Notice of Crime: Sexual Assault, Core Campus MPC
9/16/2019 11:42 am
In compliance with the “Timely Warning” provisions of the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act, Virginia Commonwealth University is providing notice of a recently reported Sexual Assault that may pose a serious or continuing threat to campus safety. This notice is intended to aid in the prevention of similar crimes and to enable members of the university community to protect themselves.
Reported Offense: On Sept. 16, 2019, VCU Police received a report of sexual assault that occurred in a residence hall on the Monroe Park Campus. The suspect is known to the survivor. VCU Police are actively investigating this report.
VCU Police remind members of the community of the following:
- Engaging in any type of sexual activity without voluntary, informed and active consent is sexual assault.
- Always seek verbal, sober, clear consent. Immediately stop sexual advances if the other person indicates no interest or if they say "no." Consent to one sexual act does not imply consent to another. The absence of a “no” does not mean “yes.”
- Sexual assault is non-consensual activity, ranging from unwanted touching to forced intercourse, which can include sexual contact with someone who is impaired by alcohol, drugs, or any other intoxicant that impairs the person’s judgment.
- Alcohol and drugs may impair judgment, making it difficult to notice unsafe situations and intervene to help others. If either party is incapacitated by alcohol or drugs, consent cannot be given.
- Never pressure or coerce someone into engaging in sexual activity.
- Approximately 75% of rapes are committed by acquaintances (https://rainn.org/).
- Be on the lookout for suspicious people who may attempt to isolate someone who is intoxicated or has been drinking, or people who may pose, act or dress like a student, when they are not.
- If you witness a situation that appears unsafe or makes you uncomfortable, intervene if it's safe to do so or go to a safe area and call for help. Bystander intervention is a known tool to help to prevent campus sexual assault. (Police encourage the VCU community to download and use the free LiveSafe mobile safety application on iOS and Android smartphones.)
- If you are ever in a situation where you are unsure, or scared, call VCU Police at (804) 828-1234 immediately.
Be aware of tactics used:
Tactics used to commit sexual assault include intruding into someone’s personal space physically, isolation and “feeding” or encouraging alcohol and/or other drug consumption.
Although alcohol is the most commonly used drug to facilitate sexual assault, other tactics include adding drugs, such as GHB, Ketamine, or Rohypnol, to a person’s drink to incapacitate them. GHB, also known as Liquid Ecstasy, relaxes a person’s inhibitions, causes drowsiness, and may result in a loss of consciousness. Ketamine, also known as Special K, makes a person feel as if they are separated from their body and detached from reality. Rohypnol, commonly referred to as Roofies, causes a person to become drowsy, dizzy, and lack motor control and coordination. Prescription drugs, such as benzodiazepines or anti-anxiety medications, are also sometimes used to incapacitate an individual.
Using or requesting the use of contraceptives and/or safer sex methods is not the same as consenting to sexual activity.
Develop a safety plan with friends. Help each other to stay safe by sticking together and making sure someone does not become isolated. Use safety apps, such as LiveSafe, to notify others if you feel unsafe, isolated or need assistance.
• Be alert and aware at all times when you are with acquaintances.
• Be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts.
• Report all suspicious people and circumstances to the VCU Police Department.
VCU will take prompt and appropriate action to eliminate Prohibited Conduct, prevent its recurrence and remedy its effects. Prohibited Conduct includes sexual assault, sexual exploitation, partner or relationship violence (including stalking), other sex or gender-based discrimination, retaliation, and complicity. For more information on the definition of Prohibited Conduct and the related University procedures, refer to VCU’s Sexual Misconduct/Violence and Sex/Gender Discrimination Policy.
The University will not pursue disciplinary action based on disclosure of personal consumption of drugs or alcohol where such disclosures are made in connection with a good faith report of prohibited conduct under university policy or an individual’s cooperation in an administrative investigation.
The University will take remedial and protective measures to protect a Complainant and facilitate the Complainant’s continued access to university employment or education programs and activities. These measures may include, but are not limited to, no-contact directives, residence modifications, and academic modifications and support.
If you are the victim of a sexual assault many options are available to you; retaliation for reporting is strictly prohibited.
If you have been the victim of a sexual assault, you are not alone. There are people at VCU, and in the Richmond community, who are here to support you. We encourage you to report to VCU Police and the university’s Title IX office. After speaking with a specially trained VCU Police officer, a criminal investigation can begin; you have the right to participate or decline to participate in a criminal investigation.
Reporting & Support Resources:
Report a sexual assault or sexual crime to the VCU Police Department through the VCU Police You Have Options online portal: http://www.reportingoptions.org/vcu-pd
Emergency #: (804) 828-1234 (Ext. 8-1234 from a VCU campus phone)
Non-Emergency #: (804) 828-1196
VCUPD Sexual violence resources on the Web: https://police.vcu.edu/sexual_violence/victim_witness_program.html
Det. Cierra Eldridge, VCU Police Victim-Witness Coordinator
If you have general questions about the criminal justice process, even if you are not ready to report, you may contact Rhanelle Collins-Meredith, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Richmond, at (804) 646-2905 or by e-mailing Rhanelle.Collins-Meredith@richmondgov.com.
Survivors can go to the VCU Medical Center, or other local hospitals, for medical care, including STI testing and treatment and pregnancy prevention. Survivors of rape or sexual assault have the right to seek evidence collection at no cost, and have the right to have evidence collected through a Physical Evidence Recovery Kit (PERK) without filing a police report. For additional information regarding Virginia's SAFE Payment Program, visit www.cicf.state.va.us/content/safe-payment-program.
Although a survivor must provide their identifying information to the hospital (their name) via a PERK, a survivor may elect to remain anonymous if they choose to file a report with the police. If the survivor chooses not to file a report, the hospital will forward the PERK kit to the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services, which will hold it for a minimum period of two years, giving the survivor an opportunity to have valuable evidence collected while making an informed decision then or later regarding criminal investigation and possible prosecution.
Within 5 days: VCU Medical Center's forensic nurse examiners, 1250 E. Marshall St., (804) 628-0623.
After 5 days: University Student Health Services
Monroe Park Campus: 1300 W. Broad St., Suite 2200, (804) 828-8828
MCV Campus: 1000 E. Marshall St., Room 305, (804) 828-9220
Forensic nursing services are also available at these facilities: St. Mary’s Hospital, Richmond Community Hospital, St. Francis Watkins Centre, Memorial Regional Medical Center, St. Francis Medical Center. To reach forensic nurses at these hospitals call: (804) 281-8184 (Emergency) or Non-Emergency (804) 281-8574.
If you are not ready to report, or are unsure, please consider contacting a confidential counselor or victim advocate for yourself or a friend:
VCU University Counseling Services: (804) 828-6200 (Monroe Park Campus) or (804) 828-3964 (MCV Campus). To speak with a counselor after hours, call VCU Police at (804) 828-1234 and ask to be connected to an on-call counselor. Services are confidential. Web: https://counseling.vcu.edu/. Email MyOptions@vcu.edu to connect with a confidential advocate in Counseling Services.
Project Empower (VCU Health): Project Empower is open 7 days a week and serves anyone currently or previously experiencing sexual violence, intimate partner violence and domestic violence with a variety of supportive services. To speak with Project Empower Coordinator Maria Altonen, call (804) 628-4603. Web: https://www.vcuhealth.org/services/injury-and-violence-prevention/project-empower.
The Greater Richmond Regional Hotline (24/7): (804) 612-6126. Services are free and confidential.
LGBTQ Partner Abuse & Sexual Assault Helpline (24/7): (866) 356-6998. Services are free and confidential.
YWCA of Richmond: (804) 612-6126. Services are free and confidential. Web: www.ywcarichmond.org/
If you have experienced prohibited conduct, you may report it to the university, law enforcement or both. VCU urges any person with knowledge of an incident to report it immediately using the following options:
VCU’s Threat Assessment Team: VCU’s Threat Assessment Team assesses and responds accordingly to any threatening behaviors and dangerous incidents involving students, faculty, staff or the community. To file a report online, visit: https://students.vcu.edu/resources/safety/ . For emergencies, call VCU Police: (804) 828-1234.
VCU Equity and Access Services leads, coordinates, and supports civil rights compliance, including Title IX, for the university community: (804) 828-1347. Web: http://www.equity.vcu.edu/
Laura Walsh Rugless, Executive Director and Title IX Coordinator
Tammi Slovinsky, Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students
Cathleen C. Burke, Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Employees
Sofia A. Hiort-Wright, Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Athletics
Confidential Ethics and Compliance Helpline: (888) 242-6022 (toll free) Web: www.vcuhelpline.com
If you want to get involved in ending violence and supporting students who have been impacted by violence, you can contact the following VCU student group:
Students Advocating Violence Education & Support (SAVES): (804) 828-9355; Email: email@example.com
Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to share this safety information with other members of the community and are asked to be aware of their surroundings. Use the campus RamSafe transportation service between the hours of 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. by calling (804) 828-SAFE (7233) or visit http://www.ramsafe.vcu.edu. Before 5 p.m. utilize the VCU Parking and Transportation shuttle or the GRTC Pulse if in service. Students and staff ride free on GRTC.
Students, faculty, staff and citizens of Richmond are asked to report all suspicious activity, however minor, to VCU Police immediately.
Anyone with information pertaining to this, or any crime, can contact the VCU Police Department 24/7. For emergencies, call (804) 828-1234. For non-emergency tips, call (804) 828-1196. Off-campus emergencies in the City of Richmond can be reported by calling, or texting, 911. (Call if you can, text if you can’t.) For more information on this service in Richmond and surrounding communities, visit: http://www.richmondgov.com/EmergencyCommunications/TextTo911.aspx.
Students, faculty, staff and Richmond residents can download the free LiveSafe mobile safety app on a smartphone to submit tips, screenshots, photos and videos directly to VCU Police; tips are monitored 24/7. Tips can also be submitted to Metro Richmond Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000 or on the P3 Tips mobile app; for more information, visit http://www.crimestoppersrichmondvirginia.com/.
It is essential to be prepared for emergency situations and to be cognizant of ways to prevent crime and avoid dangerous situations.
The Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department would like to remind students, in particular, to keep personal safety in mind. There are certain things you need to be aware of as residents of an urban environment, as crimes may occur in our community.
The best defense is to be prepared and to take responsibility for your own safety and for that of your friends and fellow students. Be aware of your surroundings at all times, walk with a friend and make use of RamSafe, VCU’s security escort service. For additional safety tips from the VCU Police, please see www.police.vcu.edu and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
VCU is dedicated to promoting a safe and secure environment for learning, living, working or visiting.