How To: Report Sexual Harassment / Sexual Assault

How To: Report Sexual Harassment / Sexual Assault

We understand that the decision to report is difficult. However, if you wish to report an incident of sexual harassment or sexual assault, this post will explain how to report, the steps that may follow, and give some general tips. It will describe the different ways of reporting, including Anonymous, Third-Party, and Self Reporting. It will outline the processes of both Informal and Formal Investigations conducted by the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD).  Finally, at the bottom, you will find some Tips from SAO and Resources.

Below is a caseworker-created infographic from the Grievance division. To see in detail, click the infographic and zoom in using your computer’s web browser.

reportingsexualharassment

Report Anonymously:

  • Understand that anonymous reporting means that you do not wish to disclose your name or any of the identities of the parties involved, and you do not want any action to be taken.
  • You can report anonymously using CalTIP (Berkeley’s text-based anonymous reporting tool to report non-emergency criminal activity) by texting (510) 664-8477 (4-TIPS), or by emailing cal@tipnow.com using a made up account.

Report as a Third-Party/Self-Report:

  • Understand that once the University is aware of something threatening to the safety of the campus (such as a severe act of sexual harassment or sexual assault), the University has an obligation to investigate the incident whether you or the survivor is compliant or not.
  • There is no stated timeframe for reporting, but prompt reporting will better enable the University to provide an appropriate response. We encourage that all incidents be reported, even if a significant amount of time has passed.
  • You may report through the Center for Student Conduct by filing a Public Incident Report. Since the nature of the report concerns sexual harassment or sexual assault, this report will be forwarded to OPHD. The process for OPHD’s investigation will be outlined further below. This may be the best option if you want to initiate a Formal Investigation, which requires a written report.
  • You may also report through UCPD by calling their 24-hour non-emergency line at (510) 642-6760 (or 2-6760 from a campus landline), emailing police@berkeley.edu, or visiting the police department during open hours. Reporting to the police does not mean you are committed to filing charges.
  • If the incident occurred on University property, then UCPD will either conduct their own investigation, forward the case to OPHD, or do both, depending on the situation.
  • If the incident occurred locally, but off campus, UCPD will forward the case to Berkeley Police who will conduct the investigation. Alternatively, you can contact the Berkeley Police directly at (510) 981-5900police@cityofberkeley.info, or http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/police/.

OPHD Investigation:

  • If you have chosen to report and OPHD has received your incident report, the Title IX Officer (Sexual Harassment Officer) will contact you, usually within 7 business days, to set up a meeting.
  • You should also receive a written explanation of your rights and options including: to whom to report, options for reporting to law enforcement, complainant rights such as no contact orders or restraining orders, importance of preserving evidence, existing campus services available, applicable procedures for disciplinary action, and options to change academic, living, transportation, and working situations.
  • Going into the meeting, be aware of your right to have one representative or designated support person accompany you. This may be a personal friend, a counselor, or a caseworker from our office who will advocate for you. You will have this right for all subsequent proceedings or meetings.
  • During the meeting you will have the option to pursue Early Resolution, Formal Investigation, or file a Formal Grievance. Details on filing a Formal Grievance can be found here. Information about the range of possible outcomes, including interim protections, remedies for the person harmed by the incident, and potential disciplinary actions will be provided for each option.

Early Resolution (Informal Investigation):

  • Early Resolution is NOT required to open a Formal Investigation, and in some cases of sexual harassment or sexual violence, is not appropriate, and will be directly forwarded to a Formal Investigation.
  • The options for this have a wide range and are very flexible.
  • Results may include mediating an agreement between the parties, separating the parties, referring the parties to counseling programs, negotiating an agreement for disciplinary action, conducting targeted preventive educational and training programs, or providing remedies for the individual harmed by the offense.
  • It can also include options such as discussions with the parties, making recommendations for resolution, and conducting a follow-up review after a period of time to assure that the resolution has been implemented effectively.
  • This is recommended for anonymous reporting or third-party reporting.
  • The University cannot compel you to be involved in mediation. Mediation, even if voluntary, may not be used in cases involving sexual violence.
  • If Early Resolution is not appropriate, or is not successful, a Formal Investigation will be opened.

Formal Investigation:

  •  Formal Investigation requires a written account of the incident. 
  • If the alleged conduct also contains criminal acts, both this Formal Investigation and a criminal investigation will run concurrently.
  • The investigation should be completed within 60 working days from the request of a formal investigation. The deadline may be extended on approval by the designated University official, but in such case, you will be notified of this extension.
  • The investigation will generally include interviews with the people involved. You may request to be notified of the date when interviews have begun. The people interviewed are told only what is necessary for a fair and thorough investigation, and that maintaining confidentiality is essential to the integrity of the investigation. As a witness, discussion of the investigation to the complainant or the accused is heavily discouraged.
  • At any time during the investigation, the investigator may recommend interim protections or remedies which must be abided, otherwise you will be in violation of the Policy.
  • You will be notified by the investigator when the fact-finding portion of the investigation is finished.
  • After evidence is collected, determination of violating Policy is based on a preponderance of evidence, meaning a more likely than not standard. Essentially, if the investigator feels like there is a 50% chance that the incident violating Policy had occurred, then the investigator will find the alleged in violation.
  • You will be notified of the final finding as to whether or not the Policy was violated. This will not include the written investigative report. However, you may request the redacted version of the report, which will at a minimum include a statement of the allegations and issues, the positions of the parties, a summary of the evidence, findings of fact, and a determination by the investigator whether this Policy has been violated.
  • If you are unsatisfied with the outcome or believe that the actions following the report of sexual harassment/sexual violence did not follow Policy, then you can file a Formal Grievance. For the former situation, the Early Resolution or Formal Investigation will act as the first step(s) of the Grievance procedure.

Disciplinary Action:

  • If the alleged is found in violation of the Policy, then OPHD’s finding will be forwarded to the Center for Student Conduct (CSC). The finding may or may not include recommended disciplinary action; however, CSC will use the finding as evidence for their process.
  • Next, CSC will notify both you and the respondent when they start pursuing the case. This officially begins the conduct process.
  • An informal process will be pursued first. Someone from CSC will meet with the respondent to discuss possible sanctions, then you will be contacted for an informal meeting to discuss what you would like, and your preferences in regards to sanctions.
  • After these conversations, an Alleged Violation Letter (AVL) is sent to the respondent. The AVL contains the charge, a brief explanation of the facts that support the charge, and a recommended sanction.
  • Usually, for cases of sexual harassment, a sanction will be no less than  disciplinary probation for the remainder of the alleged’s time at the university. Other educational programs and/or reflection exercises might be additionally sanctioned.
  • The alleged will either accept the proposed sanctions, request a formal hearing, or not reply (in which case, sanctions outlined in the AVL are imposed). You will be contacted with either the result of the case or a notice that a formal hearing will be conducted.
  • If the alleged has accepted the proposed sanctions, but you are unsatisfied with the result, then you are allowed 10 days to submit a written appeal to the Deal. This is the last line of appeal. Understand that if you accept an informal resolution, you are waiving your rights to an administrative hearing and further appeal.
  • If the alleged opts for a formal hearing, then a Hearing Officer (HO) will try the case. Further information on the details and proceedings of the formal hearing can be found in the Code of Student Conduct on pages 13-17.
  • The HO’s decision will be emailed as a written report within 10 working days of the hearing to both parties. It will include a summary of the alleged perpetrator’s behavior, a determination of whether s/he was found responsible, and if found in violation, the sanctions to be imposed.
  • At this point, you may appeal to the Dean as the last line of appeal. You have 10 days to submit a written appeal.