Crime of any type committed against or witnessed by someone can be traumatic. Only the victim or witness can understand how deeply a crime affects them.
On campus, we are fortunate that we have had very few serious crimes over the years. However, even crimes such as thefts and annoying telephone calls can be disturbing for victims of these crimes.
We have created this section to aid victims in finding resources to help them understand that they are not alone, they have rights, and to provide some information about the legal process in Massachusetts.
If anyone is the victim of or witnesses a crime, please immediately contact Public Safety and Service 1-911 for emergencies. National statistics provide a foundation for a common sense theory: the sooner authorities are alerted to a crime, the more likely it is that the perpetrator can be apprehended and prosecuted.
Massachusetts has a victim bill of rights. This is available online as well as from Public Safety and Service Officers. This outlines what the Commonwealth and its employees can provide for assistance.
How Does Public Safety and Service Help Me?
The Victim Assistance program is victim-based. While some laws require officers to take legally-mandated action upon notification of certain crimes, the department prefers to allow a victim to make all decisions about how to proceed with a case.
On campus, officers will provide education about the crime encountered as well as crime prevention programming for campus groups. Officers will discuss with a victim rights s/he has for prosecution of a case. Officers often assist victims to the court and provide guidance for getting to know the court and the procedures.
The courts have a Victim Witness Assistance Program with whom the Department works when a case enters the court system. They provide support and education to victims and witnesses. They have SafePlan advocates who aide victims and witnesses of violent crimes in locating safe places or develop a plan to protect themselves, among many other services.
Victim's identities are strictly confidential. However, victims may allow Public Safety and Service Officers to release their name to specific campus administrators, Health Services staff or other agreed-upon resources so we can assist a victim in obtaining alternate housing, assistance with classes, etc., if the victim wishes to have such assistance.
Officers will work with a victim and with other victim resources to develop a safe plan when a victim or the officers feel there is a safety concern.
What Options Would I Have?
Victims have a number of options when a perpetrator of a crime is known:
- Campus sanctions: if the person is another member of the community, a victim may opt to utilize campus sanctions to adjudicate the matter such as the Student Judicial Board, the Department of Human Resources, etc.
- Criminal complaint: the college, or in some cases, the victim, may be able to request a criminal hearing, or an arrest may be made
- Campus Trespass: if the victim is not a member of the community, a trespass notice may be appropriate to prevent the person from entering the campus.
- Protective Order: while there are specific situations in which this may be appropriate, victims may opt to obtain a court restraining order against a perpetrator.
The Department can release certain reports to victims. Check our Report Request form for details; complete this form and mail it in to us.
- Counseling Services
- Dean of Students - coordinates academic and residential assistance for campus victims
- Health Services
- Residential Life - coordinates with the Public Safety and Service and the Deans on providing housing alternatives for victims
- Public Safety and Service Trespass Information
- Center for Women and Community (formerly Everywoman's Center) (UMASS) - provide information and referral services as well as rape crisis services
- Five College Committee for Sexual Assault Prevention and Intervention
- National Center for Victims of Crimes
- Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance
- National Domestic Violence Hotline 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224
- The Network/La Red - works to end abuse in lesbian, bisexual women's and transgender communities.
- Safe Passge (Northampton) - provides servcices for women and their families who are affected by domestic violence
- Sexual Assault Resource Guide