There are currently several ways to report incidents of interpersonal violence to local law enforcement or to the university. Students may pursue criminal charges with the police in addition to, or instead of, pursuing cases through a University process. The University encourages students to contact the police and pursue criminal charges and will assist students with that decision.
Any student who wishes to contact the police about a sexual assault should call 911. The University’s Department of Public Safety officers are trained to assist students who experience sexual assault. If the incident occurred off campus, officers will connect the student to the police department or law enforcement agency in the correct jurisdiction. The Student Complaint Coordinator/Deputy Title IX Officer (Ew Quimbaya-Winship) can guide students through the process of pursuing criminal charges.
We know that many students experience sexual assault, abusive relationships, and stalking each year but that few report these incidents to the Police – the US Department of Justice estimates that about 40% of sexual assaults/rapes are reported to the police. At UNC, our Department of Public Safety’s officers are trained to help individuals who experience interpersonal violence. For some survivors, it is challenging to share the specific details of an incident of interpersonal violence, and not everyone feels comfortable reporting the incident to the Police as it requires telling intimate details to a stranger. The Department will do its best to support you and help you determine the best course of action when a crime has occurred. Sexual assault, stalking, and abuse are crimes! If the incident took place off-campus, the Department will help connect you to the correct jurisdiction, such as Chapel Hill or Carrboro Police Department, in order to report the incident. Their officers are also trained to support you.
The LGBTQ Center provides ongoing training and consultation to the Department of Public Safety. If you’re concerned about coming forward because of your sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression (or that of the person who hurt you), you can reach out to the LGBTQ Center or Project Rainbow Net for support. LGBTQ Center staff is available to you to help you navigate the legal reporting process and services if needed.
According to the Federal Legislation known as the Clery Act law, UNC Public Safety police officers must necessarily investigate all reports of violence crime – including sexual offenses – to rule out the potential for an imminent, ongoing threat to the campus community. This includes any sexual offense reported to other agencies (Student Affairs, Campus Health Services, etc.) which comes to the attention of UNC Public Safety.
Beyond that, victims of sexual crimes are under no obligation to contribute to an investigation. If the victim does wish officers to pursue an investigation and potential prosecution, a “blind” incident report will be filed. Neither the victim’s name nor any identifying information will appear in this document. Public Safety officers also make the reporting party aware of of the numerous campus and community resources available to victims of violent crimes.
If there is sufficient evidence to bring a case (charge) against the person who hurt you, the Department of Public Safety will conduct a full investigation and work closely with the District Attorney’s office to coordinate a criminal case against the suspect. In cases of stalking, abusive relationships, and sexual assault, the case often relies on victim/survivor’s testimony, which means that your cooperation is vital.
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Reporting to UNC