Reporting sexual assault

I've been assaulted.  What do I do?

Deciding whether or not to report an incident can be a stressful and confusing choice. Read the information below to understand your options and how the process works.

Methods of reporting

There are three different types of reports you can file if you are a victim of sexual assault.

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Anonymous reports

In an anonymous report, no names are used and all effort is made to maintain the victim's anonymity. No information is included that might identify the victim; a victim can choose how much information is shared.

An anonymous report can be made to a resident hall assistant or director, Campus Health Services professional, or through the Office of Student Life. An anonymous report can also be submitted online through the Northern Arizona University Police Department. Based on the report, the police will determine if the university community is in danger. If the community is in danger, the police would notify the university’s Incident Management Team with the information. Otherwise, the anonymous report is used to track possible patterns or areas that could put other students and faculty in danger.

Confidential reports

If a victim talks to a counselor at Counseling Services, the information given will remain confidential and the counseling relationship provides a safe space for the victim to talk about the assault and how it has affected their life. There are a few exceptions to confidentiality. If the victim is under the age of 18 and the perpetrator is over 18, the counselor is mandated to report a sexual assault. If the victim is seen as a potential harm to themselves or another person, the counselor must also break confidentiality. These factors are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Administrative reports

A student victim may choose to report a sexual assault through the Office of Student Life under the Student Code of Conduct.

Criminal incident reports

A victim can choose to report as much or as little information as they wish when they file an incident report, and decide how involved they wish to be in prosecution. They can file a report through the:

The police department will send a reporting officer to the victim's location and ensure that they are in a safe place before   asking for basic information about the incident. The reporting officer will then have dispatch contact a victim/witness advocate and the victim will be escorted to the NACASA facility. The advocate will provide support to the victim throughout the process. A victim may wish to bring a friend along for additional support.

The victim will meet with an advocate to discuss their options and what to expect. The advocate does not take a detailed account of what happened.

A forensic exam is voluntary and can take up to six hours. A Sexual Assault Nurse Adviser (SANE) will ask questions about the incident and conduct a head-to-toe exam and detailed genital exam. The victim can stop the exam at any time. An exam can be done up to five days after an incident.

The SANE nurse will check the body for bruises, touch the body to check for sensitive areas, comb pubic hair, and examine the area of penetration. Photos may be taken.

The SANE nurse will offer the patient a urine pregnancy test, morning after pill, and sexually transmitted infection (STI) preventative medication. The victim will be referred to receive full STI testing.

The victim will be given a change of clothes and taken to the "soft room" at NACASA, where they can speak to a detective who will then take a detailed account of the incident.

The advocate will ensure that the victim has a safe place to go and will follow-up and continue supporting the client throughout the investigative process.

When reporting

If victim chooses to report a sexual assault, they may do it in a variety of ways.

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It is important that the victim write down the details about the assault and the perpetrator. If the victim suspects they were drugged, they should ask that a urine sample be collected. The sample can be analyzed by a forensic lab to determine if drugging did occur.

To preserve evidence, the victim is advised to avoid the following until after the medical exam:

  • bathing
  • brushing teeth
  • changing clothes
  • eating
  • drinking
  • smoking
  • washing hands
  • using the bathroom 

Important phone numbers

Northern Arizona University Police Department: 928-523-3611

Flagstaff Police Department: 928-774-1414

Victim/Witness Services: 928-779-6163 (after business hours, contact the police)

Campus Health Services: 928-523-2131

Student Life:  928-523-5181

Office of Affirmative Action:  928-523-3312

Office of Residential Life:  928-523-5840

Immediate Concerns

Your safety  is the number one priority. If you are a victim of sexual assault, follow these steps:

  1. Find a safe environment — anywhere away from the perpetrator. If you are at immediate risk, contact the police. You can give the police as much or as little information as you wish, or request that they contact a victim/witness advocate, who will help you understand the process and provide support. Call the Northern Arizona University Police Department at 928-523-3611 or the Flagstaff Police Department at 928-774-1414.
  2. If there is serious physical injury, go immediately to a hospital emergency room to be examined.
  3. If the victim reports the sexual assault to Flagstaff Medical Center, the nurses and doctors there are required to notify police and make an incident report, but the victim is not required to talk with the police unless they choose to. The victim will be treated for injuries and taken to Northern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault if they wish to proceed with the report and there is no medical reason for them to remain at the hospital.
  4. If there is no serious physical injury, go to a medical center as soon as possible to be examined for sexually transmitted infections or pregnancy. Campus Health Services is available for all university students. 
  5. Know that what happened was not your fault and that you should do what is best for you. Ask a trusted friend to stay with you for moral support.
  6. Call Victim/Witness Services at 928-779-6163 if you would like advice and support and to clarify your options.
  7. Recognize that healing takes time. Give yourself the time you need. If you would like to seek assistance through counseling, contact Counseling Services.