It is always crucial to know your legal rights. Have you ever noticed how confusing those rights are worded? We have taken what is important to know and broken it down for you in a way that you can clearly understand your rights and responsibilities.
- You have the right to file a report at any time.
- You have the right to be treated fairly and with respect from any and all law enforcement.
- In some situations doctors and teachers are required to report to protect minors, handicapped, the elderly and those that cannot protect themselves.
- Certain states have different laws and restrictions for prosecution and statute of limitations (period of time to file charges). Visit www.RAINN.org and find their policy page to search for your states current prosecution and statute of limitation laws.
- According to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the law enforcement officer should:
• Respect the victim's immediate priorities (health and safety concerns)
• Ask the victim if they'd like to have a support person present for questions
• Use the victim's exact words and place those words in quotations
• Make every effort to exclude his/her opinion and avoid asking leading questions
• Create a timeline to show trauma / pre- and post-assault behavior
• Provide victim with information on how to obtain medical treatment and undergo a forensic exam
• NOT pressure the victim to make any decisions regarding participation in the investigation or prosecution
Under United States federal law, most notably Title IX and the Clery Act, students are guaranteed a right to education free from sexual violence and harassment.
In the case that such violence does occur, colleges and universities are required to respond to the various needs of survivors, which can include:
- academic accommodations (e.g., receiving an extension on a paper after an assault, or expunging poor grades due to the lingering effects of violence)
- housing accommodations (e.g., moving your rapist out of your dormitory)
- employment accommodations (e.g., modifying your work schedule to prevent interaction with your attacker)
- campus restraining orders (“no-contact directives”)
- counseling and other support services
Campuses must have grievance procedures in place for survivors to take disciplinary action against their perpetrators.
- Why do schools handle sexual violence cases at all: The criminal justice system prosecutes sexual violence as a criminal matter, but because assault and harassment pose obstacles to students’ access to education — a fundamental civil right — colleges and universities are required to respond to sexual violence and its detrimental effects on campus survivors’ life and learning.
Sadly Despite these legal guarantees, schools across the country continue to tolerate campus violence and mistreat survivors because of myths that have infiltrated our society.
For more information and how to file a complaint against your school.
State laws and regulations are subject to change. This information is not presented as a source of legal advice and should not be relied upon in the course of legal affairs.