Resources for Family and Friends
It can be difficult to know how to respond when someone tells you they have been impacted by sexual misconduct, especially when that person is a friend or family member. The most important thing you can do is listen non-judgmentally and take the information seriously. It is also crucial for you to continue to take care of yourself while helping connect your friend or family member to support resources.
We have compiled a few commonly asked questions for those supporting someone impacted by sexual violence, whether the person they are supporting has experienced misconduct or is responding to an accusation of misconduct:
- Title IX staff can discuss the general investigation process and office services with family members or friends. Title IX office staff cannot provide information about a specific investigation or complaint of sexual misconduct without explicit written permission from the individual involved, due to FERPA (Family Rights and Privacy Act) regulations. Visit this website for more information about FERPA.
- Do not try to gather information or investigate the situation on behalf of your friend or family member.
- Avoid contacting the other involved parties as efforts to do so may appear retaliatory even if that is not your intent.
- Your friend or family member may choose to simultaneously pursue the Colleges' investigation process for an alleged violation of the HWS Sexual Misconduct Policy AND a criminal, law-enforcement process. However, the Colleges' process and procedure for determining if the Sexual Misconduct Policy has been violated is not, in and of itself, a criminal proceeding. The Sexual Misconduct Policy reaffirms the Colleges' values and expectations of behavior as outlined by Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972, Clery Act, and VAWA.
For additional resources on how to support a survivor of sexual misconduct, visit this Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network webpage.