Reporting an Incident
Due to the violent and extremely serious nature of sexual assault, the College strongly encourages individuals who have been sexually assaulted to contact the police. Reporting the assault to the police soon after the incident occurs may greatly increase the possibility of successful prosecution, should the victim decide to pursue criminal charges. It is extremely important to preserve all evidence of a sexual assault if criminal prosecution is to be considered.
Describing an assault is difficult but it is not something a victim must go through alone. Sexual assault victims may choose to have a support person with them during investigative interviews.
- An assistant district attorney from the Bucks County Districts Attorney’s office will represent the victim at no cost throughout the criminal proceedings. You may choose to have a NOVA representative accompany you to all criminal proceedings. You may speak with your personal or family attorney for legal advice.
- The Office of Security and Safety will supply the investigating police agency with a written copy of its report. If you are considering filing a criminal complaint, a police officer will be a part of the interview process.
This does not mean you are obligated to proceed with criminal charges. You may request that your identity be kept confidential until/unless you make a commitment to proceed with criminal or college prosecution.
Victims of sexual assault will be offered the opportunity to make a formal complaint through the College’s judicial system against the offender under the College’s Code of Conduct, if the offender is a member of the Bucks community. The College may pursue code of conduct charges regardless of whether any criminal charges are filed. However, the College’s judicial process is not intended to serve as a substitute for the criminal justice system. The College will initiate internal judicial proceedings in incidents of sexual assault when a student requests it and/or when subsequent investigation produces substantial evidence of a violation of College policy. Students will receive a copy of the Student Planner, which includes the College’s sexual misconduct and harassment policies, as well as complete information on the College’s judicial process.
If an individual who reports a sexual assault is harassed by anyone in connection with the incident, the harassment should be reported immediately to the Title IX Coordinator. Reporting such harassment will enable the College to investigate the allegations. Individuals have the option to have a victim’s advocate and/or any other advisor with them at all times throughout such procedures. Both the accuser and the accused shall be informed simultaneously of the outcome of any institutional disciplinary proceeding alleging a sexual offense. This includes the College’s final determination as well as any sanctions against the accused.