Victim Services

Promises to Victims of Crime

Personal crimes, including assaults, sexual assaults, and hate crimes, are a very serious concern of the Miami University Police. Such offenses can be emotionally devastating to a victim, and they destroy the fabric of our community. We strongly encourage all victims of crime to file a police report, and we make the following guarantees to anyone who does:

Because the needs of a victim are our primary concern, we will:

  • Meet with you privately, at a place of your choice, to take a report. We will go with you to meet with another police agency if this is out of our jurisdiction.
  • Not prejudge you or blame you for what occurred.
  • Treat you professionally, with courtesy, sensitivity, dignity, and respect.
  • Do our best to make you feel comfortable while making your report.
  • Assist you and go with you in arranging for any hospital treatment or other medical needs.
  • Assist you in obtaining counseling, advising, and other available resources both on and off campus.
  • Do everything we can to protect your safety after making a report.
  • Thoroughly investigate your case and, if a perpetrator is identified, prosecute it criminally, unless you decide against it.
  • Keep you informed of the progress of the investigation and/or prosecution.
  • Always be available to answer questions and explain the criminal justice system and processes involved.
  • Consider your case seriously regardless of your gender or the suspect's.
  • A victim's request to speak to an officer of the same gender will be accommodated.

We are committed to making our community safer for everyone. Call us. We're your police.


 

Questions & Answers for Sexual Assault Victims

Victims of crime often have many questions . . . and getting them answered by the police is an intimidating prospect. Below are some frequently asked questions and answers; we hope they will help to alleviate some of the fear a victim may have of calling the police.

  • What should I do if I am the victim of a sexual assault or rape?

Go to a place that is safe and seek medical treatment. If a sexual assault occurs, safety and medical assistance are the first priorities. On campus and in the local area, 24-hour assistance is available. Call the police or go directly to the hospital (who will call the police for you). Whether or not you decide to report the incident, seek medical treatment immediately and get counseling as soon as possible. For the purpose of preserving evidence, do not douche, bathe, shower, or change clothes before seeking medical attention because valuable evidence may be lost. Preserving evidence is important in later pursuing a criminal or other judicial case. Do not wash sheets or other bed coverings where critical DNA evidence can be found. Evidence collection must take place as soon as possible after the incident occurs to preserve it correctly for prosecution.

If you need medical transportation to the hospital, call the Miami University Police Department at 513-529-2222 or the Dean of Students at 513-529-1877. Calling for transport will not result in a criminal investigation unless the survivor wants to pursue one. Visits to the hospital for medical treatment and counseling are confidential. A qualified sexual assault counselor will meet with you and provide emotional support and advice on disciplinary and legal options.

Conversations with S.A.N.E. nurses and counselors are not disclosed to anyone (unless there is a threat of physical harm to that individual or others) without the expressed permission of the person seeking assistance.)

Seek counseling. Even if you don't report the sexual assault or press charges, you should seek emotional support. Counseling is available 24 hours a day by calling the independent Women Helping Women at 513-381-5610 or 1-877-889-5610. This program provides victim advocates who can meet survivors at the hospital, help them work through feelings, discuss options, and offer assistance with referrals and follow-up. Students may also seek assistance from the University Oxford Student Counseling Service at 513-529-4634 during normal business hours. On-call counselors can be reached at any time through the university police dispatcher at 513-529-2222.

Report the sexual assault to the authorities. The more often sexual assaults are reported, the easier it may be to prevent them. Reporting an assault to the University Police or other law enforcement or campus security authorities does not require filing criminal charges, but it does allow support systems to be put in place for the survivor. Reporting is best done as soon as possible after the assault, but it may be done at any time. Students can make their report to any campus security authority, including, but not limited to, University Police (513-529-2222), Oxford Police (513-524-5240), Office of Ethics and Student Conflict Resolution (513-529-1417), the Dean of Students (513-529-1877), Resident Advisors, advisors to recognized student organizations and athletic coaches. The University will assist students who report sexual assault in obtaining medical support and information regarding available legal and judicial resources as well as counseling and support services.

Students who choose to notify police should be aware of the importance of the immediacy of reporting the incident and the importance of preserving physical evidence at the assault scene as well as on the person assaulted. The gathering of physical evidence can provide important evidence and support criminal charges leading to a successful prosecution.

Students who are reporting an immediate assault should be accompanied to a health care facility of their choice to allow for collection of evidence and treatment. If a sexual assault victim chooses to report the incident days, weeks, or even months after the assault, important support systems are still available and can be arranged; however, criminal investigations are much more difficult.

Sexual assaults, for which individuals seek medical treatment, must be reported to the appropriate police unit by health care officials. However, as noted above, students are not required to criminally prosecute the case or file a police report, unless the sexual assault survivor is a minor.

Reporting an assault to the police ensures that the incident will be included in the University's annual crime statistics report. It does not commit you to pursuing the charge but does allow you to keep your options open.

  • Will I have to pay for the exam at the hospital?

You will not be billed for services. Survivors of sexual assault at Miami also are strongly encouraged to report it to police. But even if you don't know whether you want to prosecute, reporting will ensure the collection of evidence and the documentation of facts while they are still fresh in your mind.

  • Will my parents be notified of my report?

If you are 18 or older your parents will not be notified unless a life threatening circumstance requires it.

  • I am not yet 21 years old and had been drinking. Will this be held against me?

No. Miami provides immunity for sexually assaulted students. While the University does not condone underage drinking or violation of other University policies, it considers reporting sexual misconduct including sexual misconduct/assaults to be of paramount importance, and Miami University will therefore extend limited immunity to students who have been the victim of sexual misconduct/ assault to encourage reporting and adjudication of sexual misconduct, including sexual misconduct/assaults on or off campus. This policy solely applies to instances of sexual misconduct/assault.

  • Who will investigate my report?

Depending on where the crime occurred, either the Miami University Police or the Oxford Police will take the report and be responsible for the criminal investigation. Regardless of who takes the initial report, however, both police departments may cooperate during the investigation.

  • Will the Police make me do anything I don't want to do, or make decisions for me?

It is the policy of the Miami University Police Department that victims make personal decisions for themselves during an investigation. Victims work directly with an investigator, who will answer questions and provide information to help them make informed decisions. Although the progress of the investigation depends almost entirely on the victim, the police will only make decisions for victims who are unable to make them for themselves (such as a victim suffering from serious injuries).

  • Will my name be in the newspaper?

Names and other identifiers of victims are not given to the media, published in crime alerts, or listed on the front page of initial police reports (which are public record). General details, with no specifics, are sometimes given to the media because they help to generate investigative leads.

  • When is a Campus Crime Alert issued?

In the event that a crime occurs, on campus or on the public property surrounding campus, that, in the judgment of the Miami University Police constitutes an on-going serious or continuing threat to the campus community, a Crime Alert will be issued. The purpose of a Campus Crime Alert is to enable persons to protect themselves, and to heighten safety awareness as well as to seek information that will lead to an arrest and conviction of the perpetrator when violent crimes against persons or major crimes against property have occurred. Every attempt will be made to distribute a Crime Alert soon after the incident is reported; however, the release of the Crime Alert is subject to the availability of facts concerning the incident.

Crime Alerts are usually distributed for the following Uniformed Crime Reporting Program (UCR)/National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) classifications: arson, criminal homicide, and robbery. Cases of aggravated assault and sex offenses are considered on a case-by-case basis, depending on the facts of the case and the information known by MUPD. For example, if an assault occurs between two students who have a disagreement, there may be no on-going threat to other Miami community members and a Crime Alert would not be distributed. In cases involving sexual assault, they are often reported long after the incident occurred, thus there is no ability to distribute a "timely" warning notice to the community. Sex offenses will be considered on a case by case basis depending on when and where the incident occurred, when it was reported, and the amount information known by the Miami University Police Department. The Miami University Police Chief or designee reviews all reports to determine if there is an on-going threat to the community and if the distribution of a Crime Alert is warranted. Crime Alerts may also be posted for other crime classifications, as deemed necessary.

On the Oxford campus, the Chief of Police or a designee is responsible for preparing and distributing the Crime Alert via blast email. Crime Alerts are posted on the Miami University Police website at http://miamioh.edu/police/crime-alerts and are distributed to students, faculty, and staff via an email blast.

The offices of Business Services on the Hamilton and Middletown campuses and the Director's office on the Voice of America Learning Center are responsible for preparing and distributing the Crime Alerts for their respective campuses via email blast to their faculty, staff and students. The Dean of the Luxembourg campus or a designee is responsible for preparing and distributing the Crime Alert via email blast to its faculty, staff and students on that campus.

  • Is there someone at each police department I can call if I have further questions or concerns?

Lt. Dan Umbstead, Oxford Police Dept.

524-5242

Det. Sgt. Jim Bechtolt, Miami University Police Dept.

529-1449
  • What Can I Do If Someone I Know has Been Sexually Assaulted?

If you know someone who has been sexually assaulted you can be of help. In the aftermath of a sexual assault the victim may be experiencing fear, insecurity, frustration, and need care and support from others. You, as a friend (or spouse/partner or family member), can play an important role by providing reassurance and support.

Allow your friend to reflect upon what has happened and the feelings experienced, but do not press for details. Let her/him set the pace. Listening is one of the best things you can do at this time. In short, be a trusted friend.

If your friend has not received medical attention, encourage her/him to do so. For additional help and support, call the Coordinator of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program or the Dean of Students at 513-529-1877, the Miami University Police Department at 513-529-2222 or call the Women Helping Women at 513-381-5610 or 1-877-889-5610. Students may also seek assistance from Miami's Student Counseling Service by calling 513-529-4634. An advocate can accompany you and your friend to the hospital and expedite medical attention.

You can be a valuable resource to your friend by seeking out and providing information that will assist in understanding available options. For example, you can let your friend know that reporting the rape and collecting evidence does not automatically lock her/him into pursuing prosecution of the offender. What it does do is assist the police in identifying the method and possible identity of the assailant.

Making the decision to report a sexual assault to the police and to undergo the subsequent processes of evidence collection and possible judicial proceedings will be very difficult for your friend. Although it is only natural that you will want to give advice, you must avoid trying to control the situation. A victim of sexual assault needs to regain control and must be allowed to make her/his own decisions.

Whatever decisions are made by your friend needs to know that she/he will not be judged, disapproved of, or rejected by you. The victim of sexual assault can suffer a significant degree of physical and emotional trauma both during and immediately following the rape that may remain for a long time. Being patient, supportive, and non-judgmental you can provide a safe accepting climate into which your friend can release painful feelings 

 

  • Additional Option

File a Complaint with the Office of Ethics and Student Conflict Resolution

If the accused is a Miami student, students are urged to file a complaint of sexual misconduct/ assault with the Office of Ethics and Student Conflict Resolution by calling 513-529-1417. Students need not file a police report to pursue a complaint with the Office of Ethics and Student Conflict Resolution (OESCR).

Both the accuser and the accused are entitled to the same opportunity for access to information that will be used at the hearing, to present relevant witnesses and other evidence and to have others present during the hearing. Confidential medical/counseling records and information regarding the victim's sexual history will not be provided to the accused and is not admissible at any disciplinary proceeding.

An accused student, may, in accordance with University disciplinary procedures, be summarily suspended pending from campus pending the final outcome of the disciplinary proceedings.

A. Disciplinary Process

The policies, procedures, and sanctions outlined in the Code of Conduct apply to all violations of the Code, and sexual misconduct/assault violations are no exception.

B. Disciplinary Sanctions

Sanctions against a student who has violated the Sexual Misconduct/Assault Protocol will vary depending on the severity of the violation. Sanctions may include expulsion from campus housing, mandated brief intervention, and/or may include suspension, or dismissal from the University.

Both the victim and the accused will be informed in writing of the final outcome of the disciplinary action.

C. Appeal Process

The accused may appeal following the grounds and process identified in the Code of Student Conduct in effect at the time of the complaint.

The accuser also has the right to appeal through the Office of Ethics and Student Conflict Resolution in accordance with the grounds and process identified in the Code of Student Conduct in effect at the time of the complaint.

The Code of Student Conduct can be found in the Student Handbook on the University's website.  

 

File a Report with the Dean of Students Office

If the sexual misconduct/assault report has not been reported to the police or to the Office of Ethics and Student Conflict Resolution, the sexual misconduct /assault may be reported directly to the Office of the Dean of Students. The Dean of Students' phone number is 529-1877 and the Office is located in Warfield Hall.

The Dean of Students' Office will generally first suggest that the student attend to any medical needs immediately. The student will receive information on medical and psychological resources available. The Dean of Students' Office can arrange for a professional staff member to accompany the student to the hospital if requested by the student. The student will also be assisted in contacting a support person such as a friend or the Coordinator of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program if desired.

The victim will be informed of his or her right to file a police report and/or file a disciplinary complaint against the accused and will be given a copy of this Sexual Misconduct/Assault Protocol. The victim has the right to determine whether charges will be filed either on-campus or with the police. However even if the victim elects not to file charges, the Dean of Students may initiate an investigation to determine if the situation indicates that the student or others may be at risk and whether action may be taken against the respondent by the University in the absence of charges filed by the student.

Students who have been sexually assaulted have access to support services such as changing academic and living situations after an alleged incident, if so requested and if such changes are reasonably available (no police report, disciplinary charge or investigation need occur before this option is available). Support includes:

  • Providing the victim with a temporary safe space within the University residence halls.
  • Moving the victim or alleged perpetrator so the victim and alleged perpetrator do not share the same residence or dining hall.
  • Changing class assignments so that the victim and alleged perpetrator do not share the same classes.
  • Providing academic support including tutoring.

Sex-Based Offense Protocol

 


In addition to the information above, the following on line services are also available to victims of crime: