How does the College handle report of a sexual assault?
Campus Police, the Dean of Students Office, and Health Services staff collaborate to assist victims. However, because of confidentiality constraints on survivor information, each organization needs permission to exchange information. Departments will not release information without the survivor's permission.
By Massachusetts General Law, the police and court records that contain the name of the victim in a case of rape or assault with intent to rape must be withheld from public inspection. Except as permitted by a judge, it is unlawful to publish or disclose rape victim's names.
Public Safety will not release your name to other College officials without your permission. Campus Police is required by federal law to notify the members of the community of any events or incidents that place people at risk; and will do so while maintaining the confidentiality of your identity.
In conducting a thorough investigation of a rape or an assault, Campus Police will assign an officer who has received specialized training in investigating sexual assaults. During the investigation, the officer will ask you many questions and go over the details of the crime. This is necessary because a person frequently recalls additional information and details during subsequent interviews. This procedure is not intended to embarrass or intimidate you.
The Campus Police Department provides professionally trained officers including state-certified sexual assault investigators trained in the investigation of such offenses and the impact it has on the survivor. They will approach each case in a sensitive manner and will assist the survivor to ensure preservation of evidence and contact with appropriate medical services provided by both Smith College Health Services and the Cooley Dickinson Hospital.
As a Survivor
As a survivor of rape or sexual assault you may want your assailant identified, apprehended and prosecuted in court. An important part of the criminal investigation is the collection of physical evidence. Survivors should contact the Campus Police Department or go to Health Services or the hospital as soon as possible after the incident (without showering, douching, or changing first, although they should bring a change of clothes with them). The evidence will be collected and used only if the survivor chooses to prosecute. Health Services provides medical evaluation, preventative treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, and emergency contraception. Cooley Dickinson Hospital provides sexual assault exams, including collection of forensic evidence, clinical evaluation, assessment, and treatment of injuries. Counseling services are provided by the Smith College Counseling Services staff. They provide counseling for crisis and healing, as well as referral to agencies off campus, when applicable.
Survivors are involved in all decisions about proceeding with criminal charges. If the survivor of a rape or sexual assault chooses to proceed in this manner, DPS will provide assistance and guidance and will serve as a liaison with the District Attorney’s Office. The survivor’s name in all reports of sexual assault is kept confidential, by Massachusetts law. College personnel, including Deans, Student Affairs staff, ombudsperson, will assist survivors in notifying on-campus law enforcement authorities (Campus Police Department) and local law enforcement authorities Northampton Police Department upon request. The Campus Police Department and other college staff will also advise survivors of their rights to counseling and other services offered by the college and the community.
An on-call professional staff member with the Office of Student Affairs is available 24 hours a day to respond to a crisis when school is in session. The Office of Student Affairs will help a survivor who needs academic assistance by working with an academic dean and with campus housing by working with the director of residence life. Students will be assisted with changes to their academic and living situations after a sexual assault if requested. Requests for these changes are coordinated through the Office of Student Affairs, and Campus Police may serve as a liaison.
The college encourages students to report a situation in which she believes a sexual assault occurred, in order to ensure that appropriate support and resources are provided to the survivor. Any information regarding a sexual assault on or off the Smith College campus can be reported to the Department of Campus Police, College Health Services, or the Dean of Students. The Department of Campus Police has been designated to receive all reports of sexual assault and to report those centralized statistics to the community. Complaints regarding violations of rules of conduct by Smith College students may also be directed to the Dean of Students and processed in accordance with the College Judicial Board procedures.