Information/Resources

Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Victims Rights

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Know your rights

Roger Williams University prohibits any form of sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence and/or stalking. The University offers programs aimed at the prevention of such offenses. These offenses are violations of state criminal law as well as the University’s Student Code of Conduct. Please see community standards.rwu.edu for more information of the Code of Conduct.

Regardless of whether a victim elects to pursue a criminal complaint, the University will assist victims of sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, and/or stalking and encourages reporting of such. At Roger Williams University and in compliance with state law, a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual misconduct or stalking has the right to request a *Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) or an Emergency Restraining Order from the courts as well as a no contact order from RWU.

Any person who obtains an order of protection from Rhode Island or any state should provide a copy to the Department of Public Safety, the local police agency and the Title IX Office.

The victim may then meet with the Title IX Coordinator or their designee for student matters and/or the Office of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution and/or Department of Public Safety (DPS) to develop a Safety Action Plan, which is a plan to reduce risk of harm while on campus or coming and going from campus. This plan may include, but not limited to: on-campus escorts, special parking arrangements, obtaining a temporary cellphone, changing classroom location, changing living location or allowing a student to complete assignments from home.

What Is Stalking?

If you are being followed and/or contacted regularly by someone who puts you in fear of bodily harm, you may be a victim of stalking. Stalking is a pattern of behavior that someone uses to threaten you. In Rhode Island, stalking is a crime. If you think that you are being stalked, notify the Department of Public Safety or your local police department or a domestic violence agency and/or the Title IX Coordinator or a Title IX Deputy.

Domestic Violence is Any Crime Occurring Between:

  • Family Members: spouses, former spouses, adult persons related by blood or marriage, and persons who have a child in common.

  • Household Members: people who have lived together for some period within the past three years; includes residence hall/apartment roommates.
  • Dating Relationship Partners: persons who have, or had within the past year, a substantive dating relationship. This can occur between a boyfriend and girlfriend or same sex partners.

Why was an Arrest Made?

Rhode Island considers domestic violence a serious crime and has mandatory arrest laws. This means that once the police find enough evidence to believe that a crime has occurred, they are required to make an arrest.

What happens after an arrest is made?

  • The suspect is taken to police station and charged with a crime.
  • The defendant will be brought before a bail commissioner or a judge. A *No Contact Order will be issued.
  • The defendant will be arraigned where he/she will plead not guilty. If he/she pleads not guilty, a pre-trial date is set.
  • A Domestic Violence advocate will mail you a letter explaining what happened at the arraignment.

Will the Defendant be Sentenced to Jail?

If convicted, perhaps; however, unless the defendant has a prior criminal record, usually not. Generally, a first time offender is sentenced to a period of probation with counseling at an agency certified for Batterer’s Intervention Programs.

How to Get a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)

  • Go to the proper court and fill out paperwork, including an affidavit, which is your sworn, written statement about the incident(s) that have made you fear for your safety. Defer to the Department of Public Safety for the proper court.

  • After this paperwork is given to a clerk, a judge will review it. The judge may or may not ask you questions. If the judge signs your order, it is valid for up to 21 days. A court officer will then serve your abuser with a copy of the TRO.
  • If you want our court-ordered protection to last longer than the temporary period (up to 21 days), you must go to a second hearing. Your abuser may also be there, so you may not want to be alone. Call your local domestic violence agency for an advocate.

Important: If you do not go to the second hearing, or are late for the hearing, your court-ordered protection will end. For more information about getting a TRO, you can call one of the courts listed or a domestic violence agency.

*No Contact Order is automatically issued to the defendant upon arraignment. A court authorized No Contact Order will remain in effect until the conclusion of the defendant’s case; to include the end of his/her sentence.

Sexual Misconduct and Other Unwanted Sexual Activity

  • The accused knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally incapacitated, mentally
    disabled, or physically helpless. –or–

  • The accused uses force or coercion.
  • The accused, through concealment or by the element of surprise, is able to overcome the victim.
  • The accused engages the victim for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification, or stimulation.
  • Non-consensual sexual intercourse: Any sexual intercourse (anal, oral or vaginal) however slight with any body part/object by an individual upon another individual without consent.

Effective Consent: RWU strongly encourages students who choose to engage in sexual behavior to verbally communicate their intentions and consent as clearly as possible. Effective consent is informed, knowing and voluntary. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable willingness regarding engaging in mutually agreed upon sexual activity.

Consent may never be given by minors, mentally disabled persons, and those who are incapacitated as a result of alcohol or other drug consumption or those who are unconscious, unaware or otherwise physically helpless.

On Campus Resources
A student may pursue any or all of these options:

  • RWU Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution
    401-254-3042
  • RWU Department Public Safety
    401-254-3333
  • RWU Dean of Students Office
    401-254-3042
  • RWU Health Services:
    401-254-3156
  • RWU Counseling and Student Development
    401-254-3124
  • Title IX Coordinator - Dr.Jen Stanley
    401-254-3123

Off Campus Resources (Medical) -
Victims of sexual misconduct may request a specifically trained Sexual Misconduct Nurse Examiner (SANE) at each of the following hospitals:

  • Women & Infants | 101 Dudley Street, Providence RI, 401-274-1100
  • Rhode Island Hospital |  593 Eddy Street, Providence RI, 401-444-4000                                                                        

Other Medical Resources

  • Day One 401-421-4100
  • RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence 401-467-9940
  • Victims of Crime Hotline 800-494-8100
  • Women’s Center of RI 401-861-2760

Police Agencies

  • Emergency: 911
  • Bristol Police Department: 401-253-6900
  • Portsmouth Police Department: 401-683-0300
  • Providence Police Department: 401-272-3121
  • RI State Police Headquarters:401-444-1000

Protective Orders Family Court

  • Newport County | 45 Washington Square Newport, RI
    401-841-8340
  • Providence/Bristol County | 1 Dorrance Street, Providence, RI
    401-458-3200

Protective Orders District Court

  • Newport County | 45 Washington Square Newport, RI
    401-841-8350
  • Providence/Bristol County | 1 Dorrance Street, Providence, RI
    401-458-5400

Definitions

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1. Effective Consent: RWU strongly encourages students who choose to engage in sexual behavior to verbally communicate their intentions and consent as clearly as possible. Effective consent is informed, knowing and voluntary. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable willingness regarding engaging in mutually agreed upon sexual activity.

Consent may never be given by minors, mentally disabled persons, and those who are incapacitated as a result of alcohol or drug consumption or those who are unconscious, unaware or otherwise physically helpless. Incapacitation means being in a state where a person cannot understand the nature and/or extent of the situation. For example, when alcohol or other drugs are used, a person will be considered unable to give effective consent if the person cannot appreciate the who, what, when, where, why, or how of a sexual interaction. Slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils, smell of alcohol, shaky equilibrium, unsteady gait, vomiting, outrageous or unusual behavior, unconsciousness (short or long periods), elevated blood alcohol level, sleeping, blackout and loss of memory are some indicators of alcohol-related incapacitation. A person’s state of incapacity is a subjective determination. Indications of consent are irrelevant if the initiator knows or should have reasonably known of the incapacity of another person. Intentional use of alcohol or other drugs does not excuse perpetration of a violation of the Sexual Misconduct/Gender-Based Misconduct policy.

Consent as a result of coercion, intimidation, threat of force or force is not effective consent. Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Whensomeone makes it clear to you that they do not want sex, that they want tostop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction,continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive. A person who knowsor should have reasonably known that another person is incapacitated maynot engage in sexual activity with that person.

In the absence of mutually understandable words or actions, it is the responsibility of the initiator, or the person who wants to engage in the specific sexual activity, to make sure that they have consent from their partner. Consent to some form of sexual activity doesn’t automatically mean consent to other forms of sexual activity. It is the responsibility of the initiator to re-confirm consent during each step of sexual activity. Consent is mutually understandable when a reasonable person would consider the words and/or actions of the parties to have expressed a mutually understandable agreement between them to do the same thing, in the same way, at the same time, with one another. Silence, previous sexual relationships, and/or a current relationship with the initiator (or anyone else) may not, in themselves, imply consent. Consent to sexual activity may be withdrawn at any time, as long as withdrawal is communicated between the engaging parties.

 

2. Non-consensual sexual intercourse: Non-consensual sexual intercourse is a form of sexual assault which includes any sexual intercourse, however slight, with any object or body part by a person against another person that is without consent and/or by force. Examples of non-consensual sexual intercourse include, but are not limited to: vaginal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger; anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger; oral copulation (mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact).

 

3. Non-consensual sexual contact: Non-consensual sexual contact is a form of sexual assault which includes any intentional touching, however slight, whether clothed or unclothed, with any object or body part by a person against another person that is without consent and/or by force. Examples of non-consensual sexual contact include, but are not limited to: intentional contact with the breasts, buttocks, groin, or genitals; intentional touching of another with breast, buttocks, groin or genitals; making another person touch someone or themselves in a sexual manner; and/or any intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner.

 

4. Sexual harassment: Sexual harassment is a form of gender-based discrimination involving quid pro quo or hostile environment harassment. Quid pro quo harassment is an intentional, intolerable exploitation of a position of power and authority such as unwelcome sexual advances, requests or demands for sexually-based favors, or other gender-based verbal or physical conduct where submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used by a person(s) in a position of power or authority, as a basis for employment, academic or institutional environment decisions affecting such individual. Hostile environment harassment arises where one or more members of the University community engage in gender-based conduct that unreasonably creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working and/or living/study environment that has the effect of altering one’s work or educational experience and the conditions of employment or living/study at the University. Examples of sexual harassment include but are not limited to: subtle or persistent pressure for sexual activity or favors; unnecessary touching or brushing up against a person; unwelcome communication (verbal, written, electronic, etc.) of a sexual nature; and/or failure to accept the end of a consensual relationship with repeated and persistent requests and behavior. Sexual harassment need not be intentional. The intent of the person who is alleged to have committed such behavior may not be relevant to determining whether a violation has occurred.

 

5. Sexual exploitation: An act attempted or committed by a person for sexual gratification, financial gain or other advancement through the abuse or exploitation of another person’s sexuality. Sexual exploitation includes but it not limited to: invasion of sexual privacy; voyeurism (in-person or through audio or video recording); recording any person engaged in sexual or intimate activity in a private space without that person’s full knowledge and consent; distributing sexual or intimate information, images or recordings about another person without that person’s full knowledge and consent; exposing of a person’s body or genitals; and/or knowingly or recklessly exposing another person to a significant risk of sexually transmitted infection, including HIV.

 

6. Relationship Violence (Domestic Violence/Dating Violence): Relationship violence is behavior by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature that is used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. This behavior can be verbal, emotional and/or physical.

 

7. Stalking/Intimidation: Stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fearful, intimidated, threatened, or cause substantial emotional distress. Stalking includes ‘cyber stalking’, a particular form of stalking in which a person uses electronic media, such as the internet, social networks, cell phones, texts, blogs, or other similar devices or forms of contact.

Course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about, a person, or interferes with a person’s property.

 

Intimidation is defined as implied threats or acts that cause an unreasonable fear or harm in another. It also includes when the knowledge of prior violent behavior is used to threaten or menace another.

Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

 

Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim.

 

 

8. Retaliation: Retaliation is any adverse action taken against a person because of the person’s participation in a complaint or investigation of discrimination or sexual misconduct. The University will take seriously any allegation of retaliation.

Notice of RI Mandatory Reporting Laws

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Rhode Island Mandatory Child Abuse and Bystander to Sexual Assault Reporting Laws

All members of the Roger Williams University community should be aware that Rhode Island law requires reporting of known or suspected child abuse or neglect and reporting of first degree sexual assault or attempted first degree sexual assault occurring in a bystander’s presence.

  • Known or Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect

Rhode Island General Laws § 40-11-3 requires mandatory reporting of known or suspected child abuse or neglect, providing in part:

Any person who has reasonable cause to know or suspect that any child has been abused or neglected as defined in section 40-11-2 or has been a victim of sexual abuse by another child shall, within twenty-four (24) hours, transfer that information to the department of children, youth and families or its agent who shall cause the report to be investigated immediately.

R.I.G.L. § 40-11-3(a). “Abused and/or neglected child” is defined as any child “whose physical or mental health or welfare is harmed or threatened with harm when his or her parent or other person responsible for his or her welfare” commits or allows to be committed any one of certain enumerated offenses, including sexual assault. R.I.G.L. § 40-11-2(1) and (1)(ix). “Person responsible for child’s welfare” is defined as “the child’s parent, guardian, any individual, eighteen (18) years of age or older, who resides in the home of a parent or guardian and has unsupervised access to the child, foster parent, an employee of a public or private residential home or facility, or any staff person providing out-of-home care (out-of-home care means child day care to include family day care, group day care, and center-based day care).” R.I.G.L. § 40-11-2(9).

Information about known or suspected child abuse or neglect should be reported to the Rhode Island Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-RI-CHILD (1-800-742-4453).

The full statute is available here.

  • First Degree or Attempted First Degree Sexual Assault Occurring in Bystander’s Presence

Rhode Island General Laws § 11-37-3.1 requires that a bystander to first degree sexual assault or attempted first degree sexual assault immediately report such offense to the police:

Any person, other than the victim, who knows or has reason to know that a first degree sexual assault or attempted first degree sexual assault is taking place in his or her presence shall immediately notify the state police or the police department of the city or town in which the assault or attempted assault is taking place of the crime.

R.I.G.L. § 11-37.3.1.

The full statute is available here

If you have information about any such matter occurring on campus or involving a member of the campus community, please contact the Department of Public Safety immediately at (401)254-3333 or ext. 3333 or 4357 (HELP) from a campus phone.

If you have questions about the state mandatory reporting requirements, please contact the Department of Public Safety at 401-254-3611 (ext. 3611) or the Office of General Counsel at 401-254-5379 (ext. 5379).

Local Resources

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Off Campus Resources (Medical) 
Victims of sexual misconduct may request a specifically trained Sexual Misconduct Nurse Examiner (SANE) at each of the following hospitals:

  • Women & Infants | 101 Dudley Street, Providence RI 401-274-1100
  • Rhode Island Hospital | 593 Eddy Street, Provdence RI 401-444-4000

Other Community Resources

  • Day One 401-421-4100
  • RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence 401-467-9940
  • Victims of Crime Hotline 800-494-8100
  • Women’s Center of RI 401-861-2760

Police Agencies

  • Emergency: 911
  • Bristol Police Department: 401-253-6900
  • Portsmouth Police Department: 401-683-0300
  • Providence Police Department: 401-272-3121
  • RI State Police Headquarters:401-444-1000

Protective Orders Family Court

  • Newport County | 45 Washington Square Newport, RI 401-841-8340
  • Providence/Bristol County | 1 Dorrance Street, Providence, RI 401-458-3200

Protective Orders District Court

  • Newport County | 45 Washington Square Newport, RI 401-841-8350
  • Providence/Bristol County | 1 Dorrance Street, Providence, RI 401-458-5400