Options for Confidentially Disclosing Sexual Violence

Options for Confidentially Disclosing Sexual Violence

 

The State University of New York and SUNY Geneseo want you to get the information and support you need regardless of whether you would like to move forward with a report of sexual violence to campus officials or to police. You may want to talk with someone about something you observed or experienced, even if you are not sure that the behavior constitutes sexual violence. A conversation where questions can be answered is far superior to keeping something to yourself. Confidentiality varies, and this document is aimed at helping you understand how confidentiality applies to different resources that may be available to you.

 

In this Policy:

  • Privileged and Confidential Resources
  • Non-Professional Counselors and Advocates
  • Privacy versus Confidentiality
  • Requesting Confidentiality: How the SUNY Geneseo Will Weigh the Request and Respond
  • Public Awareness/Advocacy Event
  • Anonymous Disclosure
  • Institutional Crime Reporting

 

Privileged and Confidential Resources:

 

Individuals who are confidential resources will not report crimes to law enforcement or college officials without your permission, except for extreme circumstances, such as a health and/or safety emergency. At SUNY Geneseo, this includes:

Off-campus options to disclose sexual violence confidentially include (note that these outside options do not provide any confidential information to the campus):

  • Off-campus counselors and advisers: RESTORE (sexual assault services), 1-800-527-1757.
  • Off-campus counselors and advisers: Chances & Changes (dating/domestic violence and stalking), 1-888-252-9360.

Crisis services offices will generally maintain confidentiality unless you request disclosure and sign a consent or waiver form. More information on an agency’s policies on confidentiality may be obtained directly from the agency.

  • Local Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) hospitals and programs:
  • Strong Memorial Hospital, 585-275-4551
  • Wyoming County Community Hospital, 585-786-8890
  • Off-campus healthcare providers:
  • Strong Memorial Hospital, 585-275-4551
  • Wyoming County Community Hospital, 585-786-8890
  • Noyes Health Services (Geneseo), 585-991-6016

Note that medical office and insurance billing practices may reveal information to the insurance policyholder, including medication and/or examinations paid for or administered. The New York State Office of Victim Services may be able to assist in compensating victims/survivors for health care and counseling services, including emergency compensation. More information may be found here: http://www.ovs.ny.gov/files/ovs_rights_of_cv_booklet.pdf, or by calling 1-800-247-8035. Options are

explained here:

http://www.ovs.ny.gov/helpforcrimevictims.html.

 

Note that even individuals who can typically maintain confidentiality are subject to exceptions under the law, including when an individual is a threat to themselves or others and the mandatory reporting of child abuse.

 

Non-Professional Counselors and Advisers:

Non-professional counselors and advisers can also assist you without sharing information that could identify you. At SUNY Geneseo, this includes: Health Services, 585-245-5736, Lauderdale Health Center, http://www.geneseo.edu/health.

 

These individuals will report the nature, date, time, and general location of an incident to SUNY Geneseo's Title IX Coordinator but will consult with you to ensure no personally identifying details are shared without your consent. These individuals are not considered confidential resources as discussed above.

 

 

Privacy versus Confidentiality:

 

Even SUNY Geneseo offices and employees who cannot guarantee confidentiality will maintain your privacy to the greatest extent possible. The information you provide to a non-confidential resource will be relayed only as necessary to investigate and/or seek a resolution and to notify the Title IX Coordinator or designee, who is responsible under the law for tracking patterns and spotting systemic issues. SUNY Geneseo will limit the disclosure as much as possible, even if the Title IX Coordinator determines that the request for confidentiality cannot be honored.

 

Requesting Confidentiality: How SUNY Geneseo Will Weigh the Request and Respond:

 

If you disclose an incident to a SUNY Geneseo employee who is responsible for responding to or reporting sexual violence or sexual harassment, but wish to maintain confidentiality or do not consent to the institution’s request to initiate an investigation, the Title IX Coordinator must weigh your request against our obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all members of our community, including you.

 

We will assist you with academic, housing, transportation, employment, and other reasonable and available accommodations regardless of your reporting choices. While reporting individuals may request accommodations through several college offices, the Title IX Coordinator (585-245-5023) can serve as a primary point of contact to assist with these measures. We also may take proactive steps, such as training or awareness efforts, to combat sexual violence in a general way that does not identify you or the situation you disclosed.

 

We may seek consent from you prior to conducting an investigation. You may decline to consent to an investigation, and that determination will be honored unless SUNY Geneseo’s failure to act does not adequately mitigate the risk of harm to you or other members of the SUNY Geneseo community. Honoring your request may limit our ability to meaningfully investigate and pursue conduct action against an accused individual. If we determine that an investigation is required, we will notify you and take immediate action as necessary to protect and assist you.

 

When you disclose an incident to someone who is responsible for responding to or reporting sexual violence or sexual harassment, but wish to maintain confidentiality, SUNY Geneseo will consider many factors to determine whether to proceed despite that request. These factors include, but are not limited to:

  • whether the respondent (accused) has a history of violent behavior or is a repeat offender;
  • whether the incident represents escalation, such as a situation that previously involved sustained stalking,
  • whether there is increased risk that the accused will commit additional acts of violence;
  • whether the respondent (accused) used a weapon or force;
  • whether the reporting individual (survivor) is a minor; and
  • whether we possess other means to obtain evidence such as security footage, and whether the report reveals a pattern of perpetration at a given location or by a particular group.

If SUNY Geneseo determines that it must move forward with an investigation, the reporting individual (survivor) will be notified and SUNY Geneseo will take immediate action as necessary to protect and assist them.

 

Public Awareness/Advocacy Events:

If you disclose a situation through a public awareness event such as “Take Back the Night,” candlelight vigils, protests, student organization or other event or forum, or other public event, the SUNY Geneseo is not obligated to begin an investigation. SUNY Geneseo may use the information you provide to inform the need for additional education and prevention efforts.

 

Anonymous Disclosure:

Institutional Crime Reporting

Reports of certain crimes occurring in certain geographic locations will be included in the SUNY Geneseo Clery Act Annual Security Report in an anonymized manner that neither identifies the specifics of the crime or the identity of the reporting individual.

 

SUNY Geneseo is obligated to issue timely warnings of Clery Act crimes occurring within relevant geography that represent a serious or continuing threat to students and employees (subject to exceptions when potentially compromising law enforcement efforts and when the warning itself could potentially identify the reporting individual or victim/survivor).  A reporting individual will never be identified in a timely warning.

 

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act allows institutions to share information with parents when (1) there is a health or safety emergency, or (2) when the student is a dependent on either parent’s prior year federal income tax return.  Generally, SUNY Geneseo will not share information about a report of sexual violence with parents without the permission of the reporting individual or the respondent.

 

Approved by Cabinet

January 27, 2015

Revised July 23, 2015

Revised March 18, 2018