Common Questions About Reporting an Assault
After you have sought immediate help and counsel for your own safety in the event of an assault, you will need to consider how or if you want to notify authorities, both at North Park University and with criminal and/or civil law enforcement. Below are some questions and answers you may have about reporting an assault and/or continuing to attend North Park if you file a sexual violence complaint. Please remember that you can always seek guidance from a licensed mental health professional or pastoral counselor as you consider your options.
What support resources are available to me?
Resources are available from both individuals and offices at the University, and from those external to our community, including professional and pastoral counselors, Title IX Advocates, and crisis hotlines, hospitals, and counseling services across Chicagoland. Learn more.
Who can I contact to report an incidence of sexual assault/violence/rape?
Besides notifying the University, students are always encouraged to report crimes to the Chicago Police Department and Office of Campus Safety and Security.
Assistance in reporting sexual violence to law enforcement authorities is available through Campus Safety and Security 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Students may also be assisted and accompanied by a Title IX advocate or other advisor from the North Park community.
Do I have to notify external law enforcement authorities?
The University encourages students to report sexual violence to the proper law enforcement authorities but will not require any complainant to do so.
If I don’t want to involve security or the police, who can I talk to?
Reports of any type of sexual misconduct can be made to the Title IX Coordinator, Deputy Coordinators, or the following designated “Responsible Employees” throughout the University community: all University administrators (vice presidents, deans, and directors), faculty, head coaches, resident directors and resident assistants, staff members in the Office of Human Resources.
When a victim tells a Responsible Employee about an incident of sexual violence or other misconduct, the victim has the right to expect the University to take immediate and appropriate steps to investigate what happened and to resolve the matter promptly and equitably.
The Responsible Employee may ask for information about the incident, including the names of the victim and alleged perpetrator(s), any witnesses, and any other relevant facts, such as the date, time and specific location of the alleged incident in order to bring the matter to the attention of the Title IX coordinator.
Before a victim reveals any information to a Responsible Employee, the Responsible Employee will explain his/her reporting obligations—and, if the victim wants to maintain confidentiality, direct the victim to confidential resources.
To the extent possible, information reported to a Responsible Employee will be shared only with people handling the University’s response to the report. The Responsible Employee will not share information with law enforcement without the victim’s consent or unless the victim has also reported the incident to law enforcement.
If the victim wants to tell the Responsible Employee what happened but also wants to maintain confidentiality, the victim will be informed that the University will consider the request, but cannot guarantee that the University will be able to honor it. In reporting the details of the incident to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy, the Responsible Employee will also inform the Coordinator/Deputy of the victim’s request for confidentiality.
Responsible Employees will not pressure a victim to request confidentiality nor to make a full report if the victim is not ready to. The Responsible Employee will strive to determine and support the victim’s wishes regarding investigation of an incident.
Can I pursue a criminal complaint and a University complaint at the same time?
Reporting the incident to the police does not affect the right to use the Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation. Both processes run concurrently, although on occasion, the University will defer temporarily to police requests in order to avoid jeopardizing a criminal investigation.
Will the University share my name with the alleged perpetrator?
In order to fully investigate and respond to the incident and pursue disciplinary action against the perpetrator, the University will have to disclose your name to the alleged perpetrator at some point.
What if I don't want my name disclosed to the alleged perpetrator?
You may ask that your name not be disclosed to the alleged perpetrator. Your request will be documented. Because such requests may limit the University’s ability to investigate the incident and discipline the alleged perpetrator, requests for anonymity cannot always be honored, but will be considered. Whether or not granted, the University will undertake an investigation and will take any remedial steps possible.
Will the University investigate my report?
Reports of sexual misconduct are always investigated. The only exception is if a student expressly asks that no action be taken on his/her complaint and the University grants that request because the Title IX Coordinator or designated Deputy Coordinator determines that the complaint does not involve a situation that could place other members of the community in jeopardy. The “no action” request (which would preclude most meaningful responses to the complaint) and the University’s determination will be documented.
Are there alternatives to an investigation of my complaint?
In lieu of asking that the University not conduct an investigation, a student could request that the University limit its response to the informal process outlined in the Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation.
I am concerned about the consequences of making a complaint. What if I experience retaliation for making a report or requesting an investigation?
Retaliation is taking an adverse action against an individual who has (1) complained about alleged discrimination, harassment, or retaliation; (2) participated as a party or witness in an investigation relating to such allegations; or (3) participated as a party or witness in a court proceeding or administrative investigation relating to such allegations. Title IX and University policy provide protection against retaliation against a complainant from any member of the campus community, including classmates, faculty and staff. The University will take steps to prevent retaliation as well as respond to any retaliation if it occurs. Complainants should promptly report retaliation to a Title IX coordinator to ensure immediate response.
You should also know that the University will make disclosures during an investigation only on a need-to-know basis, and will take all steps possible to insulate a hearing process from publicity within the bounds of due process as spelled out in the Student Handbook/Manual of Academic Personnel Policies. The University takes very seriously any act of sexual violence, is committed to addressing allegations of such acts, and protects any member of the community victimized by such acts.
Is there anyone at the University to whom I can disclose the details of my assault in confidence?
Professional, licensed counselors, those acting under the supervision of a licensed counselor, and pastoral counselors who provide mental-health counseling to members of the school community are not required to report any information about an incident to the Title IX Coordinator without a victim’s permission. Therefore, students concerned about disclosure of their names or the incident details should consider reaching out to these resources in the first instance. Click here for contact information.
Will I get in trouble for violating University drug or alcohol policies if I report an incident that occurred when I was under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or other prohibited substance? Will I get my friends in trouble if they were victims or witnesses of sexual violence who were under the influence of drugs and alcohol?
No, you will not get into trouble for violating University drug or alcohol policies for reporting an incident that occurred while you or another student were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Under the University’s Good Samaritan/Medical Amnesty Policy, anyone who reports an incident for purposes of safety or obtaining medical treatment will not be charged with a violation of University rules on the use of drugs and alcohol. The Good Samaritan/Medical Amnesty Policy applies to reports of sexual violence.
What are the disciplinary procedures and possible sanctions for sexual violence?
North Park students or employees accused of sexual violence are subject to the formal complaint procedure outlined in the Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation. If the investigation results in the substantiation of a complaint against a student or faculty member, and the investigating Coordinator concludes a severe sanction (suspension/expulsion or discharge) is appropriate, the disciplinary procedures as specified by the applicable student or faculty handbook or manual will be followed, as modified by the Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation. Staff are subject to discipline without a prior hearing.
During the formal complaint investigation and hearing process, the complainant and the subject of the complaint have an opportunity to present witnesses and other information supporting their positions. Both the complainant and the subject of the complaint may be accompanied by advisors of their choice from the North Park community throughout the investigation and hearing process. Both the complainant and the subject of the complaint are informed of the outcome of the process, and have an opportunity to appeal a final decision with which they disagree.
University sanctions may range from official warnings to expulsion/discharge, depending on the severity of the offense, a transgressor’s prior history, and the presence of either aggravating or mitigating factors. Imposition of University sanctions is not dependent on the outcome of any other civil or criminal proceeding.
What if I have a class with the alleged perpetrator?
In all cases of alleged sexual misconduct, the University takes prompt and effective action to support and protect the complainant, including taking appropriate interim steps before the final outcome of an investigation and hearing. Examples of interim steps may include altering class schedules, changing residence hall assignments, issuing directives that parties refrain from having contact with one another, and temporary removal of the alleged perpetrator from campus or University activities.
To the extent that these interim measures do not adversely affect the alleged perpetrator, they may be made permanent, even in the absence of a determination that the incident occurred as alleged. However, the alleged perpetrator may not be permanently barred from campus, residence halls, classes or other programs if the allegations are not substantiated or if the complainant decides not to pursue his/her complaint.