the University will endeavor to:

  • treat all students with dignity, sensitivity, and professionalism.
  • assist students to make informed decisions.
  • make every attempt to accommodate your request.

In the University's efforts to support you through the process, to the extent that it can, the University will strive to do the following:

  • fully answer your questions about policies and what to expect.
  • notify you of survivor resources, both on and off campus.
  • thoroughly investigate allegations in a timely manner.

It is important to remember that the University has an obligation to investigate every alleged instance of sexual assault, sexual misconduct, and sexual harassment of which the University is made aware. Because of this obligation, the University may proceed to address the matter with the accused under the University's discipline process, even if a student chooses not to report.

What is Title IX and what does it have to do with interpersonal violence?

Title IX is a landmark federal civil rights law (1972) that forbids exclusion on the basis of gender from any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. The University of Texas at Austin is committed to maintaining a learning environment that is free from discriminatory conduct based on gender. Title IX includes preventing and responding to issues of sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual violence. Title IX does not apply to female students only, male and gender non-conforming students are protected too.

Title IX requires that students are protected on campus by having an established procedure for handing reports and taking immediate action once a report is received so that a survivor can continue his or her education. Students who choose to report an experience of sexual discrimination, harassment or violence are also protected from retaliation both from students and employees of the University.

The University does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs and activities and encourages students and non-students who think that have been subjected to sex discrimination, sexual harassment (including sexual violence), or sexual misconduct by another student, member of the faculty or staff, or campus visitor or contractor are encouraged to report their experience.


How long do I have to report?

It's important to remember that waiting to make a report can impact the investigation process and whether a case is able to be successfully prosecuted.

  • For a report with a Texas police department, survivors of sexual assault have 10 years to report under the Texas criminal statute of limitations laws if there is no DNA evidence.
    • If DNA is collected during the investigation, there is no statute of limitations.

  • For a report to the University, survivors can report an incident of sexual violence at any time.
    • However, waiting more than 90 days, or 30 days after the next academic term begins, whichever is longer, to file a report may limit the type of investigation, adjudication, and disciplinary actions available. For more on the University's sexual harassment and discrimination policy, please see the sections below and Appendix C, Chapter 11 of the General Information Catalog. The appendices to the Catalog are also available online at http://catalog.utexas.edu/general-information/appendices
    • From the date of the report, the University has 60 days to complete an investigation, provide support, and resolve allegations.

What if I have information about someone else's experience?

If you are a friend, classmate or partner of someone who you believe has experienced interpersonal violence you may be confused about what to do with the information you have access to. Click here for more information about how to support or help a survivor.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Interpersonal violence (sexual violence, relationship violence and stalking) is never the fault of the survivor – start by believing.
  • There is no one way a survivor can or should respond to harassment, assault or abuse.
  • You can ask a survivor if they are interested in learning about resources and options available to them. It is okay to talk with a survivor about options but important to not force or persuade as this can be disempowering.
  • A survivor has the right to determine if and when to share their story, including formal reporting options to the University and/or to law enforcement.
  • However, please keep in mind the mandatory reporting obligations for employees of the University summarized above.

Reporting to Law Enforcement

Regardless of whether or not the alleged respondent was a UT student at the time of the incident, you may choose to file a report with the police. If you decide to move forward with making a report to the police, it is important to note that police jurisdictions depend on where the sexual assault occurred. The decision to engage in the criminal legal system can be a difficult one. Voices Against Violence (VAV) can assist you with knowledge about what this decision entails through an Advocacy Appointment.

If the alleged incident occurred on the UT campus, a report may be filed with the UT Police Department (UTPD) by calling 512.471.4441 or visiting UTPD headquarters at 2201 Robert Dedman Drive (across from the Manor Garage and the football stadium).

If the alleged incident occurred in Austin but off campus, a report can be filed with the Austin Police Department (APD) by dialing 911, regardless of how long ago the assault happened. Upon calling, a uniformed officer will be dispatched to your location to take the written report.

If the alleged incident occurred in another city, the local police department that has jurisdiction over that area will need to be contacted. Call 911 for assistance and you will be directed to the correct police department.

Under Texas law, a claimant in a sexual assault case has control over:

  • having a Sexual Assault Exam to preserve evidence with or without a police report
  • filing a police report
  • using a pseudonym to protect their identity and have their contact information kept out of the files related to the case
  • requesting reimbursement for certain expenses through Crime Victims Compensation
  • being informed of the Texas Penal Code
  • refusing to take a lie detector test
  • if the alleged respondent is indicted:
    • having them tested for HIV/AIDS and be notified of the results.
    • having their safety considered when bail is set.
  • if the alleged respondent is convicted:
    • writing a "victim's impact statement," a narrative explaining how the incident has impacted their life, which may be considered during sentencing.
  • being notified of parole proceedings
  • receiving information and changes regarding the jail status and court
  • events of the suspect/offender through the Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) provided by the Texas Attorney General's Office. For details on the VINE program, click here.

Criminal Proceedings

If you decide to report to law enforcement, and a District Attorney decides to move forward with your case, you may have access to an advocate from the Austin Police Department Victims' Services Office by calling 512.974.5037. A counselor will answer your questions about how the criminal justice system works in Travis County and what you may expect throughout the process.

For more information on your options under Texas criminal law, including statutes of limitations for reporting a sexual assault, please contact an attorney. For a brief introduction to legal resources, please visit:

Texas Association Against Sexual Assault

Office of the Attorney General

Student Judicial Services (SJS)

If the respondent is also a UT Austin student, you may file a complaint against them with SJS within the Office of the Dean of Students at 512.471.2841. Whether or not you choose to cooperate with law enforcement in a criminal investigation, you still have the option to file a complaint with the SJS staff.

Once a report is made to Student Judicial Services, an investigation will be launched with two staff member team. The investigation process and findings must be completed with 60 days under federal law once a report has been made.

Student Judicial Services may, at your request, take steps to protect your emotional health and physical safety. For example, you may be allowed to drop a class or, if you live on campus, you may be allowed to move to another campus living environment. Such arrangements will be facilitated through the Office of the Dean of Students. If there is sufficient evidence to indicate that the respondent presents a continuing danger to people or property or poses an ongoing threat of disrupting the academic process, the Office of the Dean of Students may take interim disciplinary action against the respondent as appropriate.

It is important to remember that the University has an obligation to investigate every alleged instance of sexual assault, sexual misconduct, and sexual harassment of which the University is made aware. Because of this obligation, the University may proceed to address the matter with the accused student under the University's discipline process, even if you choose not to file a complaint with SJS.

What are my rights and options during a SJS investigation?

SJS policies and procedures provide for the following options:

  • To request a no-contact order be administered by the Dean of Students.
  • To be present during the entire hearing, notwithstanding the fact that the claimant is to be called as a witness (the respondent has the same right).
  • To have a support person present during the hearing. This person is not entitled to represent the individual or to assist them with their testimony. If the support person is to act as a witness, the hearing officer may require the support person to testify before claimant testifies.
  • Not to have evidence of their past sexual history with third parties introduced into the proceeding.
  • To have the hearing closed to spectators unless both the alleged respondent and the claimant consent in writing to have the hearing open to the public.
  • To be informed of the outcome of the hearing as required under federal law.

Office for Inclusion and Equity (OIE)

If the respondent is a UT Austin employee, visitor, or contractor, you are strongly encouraged to file a complaint with the Office for Inclusion and Equity at 512.471.1849. Your report could lead to disciplinary action and help make the University a safe environment for all students. To learn more about the reporting, resolution, and disciplinary procedures concerning sexual harassment and discrimination, please contact a staff member at the Office for Inclusion and Equity.

What will happen to the accused if they are a student?

If the Dean of Students determines that this policy was violated, the dean, following consultation with the investigator or other knowledgeable person(s) as appropriate, shall determine whether to initiate a disciplinary action appropriate for the severity of the conduct pursuant to the Institutional Rules on Student Services and Activities (Chapter 11, Appendix C of the General Information Catalog).

Disciplinary actions can include, but are not limited to, documented warning, the imposition of conditions, probation, suspension, and dismissal. In cases of sexual assault with penetration (i.e. rape), the respondent will be expelled if found responsible.

Civil Legal Options

It is possible that your case will not go to criminal trial, regardless of your cooperation with law enforcement, as the final decision regarding prosecution rests with the District Attorney. Another option you may pursue is a civil lawsuit. In civil lawsuits, an alleged respondent could be ordered to pay money to compensate a claimant for physical and/or emotional damages. In limited situations, a claimant may also be able to hold a third party responsible. You may want to consult with a civil attorney to explore your options.

Legal Resources

Legal Services for Students (LSS)
If the alleged respondent was not a currently enrolled UT Austin student at the time of the assault, Legal Services for Students can provide you with an initial consultation regarding your legal options and may provide you with a referral to an outside attorney. For more information, please call 512.471.7796 or visit http://deanofstudents.utexas.edu/lss

Sexual Assault Legal Services and Assistance (SALSA)
A Project of the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault
Phone: 888.343.4414 (M-F 8am-5pm)
What we do: Free and confidential legal assistance for people who have had an unwanted sexual experience.

Texas Advocacy Project:
Website: www.texasadvocacyproject.org
Phone:


What we do: Legal advice from attorneys on issues of family violence, dating violence, and sexual violence.

Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid (Austin):
Website: www.trla.org/office/austin
Phone: 512.374.2700
What we do: Civil legal representation and advice to those who cannot afford an attorney.

Texas State Bar Lawyer Referral Service
Website: www.texasbar.com/lris
Phone: 1.800.252.9690
What we do: Referrals for lawyers in your community and information on legal representation for low-income Texas residents (Client Attorney Assistance Program).

Learn More

Sexual Violence
Dating and Relationship Violence
Safety Planning
Stalking
Taking Care of Yourself
Common Reactions
Concerns Related to Identity
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