Transcript for Responding to Individuals Impacted by Sexual Misconduct

Script for training program Responding to Individuals Impacted by Sexual Misconduct (recorded 2-21-2017) for all University of Washington employees. Includes dialogue from vignettes. From Compliance and Risk Services.

Welcome to the University of Washington’s training program Responding to Individuals Impacted by Sexual Misconduct. This program is designed for all University employees.

Please be aware that sensitive issues will be discussed in this program. If you have any reactions or concerns, please seek assistance from the University’s employee assistance program. Information for UW CareLink is available on the Human Resources website.

This program is approximately 25 minutes in length.

The University of Washington is committed to establishing and maintaining a safe working and learning environment for every member of the University community.

In this program, we will be focusing on supporting members of our community who have been impacted by sexual misconduct. Our community includes students, staff, faculty and other academic personnel, and visitors to the University community.

For the purposes of this training, we will use the term “sexual misconduct” to refer to sexual assault, relationship violence, domestic violence, or stalking.

When a member of our community has been impacted by sexual misconduct, we have a responsibility to respond, including providing information, support, and resources for that individual.

In this program, we will review:

SafeCampus’ role as the point of contact for all University employees when you learn that a member of our community has been impacted by sexual misconduct;

Laws and University policies related to sexual misconduct, including the basic definitions of sexual misconduct under University policy and the student conduct code;

Understanding some of the dynamics around disclosures;

How to receive and effectively respond to disclosures; and the University’s responsibilities to those individuals who have disclosed and what happens after you contact SafeCampus.

As a University employee, you play a key role in not only fostering a safe environment, but, also, in ensuring that the University responds appropriately when a member of our community has been impacted.

To support you and our campus community, SafeCampus has been designated as the point of contact for University employees when you learn that a member of our community has been impacted by sexual misconduct.

Once contacted, Safe Campus will ensure that the individual receives information, support, and resources, including connecting the individual with a confidential advocate. The confidential advocates are experienced victim advocates who will provide direct support to individuals impacted.

SafeCampus’ contact numbers are:

For UW Seattle the number is 206-685- 7233

For UW Bothell the number is 425-352-7233

For UW Tacoma the number is 253-692-7233

An easy way to remember, is that 7233 spells safe on your phone.

Later in this program, we will provide more information about contacting SafeCampus and the role of our confidential advocates.

There are exceptions to contacting SafeCampus.

First, certain employees at the University are considered “Confidential Employees.” Confidential employees are excluded from contacting SafeCampus when they receive a disclosure.

These employees are typically licensed medical, clinical or mental-health professionals who are prevented from sharing information they learn – while they are acting in that professional role in the provision of services to a patient.

These professionals include physicians, nurses, physicians’ assistants, psychologists, psychiatrists, professional counselors, and those performing services under their supervision.

However, these resources are available to you and your patient if you believe they would be helpful. So, please feel free to consult with SafeCampus about resources.

In addition, under Washington State Law and University policy, if you have reasonable cause to believe that a child has suffered abuse or neglect, you must report the suspected abuse or neglect to law enforcement or the Department of Social and Health Services.

A child is anyone under the age of 18.

The University created Administrative Policy Statement 11.8 to describe your responsibilities under the Washington State Abuse of Children Law. For more information about the policy and the safety of minors at the University please consult the Compliance Services website at forward slash minors.

Now, let’s talk about laws and University policy regarding sexual misconduct.

There is a nation-wide emphasis on preventing and responding to sexual misconduct on college campuses.

The Department of Education Office for Civil Rights has issued guidance to inform universities of their responsibilities under federal law to take specific actions when the university learns that a member of our community has experienced sexual assault. That law is Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 which prohibits sex discrimination in institutions of higher education. Sexual assault is a form of sex discrimination under Title IX.

In 2013, the Jeanne Clery Act was amended to include taking action when an individual has experienced sexual assault, relationship violence, domestic violence, or stalking. The Clery Act specifically requires that when the university learns that a member of our community has experienced sexual misconduct, we must provide them with written notice of their rights, resources, and reporting options.

Additionally, the Washington State law on Gender Equality in Higher Education, prohibits sex discrimination in institutions of higher education.

The University has translated the requirements of federal and state law relating to sex discrimination into The Student Conduct Code, which is found in Chapter 478-120 of the Washington Administrative Code; and into Executive Order No. 51 – the Sexual Violence Elimination policy and Executive Order No. 31 – Non-discrimination and Affirmative Action, which govern conduct by university employees and other members of the university community.

The information we must provide under federal law includes:

Options for and assistance for implementing interim measures, such as academic support and changes in housing or work schedules,

How to seek no contact orders or other civil protection orders,

How to report to the University or law enforcement and assistance with doing so, if they choose to,

Information about on campus and off campus resources, such as counseling, healthcare, and legal resources,

How the University protects their confidentiality, and,

How the University investigation processes work.

The University has appointed confidential advocates who will review this information with individuals and provide them with assistance.

In regard to interim measures, these measures extend beyond the academic or other support you may be able to provide within your role at the University.

Options and assistance include how to request changes to: academic arrangements, living arrangements, transportation, or working situations.

These are offered regardless of whether the individual decides to report to the police.

To best support individuals impacted by sexual misconduct, and to ensure the University meets its obligations under the law, once you have received a disclosure, it is important to contact SafeCampus.

Our Student Conduct Code and Executive Order No. 51 contain institutional definitions of the forms of sexual misconduct. The following is a summary of those definitions.

Sexual assault includes any sexual contact without, or that exceeds, that person’s consent.

The University utilizes an affirmative consent standard. This means that there are actual words or conduct indicating freely given agreement between the parties to engage in the sexual contact.

Relationship violence is violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim.

This includes sexual or physical abuse or the threat abuse and, also, emotional and psychological abuse and control.

Relationship violence may also be referred to as dating violence.

Domestic violence involves the infliction of physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault committed against a family or household member.

Household members includes roommates who are not in a relationship.

Stalking is defined as directly or indirectly engaging in a course of conduct that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others or to suffer substantial emotional distress.

Stalking may involve following or tracking someone’s whereabouts or sending unwanted gifts. It also includes cyberstalking, such via texts, emails, or other social media.

Next we want to talk about what we know from research in regard to the prevalence of sexual misconduct in our community and the dynamics of when and how individuals will disclose when they have been impacted by sexual misconduct.

To give you an idea of the extent of sexual misconduct in our student community, in 2014, the University conducted a survey of students at the Seattle campus asking them about their experiences in the prior year.

In 2014, of the 651 respondents, 2.1% of men said they had sex without their consent and 6% of women said they had sex without consent.

7.9% of men said they experienced unwanted sexual touching and nearly 24% of women.

8.8% of women felt they were pressured for sexual contact while nearly 2% of men stated the same.

And finally, almost 15% of women surveyed said they experienced behaviors they would call stalking while 5.4% of men stated they had experienced stalking.

Sexual misconduct impacts people in different ways and affects people of all genders, sexual orientations, races, religions, abilities, and socio-economic statuses.

The majority of individuals tell a family member, friends, or other trusted individuals.

Research indicates many individuals who have experienced sexual misconduct do not report to the police or seek other forms of assistance such as mental health services.

Although research showed that positive disclosure experiences and social support are associated with improved mental health,

It also indicates that negative reactions experienced when individuals disclose, may impede their well-being.

You may be that trusted person who receives a first disclosure.

Disclosure can happen in many ways. Individuals may directly disclose an experience to you in office hours, after class, or after work hours,

Disclose within an assignment, such as a term paper or presentation,

Find that class material has triggered memories of their experiences and want to talk to you about it,

Ask for an extension on classwork due to the impacts of their experience; or,

Ask for a leave of absence from work to deal with the situation.

Please note that the individual may not use terms like “sexual assault,” “relationship violence,” or “stalking.”

Instead, they may describe the experience in a way that indicates that what they have experienced may be sexual misconduct.

It may also help you to understand some common reactions individuals have to their experience and everyone’s reaction is going to be unique to that individual.

They may minimize or downplay the seriousness of the situation;

not outwardly appear upset, like crying,

blame themselves for what happened, or

question whether what they experienced is sexual misconduct.

Research supports that individuals who have experienced a trauma such as sexual misconduct may react in these ways. Do not substitute your judgement of how someone should respond.

If someone shares any information that indicates to you that they have experienced or are experiencing sexual misconduct, contact SafeCampus.

Next we’ll describe what to do when you receive a disclosure.

There are five basic steps to follow when you respond to disclosures.

First, thank the individual for disclosing and acknowledge that they are experiencing something serious.

Avoid asking them to describe more about what happened than they wish to share. It is not necessary to probe and seek out more details.

Second, explain that you will contact SafeCampus

Third, explain that they will be contacted by SafeCampus AND by a University confidential advocate.

Fourth, ask if they have any concerns about their safety or the safety of others.

Fifth, then contact SafeCampus.

Here is an example of what you could say in response to an individual who discloses to you …

Video Vignette:

Woman one: Thank you for coming forward and sharing your experience with me. I know how difficult this has been, and it’s really brave of you to come and talk with me about this.

Man one: It’s really brave of you and I know it can be difficult to talk about this.

Woman two: Thanks so much for coming forward and sharing this with me. It’s really brave of you.

Man two: I’ll be contacting SafeCampus and providing your contact information to them, so that they can reach out to you.

Woman three: I need you to know that SafeCampus with reach out to you. They will provide you with information you need, about your rights, about the resources, and the options you have.

Man three: Because I care about you, I want you to know about your rights and the resources available to you. I will contact SafeCampus and provide them with your name and your contact information.

Man one: Calling SafeCampus does not automatically initiate a University investigation.

Woman four: After I contact SafeCampus, a referral will be made to a confidential University advocate, and that advocate will contact you directly. These advocates are specially trained to provide support and discuss any safety concerns you may have.

Woman one: It will be your choice whether or not you want to respond to the advocate, and you can decide how much you want to share about your experience.

Woman two: What you choose to share with them is confidential. Advocates can also share more information with you about your rights, the process, reporting options and the support that is available.
Man three: I want you to know that you are not alone in this, and we want to support you. Do you have any safety concerns, big or small, that we need to address right now, or that you would like to talk about.

While many of you may have relevant knowledge and expertise to help support individuals in these situations, it is important that you contact SafeCampus.

SafeCampus and the advocates will connect the individuals with the University’s wealth of resources and programs that are specifically designed to provide support, including

the confidential advocates;

counseling services; and

medical care.

Again, our confidential advocates are trained and experienced victim advocates. Information about our advocates will be provided at the end of this program.

In some cases, the individual who discloses to you may ask that you keep it a secret, or not tell anyone else.

Regardless of your assessment of the situation, contact SafeCampus.

The individual may then choose whether or not to seek assistance from the confidential advocate.

In most cases, individuals appreciate being connected with these offices.

Here is an example of how to respond when individuals ask if you can keep what they tell you confidential…

When you contact SafeCampus you will be asked to share

The name of the individual who disclosed to you,

The content of the conversation with the individual, and

If the individual shared any safety concerns or currently has to have contact with the other individual.

At that time, you can ask SafeCampus any questions you have about next steps.

Some of you may have received notice that you have been identified as a campus security authority under the Clery Act.

The Clery Act, which is a federal law, requires the University to issue warnings of criminal activity and, also, publish annual crime statistics.

A University employee who has been designated as a Campus Security Authority is obligated to report specific crimes to the University as required by the Clery Act.

Even if you are a campus security authority, if you receive a disclosure of sexual misconduct, contact SafeCampus.

SafeCampus will ensure the individual impacted is provided information about their rights and resources and connected with a confidential advocate.

SafeCampus will also be responsible for making any required Clery reports to UW Police Department or UW Tacoma or UW Bothell campus security offices.

This means you do not need to complete a Crime Report Form or seek additional information to assess whether a reportable crime has occurred.

After you make the contact, you should not share the information with anyone else and you should maintain the confidentiality of what you have learned.

In particular, if the individual has shared the identity of the other individual, do NOT inform that other individual.

We want to create a space for the individual impacted by the other’s conduct to decide if they want to request an investigation or other action by the University.

If you have questions or concerns about not informing your supervisor, chair, or other individuals at the University who you believe should know, discuss those concerns with SafeCampus.

The following is a brief overview of what happens once you contact SafeCampus.

After you contact SafeCampus, they will contact the individual who has disclosed to share information regarding their rights, resources, and reporting options.

As described earlier, the Clery Act requires that we provide this information to the individual. SafeCampus will also share the contact information for a confidential advocate.

The confidential advocate will also do an outreach to the individual. We have found that when individuals who disclose receive this direct outreach, they often choose to meet with an advocate.

They always have the choice as to how much they share.

You or the individual may also be concerned about how the information will be used and who it will be shared with once you have contacted SafeCampus.

Confidentiality is maintained to highest degree possible while ensuring that the university has met its obligations to the individual.

As mentioned, if the individual does not want the University to conduct an investigation, contacting SafeCampus will not automatically initiate a formal investigation by the university.

You, or the individual may also be concerned about retaliation.

Please note that University policy prohibits retaliation against any individual who

seeks resources,

makes a referral,

reports concerns, or,

who cooperates with or participates in any investigation or,

any individual who is perceived to have engaged in any of these actions.

So, let’s review again how you can handle receiving a disclosure with the five steps.

First, thank them for disclosing and acknowledge that they are experiencing something serious,

Second, explain that you will contact SafeCampus

Third, explain that they will then be contacted by SafeCampus AND by a confidential advocate,

Fourth, check-in about any other concerns; and

Finally, contact SafeCampus.

It is important that we work together as a community to prevent and respond to sexual misconduct. So, if you have questions…

The Title IX Coordinator is available to provide you with more information and resources about our compliance with Title IX and other related federal and state laws.

The Title IX Coordinator can be reached via email at title I x at U W dot edu and more information is available on the Compliance Services website.

The University has also created a website designed to provide information about support and resources for those impacted by sexual assault and sexual misconduct.

It is available at

The University of Washington is committed to establishing and maintaining a safe working and learning environment that is free from sexual misconduct.

Thank you for your efforts to support this goal.

This concludes the University of Washington’s training video on Responding to Individuals Impacted by Sexual Misconduct.

This program was created in the Fall of 2016 by Compliance Services.

The University of Washington reserves all rights including the right to modify, add and delete content as necessary and without notice.