Preventing and Responding to Sexual Assault
What to do if you or someone you know has been sexually asssaulted.
GET TO A SAFE PLACE
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, the first priority is to get to a safe location.
CONTACT THE POLICE
It is recommended that the police be contacted as soon as possible following a sexual assault. Contacting the police does not commit or obligate the survivor to having the assault investigated or prosecuted. The survivor can make that choice later. Nor will contacting the police subject the survivor to scrutiny or judgmental opinions from officers. Rather, contacting the police will:
- ensure that a survivor of sexual assault receives the necessary medical treatment, tests and prophylactic care (including for sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, if desired), at no expense to the survivor;
- if the assault occurred within the past 120 hours, provide the opportunity for collection and preservation of evidence in the event the survivor decides to pursue prosecution (ideally a survivor should not wash, douche, use the toilet, or change clothing prior to a medical exam); and
- assure the survivor has access to free, confidential advocates specifically trained in the area of sexual assault crisis intervention and support.
For on-campus assaults, contact the University Police Department at 911 or 706-542-2200.
For off-campus assaults in Athens, contact the Athens-Clarke County Police Department by calling 911 or 706-613-3330.
For off-campus assaults on the Griffin, Tifton or Gwinnett campuses, contact the following:
- The Griffin Campus – Contact the City of Griffin Police Department by calling 911 or 770-229-6450.
- The Gwinnett Campus – Contact the Gwinnett County Police Department by calling 911 or 770-513-5000.
- The Tifton Campus – Contact the City of Tifton Police Department at 911 or 229-382-3132.
For off-campus assaults outside of Athens-Clarke County, contact local law enforcement for the relevant jurisdiction.
OBTAIN MEDICAL CARE
Whether or not the police are called, the survivor is encouraged to obtain medical treatment. Medical providers in the Athens, Georgia area include:
University of Georgia’s Health Center
55 Carlton Street (intersection of East Campus and College Station Roads)
Athens, Georgia 30602
University of Georgia’s Women’s Clinic
55 Carlton Street (intersection of East Campus and College Station Roads)
Athens, Georgia 30602
St. Mary’s Hospital
1230 Baxter Street
Athens, Georgia 30606
Athens Regional Medical Center
1199 Prince Avenue
Athens, Georgia 30606
Athens-Clarke County Health Department
345 North Harris Street
Athens, Georgia 30601
If the assault occurred within the past 120 hours, the medical establishments listed above can refer the survivor to the Athens-Clarke County Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program, which is a volunteer group of specially trained, registered nurses who conduct sexual assault forensic examinations and evidence collection. SANE exams are free and are usually conducted at the Family Protection Center, 3035 Lexington Road, Athens, Georgia, 30605, which is a comfortable, private and non-stressful setting for the survivor and any support persons accompanying the survivor. A free SANE exam can also be arranged by contacting the UGA Police Department at 911 or 706-542-2200, or by contacting UGA's Sexual and Relationship Violence Prevention (RSVP) at 706-542-SAFE (706-542-7233), or by contacting The Cottage: Sexual Assault Center at 877-363-1912 (24-hour hotline).
CONNECT WITH COUNSELING AND SUPPORT RESOURCES
Sexual assault can be a very traumatic experience that may cause the survivor to experience a wide range of thoughts and emotions, even long after the assault occurs. There are multiple resources available both on and off-campus to support a survivor at any point in the aftermath of an assault, including during times of crisis.
24-Hour (University Community) Confidential and FREE Support Services:
- Relationship & Sexual Violence Prevention (RSVP) - 706-542-SAFE
- Counseling & Psychiatric Services (CAPS) - emergencies - 706-542-2200
Additional UGA resources:
University Health Center
- Women's Clinic- medical treatment - 706-542-8695
- Counseling & Psychiatric Services (CAPS) - short term counseling - 706-542-2273
Members of the following UGA offices are designated as confidential support employees for incidents and allegations of sexual assault. Absent circumstances indicating an imminent threat of harm to an individual member of the University Community or the University Community as a whole, these confidential support employees are not required to disclose information that identifies a sexual assault survivor or third party complainant:
- Office of Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention (RSVP)
- Student Support Services
- University Ombudspersons
RSVP advocates can provide emotional support, safety planning and crisis intervention, coordination with medical services for emergency care, testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and emergency contraception, academic and housing accommodations.
RSVP advocates can accompany a survivor for treatment and discuss options 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. The RSVP hotline is 706-542-SAFE (7233). RSVP services are free and confidential. RSVP advocates serve all student survivors regardless of age, gender or sexual orientation. This office located on the first floor of the University Health Center.
Provides individualized assistance to students experiencing hardship circumstances.
Designated individuals who serve as independent, neutral, and informal resources for UGA students, faculty, and staff.
Additional support services through Athens Area resources:
- The Cottage: Sexual Assault Center
- Project Safe
24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (706) 353-1912
Offers a confidential 24-hour crisis and information hotline, crisis counseling, medical and legal advocacy, counseling referrals for survivors of sexual assault, support for secondary survivors (friends and family members of sexual assault survivors)
24-Hour Hotline: (706) 543-3331
Offers 24-hour confidential information and domestic violence services
NOTIFY THE EQUAL OPPORTUNITY OFFICE/TITLE IX COORDINATOR
All University Community members are strongly encouraged to report incidents or allegations of sexual assault within the University Community to the Equal Opportunity Office/Title IX Coordinator. Community members who are responsible employees or in positions of authority are required to report. The Equal Opportunity Office/Title IX Coordinator is, in turn, responsible for stopping the assaultive conduct if it is on-going; ensuring the survivor is aware of and has access to assistance and support resources; remedying, to the extent possible, the effects of the assault; and preventing recurrence. The EOO will also conduct impartial and timely investigations into incidents and allegations of sexual violence within the University Community under the University System of Georgia’s Sexual Misconduct Policy and the University’s Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment (NDAH) Policy.
PREVENTION AND TRAINING ARE OFFERED THROUGH THE FOLLOWING UGA CAMPUS RESOURCES:
Equal Opportunity Office staff members are available to provide training upon request to any University department or student, faculty or employee group. Established training modules include:
- Introduction to the Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment (NDAH) Policy
- Understanding sexual consent at UGA
- UGA's sexual assault response protocol for University employees
- What to do if you, or someone you know, has been sexually assaulted
- Other NDAH-related topics upon request
The University Health Center/Health Promotion Department provides comprehensive interpersonal violence prevention, education and 24-7 advocacy support services to all UGA students, including the following programs:
- Haven - The Health Promotion Department administers Haven, the required online interpersonal violence prevention program which all incoming first-year and transfer students take prior to their arrival on campus. In addition, incoming students and parents who participate in summer orientation attend interactive sessions facilitated by staff from the Health Promotion Department that cover risk reduction strategies and resources available to students on campus.
- Watch Dawgs - Once students arrive on campus in the Fall, there are many opportunities to participate in the Watch Dawgs active bystander intervention training programs. Watch Dawgs empowers students to recognize and prevent potentially risky situations, including interpersonal violence and alcohol poisoning. Students get to role play real-life scenarios with their peers and learn effective ways to intervene and get help for community members who might be at risk while also learning about campus resources available for support.
- Other Programs and Educational Opportunities - Other programs are offered throughout the year, including large-scale presentations with nationally recognized guest presenters or targeted campus programming, such as the Health Center’s “Healthy at Home” a collaboration with University Housing. Programs are tailored to specific populations on campus and designed to raise awareness on multiple topics, including: sexual assault, relationship violence, consent, what is a healthy relationship, how to be an active bystander, how to navigate downtown Athens, and the University’s famous “do it sober” campaign. The RSVP office also offers interpersonal violence education and training programs tailored to specific group needs and content areas upon request. In addition, the RSVP Peer Education program has a group of trained student volunteers who assist the RSVP office in implementing educational programs on campus, including awareness-building campaigns and outreach initiatives such as the annual “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event. Students who want to become an RSVP peer educator can call the Health Promotion Office at 706-542-8690.
Awareness programs include community-wide or audience-specific programming, initiatives, and strategies that increase audience knowledge and share information and resources to prevent violence, promote safety, and reduce perpetration. Primary prevention programs include programming, initiatives, and strategies informed by research that are intended to stop dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking before it occurs through the promotion of positive and healthy behaviors and beliefs. Efforts to change behavior and shift cultural norms and/or social norms related to bystander inaction and promote healthy relationships are examples of primary prevention.
Ongoing prevention and awareness campaigns include programming, initiatives, and strategies that are sustained over time and focus on increasing understanding of topics relevant to and skills for addressing dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, using a range of strategies with audiences throughout the institution.
Active Bystander Intervention refers to safe and positive options that may be carried out by an individual or individuals to prevent harm or intervene in situations when there is a risk of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. Watch Dawgs is an active bystander intervention training program for UGA students which prepares participants to recognize potential harmful situations, identify safe and effective intervention options and develop skills to take action.
Risk reduction strategies explore options to decrease perpetration and bystander inaction, and to increase empowerment for victims in order to promote safety and to help individuals and communities address conditions that facilitate violence.
The UGA Police Department educates the student community about sexual assaults and date rape through mandatory freshman orientations each fall. UGA Police also offers sexual assault education and information programs to University students and employees upon request. These classes include Personal Safety for Women, Safety in the Workplace, Safety on Campus and General Safety.
SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION
The Georgia Sex Offender Registry allows for the search of sex offenders by name, address and several other identifiers/methods. The registry also designates sexual offenders as Sexually Dangerous Predators and Absconders based on their histories and allows for searches in these categories as well. The link to the Georgia Sex Offender Registry can be found on the University of Georgia Police Department web site and at: http://gbi.georgia.gov/georgia-sex-offender-registry
CERTAIN TERMS DEFINED
There are numerous terms used by the University of Georgia in its policies and procedures with respect to sexual assault and other crimes of gender-based violence. These terms are defined by reference to Georgia law in many instances, and may vary from the definitions provided later in this report in relation to crime reporting under the Clery Act.
Consent is defined by the University System of Georgia as words or actions that show a knowing and voluntary willingness to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity. Consent cannot be gained by force, intimidation or coercion, by ignoring or acting in spite of objections of another, or by taking advantage of the incapacitation of another, where the respondent knows or reasonably should have known of such incapacitation. Consent is also absent when the activity in question exceeds the scope of consent previously given. Past consent does not imply present or future consent. Silence or an absence of resistance does not imply consent. Minors under the age of 16 cannot legally consent under Georgia law.
The State of Georgia defines “without consent” under O.C.G.A. §16-1-3(19) as a circumstance in which a person whose concurrence is required has not, with knowledge of the essential facts, voluntarily yielded to the proposal of the accused or of another.
Sexual Assault includes a number of different offenses meeting the definition of rape, fondling, incest, or statutory rape as used in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting system. A sex offense is any act directed against another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent.
In Georgia, there is no definition for the general term of Sexual Assault as it is used in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting system. Sex offenses are defined individually in the Official Code of Georgia. However, the University System of Georgia defines Sexual Assault as an umbrella term referring to a range of non-consensual sexual contact, which can occur in many forms, including but not limited to, rape and sexual battery. Georgia law does define “sexual assault” in a narrower context at O.C.G.A. §16-6-5.1 as sexual contact that is perpetrated by a person who has supervisory or disciplinary authority over another individual.
Rape is defined in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting system as the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.
The State of Georgia defines “rape” under O.C.G.A. §16-6-1 as follows: A person commits the offense of rape when he has carnal knowledge of:
(1) A female forcibly and against her will; or
(2) A female who is less than ten years of age.
Carnal knowledge in rape occurs when there is any penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ. The fact that the person allegedly raped is the wife of the defendant shall not be a defense to a charge of rape.
Rape is punishable by death, life imprisonment with or without parole, or a minimum of 25 years imprisonment, followed by probation for life.
Fondling is defined in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting system as touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental incapacity.
The State of Georgia defines fondling (Sexual Battery) under O.C.G.A. §16-6-22.1 as follows:
(a) For the purposes of this Code section, the term “intimate parts” means the primary genital area, anus, groin, inner thighs, or buttocks of a male or female and the breasts of a female.
(b) A person commits the offense of sexual battery when he or she intentionally makes physical contact with the intimate parts of the body of another person without the consent of that person.
Incest is defined in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting system as non-forcible sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
The State of Georgia defines incest under O.C.G.A. §16-6-22 as follows:
A person commits the offense of incest when such person engages in sexual intercourse or sodomy, as such term is defined in Code Section 16-6-2, with a person whom he or she knows he or she is related to either by blood or by marriage as follows: (1) Father and child or stepchild; (2) Mother and child or stepchild; (3) Siblings of the whole blood or of the half blood; (4) Grandparent and grandchild; (5) Aunt and niece or nephew; or (6) Uncle and niece or nephew.
Statutory Rape is defined in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting system as non-forcible sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.
The State of Georgia defines Statutory Rape under O.C.G.A. §16-6-3 as follows:
A person commits the offense of statutory rape when he or she engages in sexual intercourse with any person under the age of 16 years and not his or her spouse, provided that no conviction shall be had for this offense on the unsupported testimony of the victim.
Domestic Violence includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred.
The State of Georgia does not have any specific law regarding Domestic Violence. If a crime of battery occurs and the elements listed in the above definition exist regarding the relationship between the perpetrator and the victim, then it is indicated on the arrest warrant.
Dating Violence means violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and where the existence of such relationship shall be based on the reporting party’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
The State of Georgia does not have any specific law regarding Dating Violence. If a crime of battery occurs and the elements listed in the above definition exist regarding the relationship between the perpetrator and the victim, then it is indicated on the arrest warrant.
Stalking is defined as engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to:
- Fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others; or
- Suffer substantial emotional distress.
For the purposes of this definition—
- Course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property.
- Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim.
- Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
The State of Georgia defines Stalking under O.C.G.A §16-5-90 as follows:
(1) A person commits the offense of stalking when he or she follows, places under surveillance, or contacts another person at or about a place or places without the consent of the other person for the purpose of harassing and intimidating the other person. For the purpose of this article, the terms "computer" and "computer network" shall have the same meanings as set out in Code Section 16-9-92; the term "contact" shall mean any communication including without being limited to communication in person, by telephone, by mail, by broadcast, by computer, by computer network, or by any other electronic device; and the place or places that contact by telephone, mail, broadcast, computer, computer network, or any other electronic device is deemed to occur shall be the place or places where such communication is received. For the purpose of this article, the term "place or places" shall include any public or private property occupied by the victim other than the residence of the defendant. For the purposes of this article, the term "harassing and intimidating" means a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person which causes emotional distress by placing such person in reasonable fear for such person's safety or the safety of a member of his or her immediate family, by establishing a pattern of harassing and intimidating behavior, and which serves no legitimate purpose. This Code section shall not be construed to require that an overt threat of death or bodily injury has been made.
(2) A person commits the offense of stalking when such person, in violation of a bond to keep the peace posted pursuant to Code Section 17-6-110, standing order issued under Code Section 19-1-1, temporary restraining order, temporary protective order, permanent restraining order, permanent protective order, preliminary injunction, or permanent injunction or condition of pretrial release, condition of probation, or condition of parole in effect prohibiting the harassment or intimidation of another person, broadcasts or publishes, including electronic publication, the picture, name, address, or phone number of a person for whose benefit the bond, order, or condition was made and without such person's consent in such a manner that causes other persons to harass or intimidate such person and the person making the broadcast or publication knew or had reason to believe that such broadcast or publication would cause such person to be harassed or intimidated by others.