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Outlining the reporting process

BY LILY ABROMEIT | MARCH 03, 2014 5:00 AM

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University of Iowa students gathered to demand a zero-tolerance policy and an open discussion about the university’s policy last week following an increase in reported sexual assaults and controversial comments from President Sally Mason.

This academic year, eight sexual assaults and one attempted sexual assault have been reported.
Reporting a sexual assault to the university begins a complex and detailed process, which officials say is key to supporting the victim and rectifying the situation as much as possible.

Monique DiCarlo, the UI coordinator for sexual-misconduct response, laid out the process that comes after a report, noting it can be complicated but is important for people to understand.

“[It’s important] to clarify reporting options and to make sure that the person who was hurt is linked with support resources,” she said. “[Whether that is] a victim advocate or medical resources … every situation is different and every person’s needs are unique to what [she or he] experienced.”

DiCarlo said the first steps are crucial to minimizing damage and helping victims understand their options when making a complaint.

“What really matters is the first person the victim tells,” she said.

With the various options, DiCarlo said, the process can get complicated and is “really specific to the behavior that has been recorded and what the investigation has found.”

When people in the office hear of a report that a person may have been affected by a sexual assault, domestic violence, or stalking, they reach out to the victim and offer to set up a meeting between the victim and a staff member.

At the meeting, the office creates a link between the victim and a victim advocate, as well as discusses safety concerns the victim may have and informs that person of possible complaint options.

UI students may make university administration complaints, which involves investigating breaking UI policy, or a criminal complaint, which involves investigating law breaking.

If a student is accused and a complaint is made, judicial administration first identifies whether the student violated university policy. The judicial administrator then determines if the accused student’s actions are suspension or non-suspension warranted. If it is suspension warranted, the process continues to determine whether the student is found guilty or not guilty.

Throughout this process, the Office of the Sexual Misconduct Response Coordinator acts as a liaison between the judicial administrator and victim, providing updates on the case and continuous support.


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