MORE ABOUT REPORTING AND LAWS
8 THINGS TO KNOW
1. Title IX is a landmark federal civil right that prohibits sex discrimination in education. Title IX is not just about sports; it is a prohibition against sex-based discrimination in education. It addresses discrimination against pregnant and parenting students and women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs. It also addresses sexual harassment, gender-based discrimination, and sexual violence. Sexual violence includes attempted or completed rape or sexual assault, as well as sexual harassment, stalking, voyeurism, exhibitionism, verbal or physical sexuality-based threats or abuse, and intimate partner violence.
2. Title IX does not apply to female students only. Title IX protects any person from sex-based discrimination, regardless of their real or perceived sex, gender identity, and/or gender expression. Female, male, and gender non-conforming students, faculty, and staff are protected from any sex-based discrimination, harassment or violence.
3. CSU is required be proactive in ensuring that your campus is free of sex discrimination. You are protected under Title IX even if you do not experience sex discrimination directly. Schools must take immediate steps to address any sex discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual violence on campus to prevent it from affecting students further. If a school knows or reasonably should know about discrimination, harassment or violence that is creating a “hostile environment” for any student, it must act to eliminate it, remedy the harm caused and prevent its recurrence. Schools may not discourage survivors from continuing their education, such as telling them to “take time off” or forcing them to quit a team, club or class. You have the right to remain on campus and have every educational program and opportunity available to you. The advocates at the WGAC can help provide options to you if you feel that you are experiencing sexual discrimination at CSU.
4. CSU has an established procedure for handling complaints of sex discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual violence. Every school must have a Title IX Coordinator who manages complaints. At CSU that coordination happens in the office of Support and Safety Assessment. If you decide to file a report, CSU will investigate it regardless of whether you report to the police (though a police investigation may very briefly delay the school’s investigation if law enforcement is gathering evidence). A school may not wait for the conclusion of a criminal proceeding and should conclude its own investigation within a semester’s time (the 2011 Office for Civil Rights Title IX guidance proposes 60 days as an appropriate time-frame). CSU uses a “preponderance of the evidence” standard to determine the outcome of a report, meaning discipline should result if it is more likely than not that discrimination, harassment and/or violence occurred. The final decision will be provided to you and the accused in writing. Both of you have the right to appeal the decision.
5. CSU can take action to ensure a victim can continue their education free of ongoing sex discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual violence. Along with issuing a no contact directive to the accused, CSU works to ensure that any reasonable accommodations be made. For a list of possible accommodations you can go to Support and Safety Assessment and scroll to the middle of the page. You can also work with a WGAC advocate to take about what accommodations might be right for your situation. These arrangements can occur BEFORE a formal report, investigation, hearing, or final decision is made regarding your report. It also can CONTINUE after the entire process since you have a right to an education free of sex-based discrimination, harassment or violence. Additionally, these accommodations should not over-burden victim or limit your educational opportunities; instead, schools can require the accused to likewise change some school activities or classes to ensure there is not ongoing hostile educational environment. Finally, if there are costs associated with your accommodations you can work with a WGAC advocate to seek out options reducing/eliminating some of those costs.
6. Title IX protects against retaliation from someone filing a complaint and must keep a victim safe from other retaliatory harassment or behavior. Schools must address complaints of sex discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual violence. As part of this obligation they can issue a no contact directive or make other accommodations to ensure the accused or a third party does not retaliate for any complaint. Additionally, the school may not take adverse action against the victim for their report. If you feel like you are being retaliated against at CSU you can work with the confidential advocates at the WGAC, or talk to the Office of Support and Safety Assessment.
8. In cases of sexual violence, Title IX prohibits school from encouraging or allowing mediation (rather than a formal hearing) of the complaint. However, they may still offer such an alternative process for other types of complaints, such as sexual harassment. The WGAC advocates are an excellent confidential resource for you to talk about your options in this process.
This page has been adapted from Know Your IX’s website. For more information about Title IX go to Know Your IX
The Clery Act was named after Jeanne Clery, who was raped and murdered in her dorm room by a fellow student on April 5, 1986. Her parents championed the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act) in her memory. This Act is a federal law that requires colleges to report crimes that occur “on campus” and school safety policies. This information is available each year in an Annual Security Report (ASR), which can be found at the Colorado State University Police Department. The Clery Act also requires schools to have timely warning when there are known risks to public safety on campus.
The Clery Act also contains the Campus Sexual Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights, which requires colleges to disclose educational programming, campus disciplinary process, and victim rights regarding sexual violence complaints. The Clery Act was expanded in 2013 by the Campus SAVE Act, which broadened Clery requirements to address all incidents of sexual violence (sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.) For a more detailed explanation of survivors’ rights and universities’ obligations under Clery, check out The Clery Act in Detail.
WHAT IS A “TIMELY WARNING”?
Under the Clery Act, any time a crime has or is occurring that poses a serious or ongoing threat to the rest of the campus, the college must provide timely warnings in a way that is likely to reach every member of the campus community. This requires schools to assess the risk to public safety after an incident of sexual assault, stalking, or domestic or dating violence is reported. Often times, a stranger perpetrated sexual assault will trigger a timely warning. A school’s decision not to issue a timely warning is reviewable under the Clery Act by the U.S. Department of Education. At CSU these timely warnings can be delivered by emails, text messages, social media outlets, etc.
HOW DOES THE CLERY ACT HELP ME?
The Clery Act requires schools to explain their policies and procedures on campus in the wake of sexual assault, stalking, and dating or domestic violence. This should include who you may report such an incident to and what possible sanctions may be imposed as a result. It should also list available resources (such as available medical care, mental health resources and other support options either on campus or within the local community) to victims on or around campus, as well as inform you of your right to request reasonable accommodations on campus in the wake of sexual violence. Such an accommodation could include changing housing or an academic schedule to avoid seeing the accused student. To better understand the options at CSU click here, and scroll to the middle of the page. You also have several rights during campus disciplinary proceedings, such as being informed at every stage of the process, having the same rights as the accused to have an adviser present, to appeal a final decision, and to receive a final decision in writing at the same time as the accused. The advocates at the WGAC can provide support for navigating the various options available to you here at CSU.
Finally, the Act protects against retaliation, as does Title IX. Colleges cannot intimidate, threaten, coerce or discriminate against you for reporting either explicitly or implicitly. For example, no college employee may urge you not to file charges with police or a formal complaint with the school, your good academic standing or ability to graduate cannot be threatened, nor are you required to sign a non-disclosure agreement to get the results of a disciplinary hearing after you have made a formal report to the school. If you feel like you are being retaliated against at CSU you can work with the confidential advocates at the WGAC, or talk to the Office of Support and Safety Assessment.
This page has been adapted from Know Your IX’s website. For more information about the Clery Act and your rights go to Know Your IX.
The decision to report to the University is entirely up to the survivor. Support people should take care to really discuss the wishes of a survivor before encouraging/discouraging any type of report. Some survivors say that reporting and seeking justice helped them recover and regain a sense of control over their lives. Other survivors report feeling unheard and revictimized by reporting. Understanding how to report and learning more about the experience can take away some of the unknowns and help you feel more prepared.
HOW DO I REPORT INTERPERSONAL VIOLENCE TO THE UNIVERSITY?
You have the ability to report to the university when the perpetrator is affiliated with the University (student, employee, etc.). It is important to know that the offices below are not confidential resources. If you are looking to talk with a confidential resource you can meet with an advocate at the WGAC.
- If the perpetrator is a CSU student, you would contact the Office of Support and Safety Assessment at 970-491-7407. If you would like more information about Support and Safety Assessment, you can visit their website at www.supportandsafety.colostate.edu.
- If the perpetrator is not a CSU student but is a CSU employee, you would contact the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) at 970-491-5836. For more information about the Office of Equal Opportunity, you can visit www.oeo.colostate.edu.
- If you are not sure which one to contact, please feel free to talk with an advocate at the WGAC.
WHAT DOES THE PROCESS OF REPORTING LOOK LIKE?
- If the you choose to report to Support and Safety Assessment (SSA):
- After reporting to SSA an investigation will begin. Interim measures may be put in place during the investigation up until the outcome of the final hearing. Interim measures may include, but are not limited to, no contact orders, temporary suspension or campus expulsion. These measures are in place to protect you during the investigation process. The investigation usually takes about 30-60 days but can be shorter or longer that that time period.
- After the investigation takes place, the Student Resolution Center will receive the information gathered during the investigation and schedule a hearing date. A hearing is a one-on-one meeting where a conduct hearing officer will meet with the perpetrator (CSU’s process refers to perpetrators as responding parties). You have options in how you would like to participate in the hearing. The hearing officer or an advocate at the WGAC can help walk you through your options.
COMMON QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS ABOUT REPORTING
If you have questions or concerns about reporting, you are not alone.
If I report to the University, do I have to report to law enforcement? Reporting to the University and reporting to law enforcement are two different processes. The survivor can choose to report to one and not the other or can choose to not report. In some instances, the University and law enforcement may be required to share information. If you have additional question you can call an advocate at the WGAC.
Can I report to the university if the perpetrator is not affiliated with the university? The university has the ability to hold students, staff, faculty and University affiliates responsible. If the perpetrator is not affiliated with any universities, the survivor still has other reporting options outside of reporting to the university.
What is a mandatory report to the University? All CSU employees and volunteers including faculty, staff, and students acting in their employment or volunteer roles are designated as responsible employees and are required to report any violations or alleged violations of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, relationship violence, stalking, and retaliation involving students.
If it is a mandatory report, does that mean I have to participate in the investigation process? No, you do not have to participate in the reporting process if you prefer not to. The more information the University has about what occurred, the greater likelihood that the University can do something about the incidence of interpersonal violence. The University will move forward, if they can, with the information they have.
Will I have to be in the same room as the perpetrator during the process? No, you will not have to be in the same room as the perpetrator. During the conduct hearing you will have different options in how you would like to participate. None of the options require you to be in the same room as the perpetrator.
Will I be at risk for retaliation? CSU prohibits retaliation against individuals who engage in the protected activity of filing complaints of sexual harassment and sexual violence or who participate in complaint processes. Retaliatory action is regarded as a basis for a separate complaint under the University’s procedures and can lead to sanctions.
HOW CAN ADVOCATES AT THE WGAC HELP?
To learn more about your reporting options, contact an advocate at the WGAC who will walk you through the process of getting help.
At the WGAC, we can help all victims of interpersonal violence, regardless of their decision to report. If you chose not to report, you are still welcome to meet with one of our advocates, attend a support group, receive academic support and access any of our additional resources.
If you chose to report, our advocates can support you throughout the University reporting process, help navigate the process after reporting and accompany the victim throughout the proceedings.
The decision to report to law enforcement is entirely up to the survivor. Support people should take care to really discuss the wishes of a survivor before encouraging/discouraging any type of report. Some survivors say that reporting and seeking justice helped them recover and regain a sense of control over their lives. Other survivors report feeling unheard and revictimized by reporting. Understanding how to report and learning more about the experience can take away some of the unknowns and help you feel more prepared.
HOW DO I REPORT INTERPERSONAL VIOLENCE?
You have several options for reporting a crime:
- Call 911. If you are in immediate danger, dial 911. Help will come to you, wherever you are.
- Contact local the local police department. Call the direct line of your local police station or visit the station in person. In Fort Collins, there are several jurisdictions that a student may report to. If the assault happened on campus property, the report would go to CSU Police at 970-491-6425. If the assault happened in the city limits of Fort Collins, the report goes to Fort Collins Police at 970-221-6540. If the assault happened in Larimer County (outside Fort Collins) the report goes to the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office at 970-498-5100.
To learn more about the options in the CSU community contact an advocate at the WGAC who will walk you through the process of getting help. Should you chose to report to law enforcement they can help it be at your own pace.
At the WGAC, we can help all victims of interpersonal violence, regardless of their decision to report. If the victim chooses not to report, they will still be welcome to meet with one of our advocates, attend a support group, receive academic support and access any of our additional resources.
If the survivors chooses to report, our advocates can sit with the victim as they report to the police, help navigate the process after reporting and explain the paperwork, and accompany the victim throughout the court proceedings.
IS THERE A TIME LIMIT ON REPORTING TO THE POLICE?
In short, yes. This window of time you can report a crime is called the statute of limitations. In Colorado, if a person was under the age of 18 when the assault happened, there is no statute of limitations. If the survivor was over the age of 18, the statue of limitations is 10 years.
DO I HAVE TO REPORT TO GET SANE TEST DONE?
By law, you are not required to report to law enforcement in order to receive a sexual assault forensic exam, commonly referred to as a “rape kit.” In Colorado, exams can be collected in one of three ways, including anonymously.
COMMON CONCERNS ABOUT REPORTING
If you have questions or concerns about reporting, you’re not alone. Reporting an assault to police may seem like a natural step in resolving the issue. However, many sexual assault victims don’t make an official report. Sexual assault is one of the most under-reported crimes – less than 40% of sexual assaults are reported to law enforcement. The list below may have answers to some common questions that are on your mind.
I am confused about what happened. OR I blame myself for what happened. It is common to feel confused about what took place. Speaking to a confidential advocate can help to provide clarity of laws and whether or not what happened to you is reportable. Remember, consent is what is in question with sexual assault- the absence of a “no” does not mean that you did not experience assault.
I know the person who hurt me. On a college campus about 97% of survivors know their perpetrator. It can be unnerving to be violated by someone you know. Regardless of who perpetrator is, sexual assault is against the law. Sometimes survivors are struggling with whether or not they want the perpetrator to receive punishment or not. This is a common concern, and one that can complicate the decision to report or not. Additionally, acquaintance assaults on a college campus often happen within friend groups. Survivors can really struggle with the idea of their assault becoming public knowledge within their social circles.
I’ve been intimate with the perpetrator in the past, or am currently in a relationship with the perpetrator. Sexual assault can occur within a relationship. Giving someone consent in the past does not give them consent for any act in the future. If you did not consent, they acted against the law—and you can chose to report it. Additionally, dating violence is much more common on a college campus that you may think.
I have no physical injuries, and I’m worried there’s not enough proof. Most sexual assaults do not result in external physical injuries. It’s important to receive medical attention to check for internal injuries. You can also choose to have a sexual assault nurse exam (SANE) to check for DNA evidence that may not be visible on the surface.
I’m worried law enforcement won’t believe me. OR I have had a bad experience with police in the past. While there are exceptions, there has been an investment in police training on this topic. Many survivors find that just the act of reporting makes them feel like they did all they could, whether their case moves forward in the system or not. Speaking with a confidential advocate can sometimes help survivors to determine if reporting is right for them.
I don’t want to get in trouble. Sometimes minors are afraid of being disciplined, either by the law or by their parents, because they were doing something they shouldn’t have when the abuse occurred. For example, someone underage might have been consuming alcohol. It’s important to remember that sexual assault is a crime—no matter the circumstances. Nothing you did caused this to happen.
There may be cultural considerations that lead the victim to avoid the police at all costs. Lived experiences often help to formulate people’s willingness to involve police. Some cultures believe that these matters need to be handled within the family. Some survivors may be afraid of their family finding out through the reporting process. Some survivors may have historical issues with being mistreated by police authority. This is a complicated and complex decision it can help to talk to a confidential resource to seek support in making a decision around reporting.
The perpetrator got scared away or stopped before finishing the assault. Attempted rape is a serious crime and can be reported. Reports of attempted rape and other assault are taken seriously.
An Order of Protection (also commonly known as a Restraining Order) is a court order intended to prevent a person (the defendant) who has been committing acts of violence or threatening another person or persons from committing further acts of assault or threatening behavior. It legally restricts the defendant from any contact with the victim (plaintiff), including physical contact (within a specified distance) from where the plaintiff lives, works, goes to school, or spends time. In addition, the defendant is restricted from contacting the plaintiff over the phone, letter, email, through a third party, etc. The unfortunate reality is that an Order of Protection is only a piece of paper and cannot provide any guarantee that the defendant will not violate the order. If the defendant does violate the order, that person has committed a crime and may receive criminal charges. The police should be called immediately to report this violation.
THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF ORDER OF PROTECTIONS (OOP): CRIMINAL AND CIVIL.
- A Criminal Order of Protection is issued as part of criminal charges as requested by law enforcement. See law enforcement about this order if there have been criminal charges filed.
- A Civil Order of Protection can be sought by a victim of sexual assault, domestic violence or stalking. As a plaintiff, the victim does not need to have an attorney present to request a Civil Order of Protection from the court, but may they so choose. The advocates at the WGAC are also willing to go with members of the CSU community to help in obtaining these orders.
CIVIL ORDER OF PROTECTION
A Civil Order of Protection is a document issued by the court which mandates a perpetrator (defendant) to not have contact with the victim (plaintiff). This order can be granted if the court finds that…. due to an act or a threatened act of violence against another with whom there is or has been an intimate relationship, and there is a danger of imminent injury to life or health of one or more persons.
TEMPORARY ORDER OF PROTECTION
A Temporary Order of Protection is the first part of the process.
- The plaintiff will need to go to the County Clerk’s Office at the Larimer County Courthouse (201 LaPorte Ave in Fort Collins) to pick up a packet of forms to fill out. Or you can download the forms from the Larimer County Website. The advocates at the WGAC can help fill out the paperwork and answers any questions you may have. If the plaintiff and defendant are current divorced or requesting the temporary order of protection as part of a divorce, the paperwork would need to be filed at District Court.
- The plaintiff will want to include copies of any evidence of the allegations, including photographs of injuries, letters or messages (including texts and screen shots from social media) from the defendant, police reports, or anything else.
- It is ideal if the plaintiff can get to the court in the morning, fill out the paper work, and then try to schedule an appointment to see the judge that afternoon.
- It can also be helpful if the plaintiff has a supportive person or two (friend, advocate, family member) with them when they go before the judge.
- The temporary order of protection will need to be served on the defendant. A Proof of Service needs to be in the court filed by the time of the order of protection hearing.
- The order should be entered into the Colorado Bureau of Investigations computer database soon after the order is issued. Check with police in a few days to ensure that the order has been entered (CSU Police can look into it for the plaintiff).
PERMANENT ORDER OF PROTECTION
- The temporary order of protection is good for no more than two weeks until the Permanent Order of Protection Permanent Order of Protection hearing.
- In order to acquire the Permanent Order of Protection, the plaintiff needs to attend the hearing. The defendant does not need to attend, but usually will. The plaintiff should plan on the defendant attending.
- If the defendant wishes to contest the order, that person will need to attend.
- If the defendant is not contesting the order, and the judge has sufficient evidence, it should be issued at that time.
- If the plaintiff wishes to modify or change the order, they will need to go back to court and request the changes.
CIVIL ORDER OF PROTECTION Q&A
Who may obtain the Order?
Someone who has been threatened with violence or if violence has been acted upon them by someone they have been an intimate relationship with. The court needs to see that there is a danger of imminent injury to the life or health of one or more persons.
How is the Order obtained?
Victim files a petition at the Larimer County Courthouse at the County Clerk’s office by obtaining a Temporary Order of Protection packet, filling out all paperwork, and going before a judge to request the order.
What does the Order provide?
No contact with the plaintiff directly or indirectly anywhere by phone, in writing, in person, or by email.
How is the Order served?
By a police officer or process server. The plaintiff can take the order to the Sheriff’s Department and request that they serve it on the defendant.
Cost of the Order
$31 to Larimer County,
$13 to the Sheriff to serve the Order of Protection (Orders being served outside of Larimer County may have different fees to serve the order.)
Note: There is a Cost Waiver form that can be completed if the costs are problematic. After the judge signs this form, it can be taken to the Sheriff’s Dept so they will not charge to serve the order.
Duration of the Order
Temporary: Approximately two weeks, can be extended for 6 months by a judge.
Permanent: As per decision of the judge. Can be modified at a later date if changes need to be made
Who represents the victim?
The victim (plaintiff) can represent themselves. There is an option to hire legal counsel if desired. The advocates at the WGAC are able to assist with support (not legal representation).
If the Order is violated?
The plaintiff needs to call the police as soon as possible. The police should investigate the violation and issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest.
How do police know that order exists?
The plaintiff needs to keep a copy of the order on their person at all times. This should be shown to an officer if the defendant violates the order. The order should also be registered on Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s computer database. It is also a good idea to file a copy of the order on campus with CSU Police.
In 2017, the CO state legislature signed into law HB 1035, ensuring that survivors of sexual assault, stalking, and relationship violence in CO will be able to break their residential lease agreements.
Previously, the law only applied to survivors of relationship violence (C.R.S. 38-12-402), and the only way to terminate a lease was to provide a documented police report or protection order. The new law allows for 2 additional ways to provide documentation about your status as a survivor. It is also important to know that survivors do not need to be engaged with the criminal justice system for these laws to apply to them.
If you disclose to your landlord that you are a victim of unlawful sexual behavior, stalking, or relationship violence, your landlord is not allowed to disclose what you tell them to anyone else, except with your consent or if they’re required to do so by law. Landlords are also not allowed to disclose your new address (once you move to your new home) to any person without your consent or unless they’re required to do so by law.
A landlord also cannot legally terminate a lease, refuse to renew a lease, evict, or refuse to rent to you just because you are a survivor. The law also adds certain legal protections for you if there are damages to your home due to the abuse that render your home uninhabitable.
HOW CAN YOU TERMINATE YOUR LEASE?
In order to terminate your lease under this new law, you will need to provide two things for your landlord.
- A written statement (notice) from you to the landlord that:
- States you are a survivor of “unlawful sexual behavior, stalking, domestic violence, or domestic abuse.”
- States you are seeking to vacate the premises due to fear of imminent danger for yourself and or your children because of the above victimization.
- States that the termination is pursuant to Sec. 38-12-402 (2)(a) C.R.S. which authorizes a tenant to terminate the residential rental agreement or lease and vacate the premises under these circumstances.
- Written evidence attached to the statement/notice of unlawful sexual behavior, domestic violence, or domestic abuse in one of these formats:
- A police report or protection order (also includes temporary protection orders)
- A statement from a medical professional confirming the victim’s status
- A statement from the state’s Address Confidentiality Program confirming that you have applied for help
HOW ADVOCATES IN THE WGAC CAN HELP
Victim advocates at the WGAC are also certified Address Confidentiality Program application assistants. What this means is that they can provide documentation confirming that you’ve applied for help as a survivor of interpersonal violence. No specifics of your experience will be shared in the statement we provide to your landlord.