Sexual Assault Policy and Resources

Sexual assault occurs when a person is forced against her or his will to engage in any sexual contact. This same definition applies whether the assailant is a stranger or someone known to the victim.

Sexual assault includes both rape and forced sexual contact that does not involve penetration. Rape is defined as sexual intercourse with a person by forcible compulsion or sexual intercourse with a person who is incapable of giving consent. If the victim knows the assailant, rape may be referred to as acquaintance rape or date rape.

Response to Sexual Assault

All University Police officers are trained to assist sexual assault victims and to maintain the crime scene/evidence. The university also provides a Student Sexual Assault Response Team (SSART), whose mission is to provide an interdisciplinary team approach to victims of sexual assault on campus.

The University will accommodate a victim's request for academic schedule and housing changes whenever possible. If the victim reports the assault to the University Police Department and is willing to prosecute applicable criminal charges, the department will file and prosecute the charges.

University judicial action on this and other complaints may be taken by the University community. Severe penalties may be imposed by the University independent of Commonwealth criminal or civil codes. The accuser and the accused are entitled to the same opportunities to have others present during a campus disciplinary proceeding brought forth regarding the alleged sexual assault. Any or all of the following sanctions may be issued in any given case: university reprimands, restitution, recommendations for counseling, residence probation, University disciplinary probation, suspension or expulsion.

If you are a victim of sexual assault:

  • Report to the University Police Office - 724-938-4357 or 724-938-4299 - In as much as all allegations of sexual assault and rape have the potential to involve criminal conduct, the University strongly advises all victims to first report directly to the University Police. If the assault occurred off campus, call 9-1-1 and the appropriate police agency will respond.
  • Get medical attention immediately - You could be injured - externally and internally. You could become pregnant, or you could get a sexually transmitted disease. A medical examination could also provide important evidence of rape for prosecution. The END V (Violence) Center (724-938-5707) also provides trained support staff to assist you.
  • Don't bathe or douche - bathing or douching might be the first thing you want to do - but don't. You might literally be washing away valuable evidence. Wait until you have had a medical examination.
  • Save your clothing - it's all right to change clothes, but save what you were wearing. Your clothing could be used as evidence for prosecution. Place all items in a paper bag.
  • We are here to help - Understanding officers will be assigned to work with you, to help you to apprehend the offender. Your contact with the police officers will be confidential. The assigned officer will explain the various aspects of criminal prosecution should the offender be identified.

Sexual Assault Resources

  • University Police, Ext. 4357 - Explanation of process; investigation of incident; arrange transportation to hospital; brochures and printed materials; referrals to other appropriate agencies.
  • END V (Violence) Center, Ext. 5707 - Free and confidential services, counseling and support; self-help materials; referrals to other appropriate agencies.
  • Student Affairs, Ext. 4439 - Investigates allegations/Student Conduct Code; brochures and printed materials; referrals to other appropriate agencies.
  • Social Equity, Ext. 4014 - Investigates allegations of sexual harassment; provides support training; brochures and printed material; referrals to other appropriate agencies.
  • Health Center, Ext. 4232 - Medical treatment, brochures and printed materials, referrals to other appropriate agencies.

Registered Sex Offenders

In compliance with the Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act found in 42 USC 1407(j) of the Wetterling Act, which states that the University must advise the campus community of where law enforcement agency information provided by the state concerning registered sex offenders may be obtained, any member of the campus community at the PennWest California can go to the PennWest California Police Department located on the main campus to obtain the proper information.