How to Get Help
If you are a victim of sexual misconduct involving sexual intercourse or contact, we encourage you to do the following:
- Get to a safe place as soon as you can.
- Try to preserve all physical evidence. Do not wash clothes or use the toilet. Put all clothing you were wearing at the time of the attack in a paper bag, not in a plastic bag.
- Get medical attention as soon as possible. A medical examination will provide any necessary treatment and collect important evidence. Injuries may not be immediately apparent.
- Contact Security by calling 8888 (from a campus phone) or (757) 233-8888. On campus, a blue light emergency phone will connect you directly to the Security dispatcher.
- Talk with a counselor who will maintain confidentiality, help explain your options, give you information, and provide emotional support. On campus, you can call the Student Counseling Center at (757) 455-3131. When the Counseling Center is closed, a College counselor is on-call and may be reached by either Security personnel or Residence Life Staff/Resident Assistants; you only need to say that you would like to speak with the counselor on call.
- RESPONSE Sexual Assault Support Services of the YWCA at 622-4300 is a local organization that is available on a 24-hour basis and can provide sexual assault advocacy, counseling, and information and education. RESPONSE has a contract with the College to provide assistance to any VWC student, faculty or staff member who has been sexually assaulted. Certain on-campus professional staff members are specially trained and available to respond to incidents involving sexual assault and these include, but are not limited to, the Associate Director of Student Counseling services at 455-3131 and the Director of Health Services at 455-3108.
- Contact someone you trust, such as a close friend, to be with you and support you.
- Contact one of VWC’s Deputy Title IX Coordinators for students: Director of Residence Life McCarren Caputa at (757) 233-8709 or Director of the Batten Center Jason Seward at (757) 455-2124. They can talk with you about your options on campus and refer you to resources available on campus.
Many individuals experience sexual misconduct and don't tell anyone about it at the time of the incident. If you were victimized weeks ago or even years ago, assistance is still available. Talking with someone now may help you better cope with abuse from the past.
Records show that most victims of sexual misconduct are women; however, it is important to know that men can also be victims. Male victims at VWC receive the same services and support as do female victims. Emotional support, counseling, and medical treatment are available to assist any individuals recovering from sexual misconduct.
It is important to seek immediate and follow-up medical attention for several reasons:
- To assess and treat any physical injuries you may have sustained.
- To determine the risk of sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy and take appropriate medical measures.
- To gather evidence that may aid criminal prosecution.
Physical evidence should be collected immediately—ideally within the first 24 hours. It may be collected later, but the quality and quantity of evidence may be diminished.
Immediate Emergency Services
A special hospital exam (PERK: Physical Evidence Recovery Kit) should be performed by an emergency department. VWC students can receive the exam at the following hospitals:
- Sentara Leigh Memorial Hospital Emergency Department
830 Kempsville Road
Norfolk VA 23502
- Sentara Bayside Hospital Emergency Department
800 Independence Blvd.
Virginia Beach, VA 23455
- Sentara Norfolk General Hospital Emergency Department
600 Gresham Drive
Norfolk, VA 23507
Hospital emergency departments follow national standards for survivor care, sexual misconduct exams, and evidence collection procedures. As long as you do not present your insurance card and are at least 18 years of age, your parents will not be notified. Should you choose, you can remain anonymous in order to report and receive care—just inform the triage nurse of your request for anonymity upon your arrival to an emergency room department. You will not be billed for treatment.
At the hospital, you may choose to undergo a PERK exam even if you are unsure whether you want to report the sexual misconduct to the police and want time to think about it. If you choose to report anonymously, hospital authorities will collect the evidence without revealing your identity to the authorities.
Counseling and Emotional Support
You may reach one of the Student Counseling Center’s counselors by calling (757) 455-5730 for Bill Brown or (757) 455-3131 for Marea Hyman during regular office hours. The Center’s staff also maintains an on-call schedule for emergencies and may be reached through Security at (757) 455-3349 or by contacting Residence Life staff or any RA. Counselors in this office are available to assist in a crisis situation and to provide you with any information about your options including medical assistance, psychological counseling, University judicial action, and legal prosecution.
These counselors can provide safe, confidential support for you during this difficult period. They can inform you of common reactions to crisis situations and discuss coping methods that may assist you immediately following the misconduct and later.
Talking about your concerns with one of these counselors may help you sort through feelings and decide what to do. You do not need to disclose your name if you call the Counseling Center for information. Counselors will not reveal your identity to anyone without your permission.
RESPONSE Sexual Assault Support Services of the YWCA at 622-4300 is a local organization that is available on a 24-hour basis and can provide sexual assault advocacy, counseling, and information and education. RESPONSE has a contract with the College to provide assistance to any VWC student, faculty or staff member who has been sexually assaulted.
Security officers or members of the Residence Life staff are always available to transport victims of sexual misconduct to the hospital. To arrange transportation, call Security at their emergency number 233-8888 or the regular number, 455-3349 and indicate your need for immediate assistance.
Non-Emergency Medical Procedures
Even if you choose not to have a hospital exam, it is still important to get medical attention. An exam, in these instances, may include treatment of any physical problems and arrangement of lab tests for sexually transmitted diseases and/or pregnancy. Any non-emergency treatment can be arranged on campus by calling the Student Health Center at (757) 455-3108 and making an appointment.
Reporting to Local Police
It is also appropriate to involve the local police if you choose to do so. A student may contact the Virginia Beach Police Department from a campus phone by dialing 9-911 or if it is not an emergency, by calling their non-emergency phone number at 385-5000.
A student may also wish to contact the Victim Assistance Program at 385-4401, located in the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, City of Virginia Beach Municipal Center.
Reporting an incident is a separate step from choosing to prosecute. When you file a report, you are not required to continue with legal proceedings.
By reporting to the Police you help to:
- Warn future victims.
- Apprehend the accused individual.
- Bring awareness to the community.
- Maintain future options regarding criminal prosecution, College Arbitration, and/or civil action against the accused individual.
When you report the incident, a local Police officer will talk to you about the events and may take notes during the conversation. You will be asked to remember, to the best of your ability, any information that may help to identify the accused individual, to include their physical descriptions (i.e., clothing, hair color, etc.). You may be asked questions about the location(s) of the incident, whether there are any other witnesses, and what happened before and after the incident. Many people are afraid to report alcohol or drug use to the police; however, it is important that your investigator know all the relevant facts (Please know that the College will extend limited immunity from its own judicial sanctioning for illegal alcohol use to victims, witnesses, and other individuals reporting incidents and/or assisting victims of sexual misconduct). The police officers and investigators are trained to handle your information with sensitivity, privacy, and respect.
The police officer will create a written report, which is important should you wish to bring charges, immediately or at a later date.
Criminal Investigation and Charges
If you choose to pursue criminal charges in your case, your assigned investigator will be available to assist you in understanding and following through with this process. The case itself will come under the jurisdiction of the Virginia beach courts. The Commonwealth Attorney will handle the criminal proceedings and will need to speak with you regarding your case. You may also wish to speak with your personal or family attorney for legal advice.
College Arbitration Procedures
If you are considering formal action after an incident of sexual misconduct, you are encouraged to consult one of VWC’s Deputy Title IX Coordinators for students: Director of Residence Life McCarren Caputa at (757) 233-8709 or Director of the Batten Center Jason Seward at (757) 455-2124. They can review the Title IX inquiry procedures and the procedures followed by the College's arbitration system.
If you are a victim or complainant of sexual misconduct and the accused or respondent is a non-student College employee, this is a violation of both the law and College policy. Complaints should be filed with Security or the College’s Title IX Coordinator, Director of Human Resources Karla Rasmussen at 455-3316.