Under federal law and university policy the University of Nevada, Reno is required to investigate all reports of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking that are brought to its attention.
Most faculty staff are “responsible employees” who are required by university policy to report incidents of interpersonal violence of which they become aware. Some staff have been designated as “Confidential Resources” meaning that they are not required under university policy or the law to divulge information about interpersonal violence. Confidential Resources include: Counselors (ex: employees at Counseling Services), Medical Professionals (ex: employees at the Student Health Center), and the Campus Victim Advocate.
The Policy for “Responsible Employees” and reporting:
“Responsible Employees” Defined and Duties. A “responsible employee” is an employee who has the duty to report incidents of sexual violence or other sexual misconduct, or who a complainant could reasonably believe has this authority or duty. When a complainant reports an incident of sexual violence to a responsible employee, the complainant has the right to expect the institution to take prompt and appropriate steps to investigate what happened and to resolve the matter promptly and equitably.
A responsible employee must report to the Title IX coordinator all relevant details about the alleged sexual violence shared by the complainant and that the institution will need to determine what happened – including the name(s) of the complainant, respondent(s) and any witnesses, and any other relevant facts, including the date, time and specific location of the alleged incident. To the extent possible, information reported to a responsible employee will be shared only with people responsible for handling the institution’s response to the report. A responsible employee should not share information with law enforcement without the complainant’s consent or unless the complainant has also reported the incident to law enforcement.
- You are considered a responsible employee unless you are employed in a position at UNR that has privilege or confidentiality conveyed under state or federal law (i.e., professional counselors, psychologists, doctors, etc.)
- If you receive information of alleged sexual violence or sexual misconduct, observe or become aware of any conduct that may constitute sexual violence or sexual misconduct, you must immediately report this to the EO/TIX Office.
- Maintain the privacy of the information disclosed to the extent possible
- Do not share the information disclosed with law enforcement without the consent of the victim/survivor
- If you believe an individual will disclose information about sexual violence or sexual misconduct, you should first inform the individual of your reporting obligation
- Policy Referenced: NSHE BOR Handbook, Title 4, Chapter 8
Why Do I Need To Report?
- To ensure that the person has access to all of the available resources
- To help identify individuals displaying patterns of behavior
- To identify and address any trends or systemic problems
- To keep our campus safe
How to Help/Intervene
What to do if someone tells you they may have experienced violence
- First, offer support. Listen to the person and believe them. Let the person know it is not their fault. Encourage them to seek help and counseling as soon as possible. You are there to support them. Listen without judgement or bias. What Can I Say (link to https://www.nvcares.com/my-friend-needs-help/#1497905143747-5f9010a6-9bec page on website)
- Address any immediate health or safety concerns.
- Ask the student how you can be most helpful to them.
- Direct the victim to resources ( link to https://www.nvcares.com/resources/ page on website) that will give them support, accommodations, and reporting options. Remember that you do not need to counsel or investigate.
- Report the incident to Title IX (insert link to https://nevada.formstack.com/forms/reportingsexualmisconduct) if you are a responsible employee. Assure the person that you will not share their report with anyone besides those with a need to know.
How to make contact with a concerned student:
- Meet privately with the student (choose a time and place where you will not be interrupted)
- Set a positive tone. Express your concern and caring. This can be done through body language and eye contact.
- Point out specific signs you’ve observed. (“I’ve noticed lately that you . . .”)
- Ask, “How are things going for you?”
- Allow the student time to tell the story and allow silences in the conversation. Don’t give up if the student is slow to talk
- Consult with care. If you need to discuss what the student has disclosed with a colleague do so by still maintaining as much confidentiality as possible.
What to avoid:
- Do not ask ‘why’ questions. They are often victim blaming and unhelpful
- Do not ask the student to disclose information or details of their experience. They will tell you what they want you to know. You DO NOT have to investigate or get all the information to be helpful
- Do not make a judgement on whether or not a crime happened, if the situation is serious, or if it is reportable. Regardless of the situation described, provide resources to the student and let a professional in the field make that determination with the student.
- Do not let your personal beliefs hinder the support and care that you provide to the student. The student may not want to make the same decisions as you would, but it is their choice and what is most helpful for them in their life.
*Remember It is never the victim’s fault. They have not done anything to deserve or warrant what they have experienced.