Sexual assault

If you are sexually assaulted, or if someone shares their experience of sexual assault with you, it can be hard to know what to do. Often people are unsure whether what happened was sexual assault. Reaching out to a caring professional can help you figure out your next steps. Know that you are not alone.

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault includes any sexual contact without consent — without clear initial consent and/or without ongoing consent throughout additional sexual activity. Perpetrators can be acquaintances, classmates, colleagues, supervisors, former or current intimate partners, family members or strangers.

Sexual assault affects people of all races, genders, sexual orientations, social classes, ages and abilities.

Seeking medical care

Visit UW Sexual Assault Medical Care to learn what your options are for seeking medical care after sexual assault, along with information on what a Sexual Assault Nurse Examination (SANE) entails and which medical locations offer exams.

Supporting a friend or colleague

A person who’s been assaulted may turn to someone they trust for support. Your response when a friend or colleague shares that they have been sexually assaulted will go a long way in helping them feel supported. It may also impact whether they choose to seek additional help. Please consider taking these steps when someone discloses to you:

  • Validate: Believe them and thank them for sharing with you.
  • Listen: Ask how you can help.
  • Connect: Share with them that there are resources on campus to support them.
  • Consult: Call SafeCampus to determine options or share safety concerns.
  • Self-care: Take care of yourself and be aware of your own feelings.

To learn more about supporting a friend or colleague, visit UW How to Help a Friend.

UW Resources and confidential advocates

The University of Washington offers free confidential advocacy for students and employees affected by sexual assault and related experiences. Advocates can help you learn about available resources, your rights and reporting options. They can support you in making a holistic plan for managing and reducing the impact of your experience.

Meeting with an advocate will not automatically trigger any kind of investigation by the University or the police.

Learn more about how an advocate can support you and how to contact them at the UW Sexual Assault Resources and Advocacy site.

If you are aware of sexual assault

All UW staff, faculty, and students, as well as members of the public, are encouraged to share concerns related to sexual assault and other forms of sex- and gender-based violence and harassment through the online Title IX reporting form. When you make a report you will be connected with a Title IX Case Manager.

Learn more about who is required to report and who is encouraged to support on the employee reporting expectations page.

If you are a student and wondering how to support a friend, roommate, or peer please visit UW How to Help a Friend or call SafeCampus for support.

Reporting Options

Before requesting an investigation, you may wish to speak to a confidential advocate. A confidential advocate can help you consider your reporting options and explain what to expect if you decide to submit a formal complaint to the University of Washington. Advocates can also explain and help facilitate supportive measures and other resources. Visit the Title IX Support & Help page for more information.

The University of Washington has several designated offices responsible for responding to, investigating, and resolving complaints. Please visit the Title IX Reporting Options page to learn more.

Protection orders

Please visit our protection orders page to learn what a protection order is and to consider whether you would like to seek one for yourself.