What to do if you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted
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. Confidential advocates can be reached by calling 706‑542‑SAFE.
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:
- Griffin Campus – Contact the City of Griffin Police Department by calling 911 or 770‑229‑6450.
- Gwinnett Campus – Contact the Gwinnett County Police Department by calling 911 or 770‑513‑5000.
- Tifton Campus – Contact the Police Department of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, which borders the UGA Tifton Campus, at 229-391-5060 or 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
Piedmont 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’s (RSVP) 24-hour hotline at 706-542-SAFE (706-542-7233), or by contacting The Cottage: Sexual Assault Center at 877-363-1912 (24-hour hotline).
Medical providers in the Griffin, Georgia, area include:
Spalding Regional Hospital
601 South 8th Street
Griffin, Georgia 30224
Medical Providers in Gwinnett County, Georgia, include:
Gwinnett Medical Center – Northside Hospital Gwinnett
1000 Medical Center Boulevard
Lawrenceville, Georgia 30046
Medical Providers in the Tifton, Georgia, area include:
Tift Regional Medical Center
901 East 18th Street
Tifton, Georgia 31794
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 (706-542-7233)
- Counseling & Psychiatric Services (CAPS) — emergencies — 706‑542‑2200 (ask for the CAPS on-call clinician)
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)
The RSVP office offers 24-hour, free, and confidential advocacy support to student survivors of interpersonal violence. 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, as well as coordination of academic and housing accommodations. RSVP also offers counseling services and a free survivor support group. RSVP advocates can accompany a survivor for treatment, formal reporting, 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 is located on the first floor of the University Health Center. More information can be found at www.uhs.uga.edu/rsvp/rsvp-intro.
- Student Care and Outreach
Provides individualized assistance to students experiencing hardship circumstances. More information can be found online.
- University Ombudspersons
Designated individuals who serve as independent, neutral, and informal resources for UGA students, faculty, and staff. More information can be found online.
Additional support services through Athens Area resources:
- The Cottage: Sexual Assault Center
24-Hour Crisis Hotline: 706‑353‑1912 (local), 877‑363‑1912 (toll-free)
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).
- Project Safe
24-Hour Hotline: 706‑543‑3331
Offers 24-hour confidential information and domestic violence services.
A list of the above and other resources can be found in the Campus & Community Resources section of the Equal Opportunity Office website.
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.
Sexual Misconduct Disciplinary Procedures
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 Student Sexual Misconduct Policy, the University System of Georgia’s Human Resources Administrative Practice Manual Policy to Prohibit Discrimination & Harassment, the University’s Code of Conduct, and the University’s Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment (NDAH) Policy. While the EOO investigates all allegations of sexual misconduct, the procedures governing resolution of matters and appeals differ based on whether the respondent is a student or a faculty or staff member.
Procedures for Student Respondents
Allegations of sexual misconduct, including allegations of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, against a student are investigated by the EOO. An investigation may result in an informal or formal resolution, or result in a determination that insufficient evidence exists to proceed. In the case of a formal resolution, the matter is heard by a three-person panel made up of University faculty and staff.
All investigations conducted by the EOO concerning sexual misconduct by a University of Georgia student will be prompt, fair, and impartial. The standard of proof utilized in these cases is a preponderance of
the evidence. Preponderance of the evidence, as an evidentiary standard, means that it is more likely than not the alleged violation of policy occurred. All investigations and hearings of possible student sexual misconduct, including appeal processes, are carried out by University employees who have received annual training on issues related to sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking, with such training covering how to conduct a sexual misconduct investigation, resolution of investigations (including the hearing process when applicable), and the appeal process, in each case focusing on protecting the safety of victims, maintaining fairness/impartiality for accused individuals, and promoting student accountability.
Potential violations or individuals reported to the EOO are investigated per the procedures found in the University System of Georgia’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, the Code of Conduct, and/or the NDAH Policy.
Due process rights of the victim and accused individual are observed throughout the course of the investigation, resolution, and appeal of an allegation of sexual misconduct. If it is determined that a violation of policy has occurred, disciplinary action may be taken, up to and including the expulsion of the offender. The severity of any disciplinary action will depend on the frequency or severity of the offense and the history of past misconduct by the accused. For more information, see the Code of Conduct and the University System of Georgia’s Sexual Misconduct Policy.
Procedures for Faculty and Staff Respondents
Allegations of sexual misconduct against a University faculty or staff member are investigated by the EOO in accordance with the University System of Georgia’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, the University System of Georgia’s Human Resources Administrative Practice Manual Policy on Discrimination & Harassment, and the University’s Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy. Following its investigation, allegations that could meet the definition of Title IX sexual harassment are heard by a three-person panel made up of University faculty and staff in accordance with the University System of Georgia Human Resources Administrative Practice Manual Policy on Discrimination and Harassment. If the allegations do not meet the definition of Title IX sexual harassment, the investigation concludes and EOO will make a finding as to whether a violation has occurred or not in accordance with the Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy.
All investigations and hearings concerning sexual misconduct by a University of Georgia faculty or staff member will be prompt, fair, and impartial, and shall be conducted by University employees who have received annual training on issues related to sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking, with such training covering how to conduct a sexual misconduct investigation, resolution of investigations (including the hearing process when applicable), and the appeal process, in each case focusing on protecting the safety of victims, maintaining fairness/impartiality for accused individuals, and promoting employee accountability.
Faculty or staff investigation and hearing procedures will determine findings of fact using the preponderance of the evidence standard, which means that it is more likely than not that a violation of University policy has occurred. If it is determined that a violation of policy has occurred, disciplinary action may be taken, up to and including termination of employment. The severity of any disciplinary action will depend on the frequency or severity of the offense and the history of past misconduct by the employee.
Additional Procedures for all Sexual Misconduct Proceedings
Advisors. Both parties to a proceeding under the University’s sexual misconduct policy shall have the opportunity to use an advisor (who may or may not be an attorney) of the party’s choosing at the party’s own expense for the express purpose of providing advice and counsel. Unless a proceeding is adjudicating allegations of Title IX sexual harassment, an advisor to a party may not participate directly during interviews or hearings nor may the advisor be a witness during the investigation process, but the advisor may be present and advise the party in any manner, including providing questions, suggestions, and guidance on responses to any questions posed to the party. In proceedings adjudicating allegations of the Title IX sexual harassment, advisors are required to participate directly solely to conduct cross-examination during the formal hearing stage of the proceeding. Advisors are not otherwise permitted to directly participate in a proceeding adjudicating allegations of Title IX sexual harassment. If a party does not have an advisor to conduct such cross-examination, the University will provide an advisor for this limited purpose.
Interim Measures. Interim measures may be issued by the Director for Student Conduct, Title IX Coordinator, or a designee, at any point after the University becomes aware of an allegation of misconduct in order to protect any alleged victim and/or the University community. Interim measures may include, but are not limited to:
- Change of housing assignment;
- Issuance of a mutual “no contact” directive;
- Restrictions or bars to entering certain University property;
- Changes to academic or employment arrangements, schedules, or supervision;
- Interim suspension;
- Withholding graduation or degree conferral; and
- Other measures designed to promote the safety and well-being of the parties and University community.
Notification. In accordance with federal law, each of the University System of Georgia’s Student Sexual Misconduct Policy, the University’s Code of Conduct, and the NDAH Policy provide that in the case of allegations of sexual misconduct, each party to the matter shall receive simultaneous notification of the results of such matter, the appeals process, any change in the result of such matter and when such results become final.
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
- Introduction to the Sexual Misconduct 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
To schedule a training, please contact the EOO at firstname.lastname@example.org or 706‑542‑7912.
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:
SAPU (sexual assault prevention for universities) — The Health Promotion Department administers SAPU, the required online interpersonal violence prevention program that 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 and in the Athens community.
UMatter — Once students arrive on campus in the Fall, there are many opportunities to participate in the UMatter upstander intervention training programs. UMatter empowers students to recognize and prevent potentially risky situations, including relationship violence, sexual assault, and alcohol poisoning. Students get to role play real-life scenarios with their peers and learn effective ways to intervene and get help for peers 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. Programs are tailored to specific populations on campus, and topics include but are not limited to: sexual assault prevention, relationship/dating violence prevention, consent, healthy relationships, supporting survivors/how to help a friend, and how to be an active upstander. 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 peer educators who assist the RSVP office in implementing educational programs on campus, including awareness- building campaigns and outreach initiatives. Students who want to become an RSVP peer educator can call the Health Promotion Office at 706-542-8690.
The UGA Police Department provides information about sexual assault, date rape, and other crime prevention information to students and parents during first year orientation sessions each summer. UGA Police also offers sexual assault and other educational information on their website. In addition, the Police Department provides talks and presentations on related topics upon request.
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 website 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.
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. Consent can be withdrawn at any time by either party using clear words or actions. 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 refers to Sexual Assault by the term “sexual misconduct” and defines it 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 anybody 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:
- A female forcibly and against her will; or
- 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 of the whole blood or of the half blood; (5) Aunt and niece or nephew of the whole blood or of the half blood; or (6) Uncle and niece or nephew of the whole blood or of the half blood.
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.
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. The University System of Georgia defines Domestic Violence as “violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the alleged victim; by a person with whom the alleged victim shares a child in common; by a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the alleged victim.”
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. The University System of Georgia defines Dating Violence as “violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the alleged victim. Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.”
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 14 §16‑5‑90 as follows:
- 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.
- 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.