Sexual assault refers to a range of non-consensual sexual contact, which can occur in many forms, including but not limited to, rape and sexual battery. See Definitions of Sexual Harassment Terms.
Sexual assault occurring on campus, in connection with a University program or activity, or in a manner that creates a hostile environment for members of the University Community is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by the University System of Georgia's Sexual Misconduct Policy, the University of Georgia’s Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
Sexual assault is also a crime.
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, following a sexual assault, the police be contacted as soon as possible.
Contacting the police does not commit or obligate the survivor to having the assault investigated or prosecuted, or to having police contact the alleged assailant. The survivor can make those choices later. Nor will contacting the police subject the survivor to judgmental scrutiny or 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 many sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, if desired), at no expense to the survivor;
- If the assault occurred within the past 120 hours (5 days), provide the opportunity for collection and preservation of forensic evidence, including a free Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) exam (see further information below under "Obtain Medical Care"). Undergoing a SANE exam does not obligate or commit the survivor to having an investigation conducted or to pressing charges. The evidence collected will be held and the survivor can make those choices at a later time. Ideally, a survivor should not wash, douche, use the toilet, or change clothing prior to a SANE exam being conducted. However, valuable evidence can still be collected even after one or more of these things has occurred.
- Assure that the survivor has access to free, confidential advocates specifically trained in the area of sexual assault crisis intervention and support.
If a sexual assault occurred on-campus or on property owned or leased by the University of Georgia, contact the University Police Department at 911 or (706) 542-2200.
If a sexual assault occurred in Athens, but off-campus and not on property owned or leased by the University of Georgia, contact the Athens-Clarke County Police Department by calling 911 or (706) 613-3330.
If a sexual assault occurred 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 care in order to determine if any physical injuries occurred and to receive, if desired prevention of sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy. 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 (5 days), 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 (24-hour hotline), 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. For a listing of University and Community Support Resources click here.
Confidential medical treatment and Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) are available to University Community members through the University Health Center. Confidential counseling is also offered on-campus at:
Additionally, 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 University Community member 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)
Offers information, confidential consultation and referrals for students impacted by relationship and sexual violence. Can coordinate and accompany students to appointments with medical, law enforcement and Equal Opportunity Office/Title IX providers. Available 24-hours, 7 days a week at (706) 542-SAFE
- Student Care and Outreach
Provides individualized assistance to students experiencing academic hardship circumstances
- University Ombudspersons
Designated individuals who serve as independent, neutral, and informal resources for UGA students, faculty, and staff
Confidential support services also available through the following community resources:
- The Cottage: Sexual Assault Center
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)
- Project Safe
24-Hour Hotline: (706) 543-3331
Offers 24-hour confidential information and domestic violence services
Notify the Equal Opportunity Office/Title IX Coordinator
Once notified of alleged sexual assault, UGA's Equal Opportunity Office/Title IX Coordinator is 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; preventing recurrence; and conducting an investigation to determine if there was a violation by a University community member of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents' Sexual Misconduct Policy. Both Title IX and the Sexual Misconduct Policy prohibit retaliation for making or being associated with a report to the EOO/Title IX Coordinator and that the University will promptly take interim protective measures to protect the survivor from retaliation (e.g., issuing a no-contact order to the alleged assailant and letting him/her know that retaliation can provide a separate basis for disciplinary action, facilitating changes to the alleged assailant's or survivor's University housing assignment or to class or work schedules to minimize contact, etc.).
Reports can be made to the Equal Opportunity Office/Title IX Coordinator via phone (706.542.7912), email, by completing a Sexual Misconduct Complaint Form, or in person (119 Holmes-Hunter Bldg, on North campus right behind the Arch, or at another pre-arranged location such as the RSVP office). In the case of the latter option, the survivor may have a support person of their choice present with them.
Reporting to law enforcement and the EOO/Title IX Coordinator are not mutually exclusive options. A survivor can report to one, both or neither. However, investigations conducted by law enforcement and the EOO/Title IX Coordinator are separate and independent of one another.
Mandatory Reporting for Responsible Employees
University employees (including student employees) who are considered Responsible Employees MUST promptly report incidents or allegations of sexual assault within the University Community to the Equal Opportunity Office/Title IX Coordinator and relay any request by the survivor for confidentiality or no-investigation by contacting:
E. Janyce Dawkins, JD/MBA
Director & Title IX Coordinator
Equal Opportunity Office (EOO)
Holmes-Hunter Bldg – Suite 119
Athens, GA 30602
(706) 542-7912 (ph) / (706) 542-2822 (fax)
Responsible employees include, without limitation, any administrator, supervisor, faculty member, or other person in a position of authority who is not a Privileged Employee (i.e., does not have a statutory privilege of confidentiality under Georgia state law), as well as student employees who serve in a supervisory, advisory, or managerial role (e.g., teaching assistants, residential assistants, student managers, orientation leaders, etc.). Failure by a Responsible Employee to report incidents or allegations of sexual assault can result in discipline.
All other 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.
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 Equal Opportunity Office/Title IX Coordinator will also conduct impartial and timely investigations into incidents and allegations of sexual violence occurring within the University Community. If a sexual assault is found dby a preponderance of the evidence to have occurred, the University will take commensurate disciplinary or corrective action against the responsible individual(s) which may include, without limitation, suspending, expelling and/or barring a UGA student from campus; or suspending, terminating and/or barring a UGA employee from campus. Where the survivor indicates that s/he does not want an EOO/Title IX investigation to be conducted or requests confidentiality/anonymity, the Title IX Coordinator will take that into account in determining what follow-up action is required to ensure the safety of the University Community. Where the reported facts require an EOO/Title IX investigation, the individual requesting confidentiality/anonymity or no-investigation will be informed before investigative action is taken.
Regardless of whether the EOO/Title IX Coordinator conducts an investigation, for purposes of complying with federal reporting requirements under the Jeanne Clery Act, University Police are informed of incidents and allegations of sexual violence that occur within the University Community via the University’s Anonymous Data Form which does not contain identifying information about the survivor.
Caveats About EOO/Title IX Investigations
- The EOO/Title IX Coordinator is not an advocate for, and does not represent, either the survivor or the alleged assailant.
- No information about the incident or investigation is shared with parents of students, or third parties unrelated to the investigation, absent written permission from the subject student. This is pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
- Amnesty: No information concerning any student's drinking or drug use that is revealed to the EOO/Title IX Coordinator in the course of a sexual assault report or investigation will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct or voluntarily reported to law enforcement.
- EOO/Title IX investigations apply the preponderance-of-the-evidence standard (i.e., “more likely than not”). This is a lower standard of proof than beyond-a-reasonable-doubt, which is used in the criminal context.
- An EOO investigator will conduct interviews with all relevant parties and witnesses and obtain and review other information relevant to the reported assault. If, at the end of the investigation, either party to the investigation (i.e., the survivor and alleged assailant) disagree as to the investigator's findings regarding whether or not there is a preponderance of evidence that sexual misconduct occurred and the recommended sanctions, a hearing will be conducted before three (3) panel members consisting of UGA employees (faculty and staff, no student panelists). Both parties have the right to participate in the hearing, but neither is required to do so. The investigator will also provide information at the hearing as to the evidence obtained during the investigation. The panel members will then determine the finding of any sexual misconduct and any sanction. For additional information on the procedures for investigating alleged sexual misconduct against any UGA student, see the University System of Georgia Board of Regents' Sexual Misconduct Policy, located at: http://www.usg.edu/policymanual/section4/C327/
- Consequences can be significant if sexual misconduct is found, including suspension or expulsion in instances of sexual assault.
Additional information for what to do in the event of a sexual assault is available at:
Safe & Secure: A Guide for Students, Faculty, Staff and Visitors of the University of Georgia – Preventing and Responding to Sex Offenses