Sexual Assault Response Procedure
Any commission of a sex offense, rape or sexual assault prohibited by Illinois or federal law is a violation of Trinity’s Code of Conduct. Any violation of this policy may lead to criminal prosecution or discipline up to and including, expulsion or suspension, or termination as applicable.
Trinity Christian College encourages all victims of sexual assault to report such incidents to the student development office and local police. The decision to file a report with the student development office or any other local, county, or state law enforcement agency is to be made by the victim. Filing a report with the police does not commit the victim to pressing charges and testifying in court and should be done as soon as is practical. While follow-up options are presented and discussed, the final decisions are left to the victim. Security department and/or student development personnel will help victims contact the police if assistance is requested.
Illinois state law, in regard to sexual misconduct, is broken down into two categories: criminal sexual abuse (720ILCS 5/12-15) and criminal sexual assault (720 ILCS 5/12-13). Criminal sexual abuse occurs when there is sexual conduct by touching or fondling by force or threat of force on another without mutual consent; criminal sexual assault occurs when there is an act of sexual penetration by force or threat of force on another without mutual consent. Within these two categories there are many variables in regard to the ages of the victim and offender, the ability of the victim to give consent, and other aggravating factors. Penalties can range from up to one year in prison for misdemeanor offenses to life imprisonment for felony offenses with aggravating factors.
During the course of the academic year programs will be presented by professional staff and outside instructors on sexual assault prevention and acquaintance rape prevention and information on forcible and non-forcible sex offenses.
If you are sexually assaulted:
Any victim of sexual assault is encouraged to get to a safe place as soon as possible and then proceed with the following:
1. Call a close friend, residence hall director, or other trusted person who can be with you for support.
2. Try to preserve all physical evidence. Do not bathe, use the toilet, or change clothing. Do not wash or discard any sheets, blankets, clothes, or bedding present during the sexual assault. If you do change clothing, put all clothing you were wearing at the time of the attack in a paper , not plastic bag.
3. Contact Campus Security Department (239-3722) or call the local police department where the offense occurred.
4. Get medical attention as soon as possible to make sure you are physically well and permit the collection of important evidence in the event you may later wish to take legal action.
5. Use the expertise of counselors at the Cooper Center for confidential crisis counseling, assistance with medical treatment, safe-shelter options, and assistance with legal issues, and to provide emotional support.
Many individuals experience sexual assault and never tell anyone about it at the time of the incident. If you were victimized weeks or years ago, assistance is still available to you. Talking with someone now may help you cope better with abuse from the past, whether it was rape, child sexual abuse, incest, or sexual harassment. The counselors at the Cooper Center are available free of charge to assist you, they can be contacted at 239-4853.
Other Sexual Assault Response Resources:
Crisis Center for South Suburbia 708-429-SAFE (7233)
Y W Cares ( YWCA South Suburbs) 708-748-5672
Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault 217-753-4117
Rape and Incest Network (R.A.I.N.) 800-656-4673
It is important to seek immediate and follow-up medical attention for several reasons: first, to assess and treat any physical injuries you may have sustained; second, to determine the risk of sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy and third, to gather evidence that could aid criminal prosecution. Physical evidence should be collected immediately, ideally within the first 24 hours. It may be collected later than this, but the quality and quantity of the evidence may be diminished.
The exam can be conducted without the involvement of law enforcement personnel, however, local law enforcement will be contacted by hospital personnel whenever they provide treatment for injuries which are the result of a crime. If you seek treatment at a local hospital and the police are contacted, this does not mean that you have to proceed with criminal charges.
Transportation to a hospital for the purposes of an examination can be arranged by either Campus Safety or Student Life staff by calling 239-3722.
Counseling and Emotional Support
As mentioned earlier, the Cooper Center, located in the Molenhouse Student Center at Trinity Christian College provides counseling services free of charge to students. Counselors can provide confidential support for you during this difficult period. They can inform you of common emotional reactions and discuss coping methods that may assist you immediately following an assault. Talking about your concerns with a counselor in a safe and supportive environment may help you to sort through your feelings and decide what to do. Counselors will not reveal your identity to anyone without your permission. Appointments for the Cooper Center can be scheduled at 239-4853.
College Disciplinary Action
If you have been sexually assaulted by another student or group of students and are considering college disciplinary action you are encouraged to discuss the matter with the Vice President of Student Development. This will allow you a chance to review the procedures should you decide to file a formal complaint through the college’s disciplinary/judicial system. This discussion does not obligate you to pursue official action.
If you decide to take part in the College adjudication process you will be asked to complete a written statement regarding the alleged incident. Charges may be filed by you or the college on the basis of your written statement. Such a charge would be handled in accordance with the procedures relating to violations of the college’s Code of Student Conduct. Individuals could be subject to disciplinary action pending review by the college. Students found to have committed sexual assault, acquaintance rape or other forcible or non-forcible sex offenses could be suspended, or expelled.
Pursuant to the college’s disciplinary procedures, both the accuser and the accused are entitled to have an advisor or support person present during the hearing. Students who allege sexual assault by another student may request a change in their academic and living situations on campus if such changes are reasonably available. In accordance with federal regulations by the accuser and the accused will be informed of the outcome of any campus disciplinary proceeding from the alleged assault For more details on the internal proceedings consult the Student Handbook if it involves a student and the Human Resources Employee Handbook if it is a employee.
. The college will, upon written request, disclose to the alleged victim of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense, the report on the results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by the college against a student who is the alleged perpetrator of such a crime or offense. If the alleged victim is deceased as a result of such a crime or offense, the next of kin of such victim shall be treated as the alleged victim for purposes of this paragraph.
If you desire to pursue criminal charges, call the local police department where the offense occurred
(if the incident occurred on the main campus, the Palos Heights Police Department would have jurisdiction). We recommend that you contact Campus Safety & Security before you contact local police so we may assist you in the legal process and involve other support measures.
Be advised that the investigation and questioning by police investigators can be uncomfortable and difficult due to the sensitive and personal nature of the circumstances. You may request that a support person be with you during police interviews.
Confidential Reporting of Sexual Assaults
If you are assaulted and do not want to pursue action within the college disciplinary system or the criminal justice system you may still want to consider making a confidential report with Campus Safety and Security. With your permission, a security officer can file a report on the details of the incident without revealing your identity. The purpose of a confidential report is to comply with your wish to keep the matter confidential, while taking steps to ensure the future safety of yourself and others. With such information, the college can keep an accurate record of the number of incidents involving students, employees and visitors, determine where there is a pattern of assaults with regard to a particular location, method, or assailant; and alert the campus community to potential danger.
Registered Sex Offenders
The Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act requires registered sex offenders who are employed at, or who attend classes at a college or university, to register with the institution’s local law enforcement agency. The local law enforcement agency will notify the college of any registered sex offenders. Registered sex offender information is compiled by the Illinois State Police, who maintain an on-line sex offenders’ database. To learn the identity of registered sex offenders on or near the campus, or anywhere in the state or county, use the following link to the Illinois State Police on-line sex offender’s information pages: www.isp.state.il.us/sor. Specific requests concerning faculty, staff or students at Trinity who may be registered sex offenders can be made with the Director of Campus Safety.