What should I do if someone tells me they are a victim of sexual misconduct?

Offer support

If someone comes to you for help, recognize that he or she might be struggling with painful feelings such as anger, fear, denial, or embarrassment. Provide support and give assurance that campus resources are available to help. Offer to assist in accessing University resources such as SARC and the Title IX Coordinator.

Maintain confidentiality

Maintain an appropriate level of discretion in all of your interactions with others. Campus employees may not guarantee complete confidentiality, because they are obligated by University policy and federal law to report information about sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator. However, communications about a student with persons other than University officials authorized to receive such information, including family members or friends, cannot occur without prior written permission of the student.

If you are a University employee, you must inform the Title IX Coordinator in the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action about any reports you receive about sexual misconduct involving students. The Title IX Coordinator will contact the victim with information about supportive resources and the University investigative process. If the victim does not want to be contacted by the Title IX Coordinator, the Title IX Coordinator will work with you to ensure that the victim knows about available resources.

Inform the victim of available resources and reporting options

The Student Advocacy Resource Center (SARC) provides free and confidential peer counseling and crisis intervention to student survivors of sexual and relationship violence, as well as support and information for their family and friends. Services are available to survivors at all stages of recovery, from initial crisis-intervention to healing, through support groups and peer counseling. SARC is dedicated to working to remove barriers that keep individuals from seeking services and informing survivors of all of their options while supporting them to make whatever decisions are right for the individual.

The First STEP Resource Center at Providence St. Patrick Hospital offers specially trained nurses or nurse practitioners who meet clients/assault victims at a private, safe clinic. First STEP offers a comprehensive medical assessment, evidence collection, lab tests and medication as needed, and education/information. First STEP provides on-site access to community advocates and law enforcement as requested. DNA evidence may be collected up to five (5) days after a sexual assault but is most likely to yield positive results the sooner it is collected. Evidence can be stored for up to a year while a survivor decides whether to pursue criminal charges.

City and county law enforcement officers as well as UM Police Department officers are available 24 hours a day to respond to emergency and nonemergency calls about sexual assaults. In cases of sexual assault, officers can explain the options for medical exams, counseling, advocacy, and reporting assaults as crimes; officers will ask if the survivors want advocates present to help them understand the proceedings. These departments are responsible for all criminal investigations and can answer questions about the legal process.

In order for the University to appropriately respond to instances of sexual misconduct involving students, the Title IX Coordinator must be informed about the incident. The Title IX Coordinator will help with interim measures to ensure that a survivor is safe on campus and obtains any assistance needed to ensure continued productive access to educational programs. The Title IX Coordinator will also provide additional information about options for pursuing a University investigation against a student or employee, as well as options for reporting to local law enforcement.

Contact the Title IX Coordinator if you need more information

The Title IX Coordinator in the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action can assist you in helping and supporting the victim. If you are unsure how to proceed, please call 243-5710 or write to eoaa@umontana.edu for guidance.