Sexual Assault Information

Policy Statement on Sexual Assault

A. General

Northern Illinois University will not tolerate sexual assault, rape, or sexual abuse of any kind against students, staff, faculty, or visitors. Internal complaints of sexual assaults filed against students will be investigated and appropriate disciplinary action taken as determined by the university judicial system.

In an on-going effort to prevent sexual assaults, and in addition to providing various security measures, the university is committed to making available, through a variety of channels, relevant educational information and programs. It is university policy to inquire into whether publicly registered, previously convicted sexual offenders are among students proposing to reside in university housing (NIU Residence Hall Contract, Sec. IIID).  It is university policy to comply with all federal- and state-related statutes for reporting and publishing sexual assault statistics.

B. Common Support for Victims of Sexual Assault

  • All university staff will take all reports of sexual assault seriously and treat the complainant with sensitivity, including not implying that the victim was somehow responsible for the sexual assault.
  • The university recognizes that a sexual assault is more than an assault on an individual's body, but is also an invasion on the individual's dignity and sense of self. Out of respect for the individual choices available to a sexual assault victim and to support her/his privacy needs after an incident, the university leaves the decision to file a student incident report, a formal sexual harassment complaint, or criminal charges up to the individual victim. Resources for assistance may be discussed, but all members of the university community shall abstain from demanding that the victim either report, not report, or under-report a sexual assault. The university reserves its right to investigate an incident using all available information from any source, and will cooperate with the efforts of campus, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to apprehend individuals who may have committed acts of sexual assault.
  • Victims who report an assault to an Interpersonal Violence Response Team (IVRT) office (see Section F, below) are to be informed by that office of their options of available support services and options for filing charges. University personnel are advised to refer sexual assault victims who come to their attention to an appropriate IVRT Team office.
  • Health care, counseling and other support services are available for student victims. IVRT Team members may assist other victims through referrals to resources similar to those available for students (see Section F, below).

C. University Complaint System

  • A student victim has the right to file a written complaint with the university student conduct system against another student. To file a formal written complaint, the victim should go to or call the University Student Conduct Office and ask for the IVRT officer or a student conduct officer. The victim will have the right to file or not to file a complaint. The university will change the victim's academic schedule and on-campus living situation if changes are requested, appropriate to the situation, and reasonably available.
  • The University Student Conduct System's procedures and policies are fully detailed in the "Student Code of Conduct," which is available from the University Student Conduct Office, 753-1571, and on the NIU homepage under Student Affairs & Enrollment Management: Student Resouces: Sexual Assault Policy. These procedures are sensitive to the rights of all concerned. The Accused Student and the Complainant are each entitled to have an advisor accompany them to a hearing. Attorney(s) will not be allowed to address the University Student Conduct Board or officers, but will be allowed to serve in an advisory capacity. Both the Accused and the Complainant shall be informed of the outcome of proceedings involving alleged sex offenses. Sanctions available to be imposed through university student conduct proceedings after a finding of responsible range from a suspension to expulsion from the university.
  • Any complaints of a sexual nature against university employees should be addressed to the university Office of Affirmative Action and Equity Services for review and appropriate action.
  • Any complaints of sexual assault, rape or sexual abuse against visitors should be addressed to the NIU Public Safety Department for review and appropriate action.

D. Pursuing Criminal Charges

Every victim of a sexual assault maintains the personal right to file criminal charges with the appropriate local law enforcement agency in addition to filing an incident report within the university. The university makes known these rights and will reasonably assist students in such filings when requested. For more information about pursuing a criminal charge, individuals may call the University Police (753-1212) or the University Office of Community Standards & Student Conduct (753-1571), or contact any other IVRT office (see Section F, below). Ultimately, the decision to report the crime or make a complaint is up to the individual complainant. A victim who delays in filing a charge may jeopardize an investigation. Should a criminal complaint be filed, it will be helpful for the complainant to provide the police with all relevant details and available evidence. Forensic evidence that supports a legal case against an assailant should be collected as soon as possible, preferably within a few hours (see Section E, "Health Care After a Sexual Assault," below). Victims are advised not to bathe, douche, shower or change clothes prior to the examination, in order to preserve evidence.

E. Health Care After a Sexual Assault

Victims of any sexual assault are encouraged to seek health care services such as those offered by the University Health Service during hours of operation and, at night and on weekends, at the Kishwaukee Hospital Emergency Room. (Victims may have the assistance of advocates provided by Sexual Assault/Abuse Services who will come to the Emergency Room at the hospital.) As appropriate, medical services include being examined for physical injury and/or disease, being made aware of the risk of pregnancy and, if considering criminal action, collecting physical evidence that supports a legal case against an assailant. Such evidence should be collected as soon as possible, preferably within a few hours (see Section D, "Pursuing Criminal Charges," above).

F. Student Services of the Interpersonal Violence Response Team (IVRT)

The Interpersonal Violence Response Team at NIU provides emergency and follow-up services to student victims of sexual assault. All such services are confidential. These services include but are not limited to the following:

  • NIU Health Service will provide emergency medical treatment as necessary; and medical follow-up as needed (753-1311).
  • NIU University Police* will provide investigation of reported cases of sexual assault by interviewing the victim and collecting on-site evidence; and follow-up investigation for possible prosecution (753-1212).

If the victim was sexually assaulted off-campus within the City of DeKalb, the DeKalb Police (748-8400) will provide these services.

  • NIU Counseling & Student Development Center will provide face-to-face counseling and follow-up support for the victim; support during the medical examination and police investigation; and support and counseling for secondary victims of sexual assault (753-1206).
  • NIU Office of Community Standards & Student Conduct will provide administrative disciplinary review of the sexual assault, and when judged appropriate, issue a temporary sanction to endeavor assurance of a victim's safety (753-1571).
  • Safe Passage (an affiliated off-campus agency) provides 24-hour access to Counselor/Advocates for crisis intervention; in-person and/or telephone counseling and follow-up support for victims and secondary victims; support during medical examination, police investigation and legal proceedings; and referral services (758-7922).
  • Victim Advocacy Services helps students navigate the various systems within the University needed for his or her safety and recovery, including support during a medical examination, police investigations, or conduct hearing. Located at the Women's Resource Center, 815-753-0320.

G. Educational Information and Programs

Information and programs concerning sexual assault, its nature and prevention, are coordinated by the Health Enhancement for students, and by Human Resource Services for employees. Such interventions may include mandatory sexual assault prevention workshops for all incoming students, posters and flyers posted in living units and university buildings, advertisements in the Northern Star and presentations/workshops in classes, living units and other relevant settings.

H. Protocols for Confidentiality and University Reporting

As detailed in Section B above, the victim has a right to privacy and to make the decision to file or not file a report. IVRT offices may not reveal the victim's name or other identifying information concerning the incident that could compromise the victim's privacy without his/her consent, except where a clearly documented, compelling good faith legal compulsion to disclose exists. In addition, agencies such as the Counseling and Student Development Center and the University Health Service are further bound by state statutes and professional ethics from disclosure without written releases. In circumstances in which it is necessary for the university to take steps to protect the safety of the victim and/or the university community, it should be done in a manner which would foreseeably not compromise the privacy of the victim.

IVRT team officers make anonymous reports (no name or other identifying information which can lead to the identity of the victim) of sexual assaults on a standard IVRT Report form to the IVRT Coordinator (a designee by the Vice President of Student Affairs & Enrollment Management from one of the IVRT offices). The IVRT coordinator may share information from these forms with other IVRT offices for planning/team coordination purposes and, as necessary, for data for official university statistical reporting as required by statute.

As a matter of reasonable mutuality and respect for university fact-finding interests and victim privacy interests, the victim and any witnesses to an incident should limit or avoid personal discussion of the details of the incident to public media representatives. This forbearance on the part of the victim and any other witnesses is necessary and appropriate to avoid jeopardizing the integrity and utility of relevant investigations.

I. Interpersonal Violence Response Team and Interpersonal Violence Programming and Networking Committee

These two entities, composed of campus and community law enforcement and service providers, jointly serve as the community task force specified in state mandate 110 ILCS 12/10 for the purpose of "coordinating with community leaders and service providers to prevent sexual assaults and to ensure a coordinated response both in terms of law enforcement and victim services." The Division of Student Affairs & Enrollment Management coordinates both committees.

J. Summary

In summary, the university makes a reinforced good faith effort through security measures, education, and policy to reduce the prevalence of sexual assault. University policy and intentions notwithstanding, the potential arises in any environment for problems such as sexual assault to occur. It is the university's intention in these instances to treat all involved parties humanely and within the bounds of law and policy.

This document is intended to comply with relevant parts of the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990, as amended, 20 USC 1092(f), and the implementing federal regulations, 34. CFR 668.47(a)(12). This Policy Statement may be amended by the university as necessary to conform to future changes in state and federal law.

Northern Illinois University Policy