Criminal Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault Prevention Tips

  • Dont ignore sudden feelings of mistrust just because you have known someone for a long time.
  • At parties and bars keep a friend in sight. Watch out for each other and check in from time to time to make sure youre both comfortable with how things are going.
  • Trust your instincts, if you find yourself in a situation where something feels wrong, look for a way out of the situation. Make attempts to get closer to other people or seek out a safe way to go home.
  • A person who is drunk is unable to legally consent to any sexual activity. Alcohol consumption is not an excuse for someone to be sexually assaulted.

Law Enforcement Options/Considerations

Survivors of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the GVSU Police Department. All of our male and female police officers are trained in handling incidents of sexual assault and are available to meet with you. Contacting law enforcement does not mandate a police report. Every step of this process is your choice.

  • If desired, an officer will meet you privately at a place of your choice.
  • If you are an adult, we will not notify your parents but can facilitate, if requested.
  • Officers will assist by connecting you to on campus and area sexual assault resources including medical services, transportation to the nurse examiner program, confidential counseling services, obtaining personal protection orders or connecting with other police agencies in the event that the assault did not occur on campus
  • If desired, your case will be investigated and you will be regularly updated on its status.
  • If desired, your case can be submitted for criminal prosecution, university judicial proceedings, or as a civil matter. This does not have to be done when you talk to an officer.
  • You and your concerns will be treated with courtesy, sensitivity, dignity, understanding and professionalism.
  • You will be listened to without judgment or blame for what occurred.
  • Your circumstances will be considered regardless of gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or gender status of the suspect.
  • Post incident, we will continue to be available for questions and answers regarding your options in this matter.

The university will make all reasonable efforts to ensure the preservation of confidentiality, restricting information only to those with a legitimate need for it. Survivors are encouraged to connect with university and community resources. University Counseling Center may notify the survivor about university and community resources.

Michigan Law

Under Michigan law, sexual assault is called criminal sexual conduct (CSC). There are four degrees or categories. First, second, and third degree CSC are felonies. Fourth degree CSC is a misdemeanor. Assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct is a felony. Conviction of any CSC charge can carry a substantial prison term. However, severity of the sentencing depends on a number of factors. These laws can be very complicated. Additional information about Michigan law can be found at Sections 750.520A-750.520L are specific to sexual assault.

Health/Personal Safety Options

It is highly recommended that survivors seek medical treatment from a nurse examiner program following a sexual assault. Nurse examiner programs have the ability to collect the evidence that is necessary for medical and/or forensic evaluation and court testimony if the accused is prosecuted. Both Ottawa and Kent counties have nurse examiner programs (see addresses below). In some cases, a victim may prefer to be treated at a hospital closer to their home.

Hospital treatment is recommended in situations where there is serious physical harm including loss of consciousness or blow to the head, continual vaginal bleeding following the assault, possible broken bones, a laceration requiring stitches, abdominal or chest pain, pregnancy, or other serious medical or emergency conditions.

Although it is not an absolute deadline, it is strongly encouraged that physical evidence be collected within 48 hours or as soon as is reasonably possible. The collection of medical evidence does not presume that charges will be filed against the assailant; the filing of a criminal charge is always the choice of the survivor. To protect important physical evidence, survivors should not shower, bathe, brush their teeth, or change clothing prior to going to a nurse examiner program or the hospital. If possible, the survivor should take precautions to preserve the location of the assault if criminal prosecution is desired. Even if a survivor has showered or a time lapse of five days has occurred, it is still strongly encouraged that an assault survivor seeks medical treatment.

Nurse Examiner Programs

Survivors are encouraged to call in advance prior to going to either location. 24-hour services are available.

YWCA of Grand Rapids
25 Sheldon Blvd. Grand Rapids, MI 49503 (616) 776-RAPE (24 hour crisis hotline)

Center for Women in Transition
411 Butternut Drive Holland, MI 49424 (616) 392-1970 or (800) 848-5991

University Judicial Options

Survivors of sexual assault that occur on university property and/or by another Grand Valley student may file a judicial referral with the coordinator for university judiciary. This referral can be filed regardless of whether the victim decides to file criminal charges. With regard to the university judicial process, survivors will be treated with respect and sensitivity at all times.

When a survivor expresses a concern about sexual assault, they will be informed of the availability of a university employee, designated to provide support. The role of the sexual assault support person includes the following: to share resources (both on and off campus); to explain the universitys sexual assault policy; the following: to share resources (both on and off campus) to explain the universitys sexual assault policy, to assist with the filing of a complaint (internal and external to the university) to accompany the individual to any meetings related to the complaint, and to help the individual sort through their options and choices.

If the accused student denies the charges and requests a hearing, the survivor will be notified of the hearing. The survivor may present written evidence to be used at the hearing, may testify at the hearing, and is entitled to a copy of the written decision and sanction. If the incident was reported to the campus police, an officer may attend the hearing and assist in presenting facts learned during the investigation.

The accused student and the survivor may each have one advisor present at the hearing. If the accused student admits the policy violation, the survivor is entitled to a copy of the written sanction. The survivor or the accused student may appeal the decision and/or sanction.

Sanctions for students found responsible through the university judicial process for committing sexual assault may include one or more of the following: warning; restitution; work assignment/community service; probation; loss of privileges; loss of the right to live in university housing; counseling; denial or revocation of a university honor; scholarship or degree; suspension; and/or dismissal from the university.

Prevention/ Education Efforts

Programs dealing with rape, acquaintance rape, and other sex offenses are presented on a regular basis at a variety of student educational activities, including orientation prior to classes, on-campus residential life programs and first-year orientation classes. Most of the programs are sponsored by the Counseling Center, the Office of Housing and Residential Life, the Womens Center, Police Department or Eyes Wide Open Peer Sexual Assault Education Student Group. In addition, self-defense classes are offered each semester through a program called R.A.D. (Rape Aggression Defense System). The sessions are taught by nationally certified R.A.D. instructors.

The Grand Valley State University Counseling Center provides counseling for survivors of sexual assault. Students are also made aware of counseling and support services in the community for survivors of sexual assault.

Related Links:

Sexual Offender Registry (SOR)

Offender Tracking Information System (OTIS)