If someone shares with you an experience of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, dating/domestic violence, or stalking, below are some things to keep in mind:

  • Listen. Don't judge.
  • Don't probe for details.
  • Ask if they have safety concerns and if they do, utilize these safety resources
  • Know and be clear and up-front about your ability to maintain confidentiality or not
  • Let them take the lead. These types of experiences take away someone's power—don't compound this effect by forcing your opinions on them.
  • Avoid unsolicited touching or hugging.
  • Acknowledge what you don't know and avoid making promises or predictions about things you don’t control.
  • Encourage them to contact an advocate or other confidential resource for support.
  • If they are receptive to seeking medical attention, offer to go with or help them connect with an advocate who can do so.
  • If they are interested in reporting the incident to the police and/or OSMRC, offer to go with or help them connect with an advocate who can do so.
  • If they indicate they are struggling with their university commitments due to the situation, let them know that OSMRC may be able to assist with supportive measures
  • Beyond meeting your reporting obligations, keep the information private and don’t talk about it to others.  
  • Know that retaliation is prohibited. Don’t contribute to an environment in which retaliation occurs. 

If someone tells you they have been accused of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, dating/domestic violence, or stalking below are some things to keep in mind:

  • Listen. Don’t judge.
  • Don’t probe for details.
  • Know and be clear about your ability to maintain confidentiality or not.
  • Acknowledge what you don’t know and avoid making promises or predictions about things you don’t control.
  • Encourage them to contact confidential resources.
  • Refer them to OSMRC if they have questions about university actions being taken.
  • If they indicate they are struggling with their university commitments due to the situation, let them know that OSMRC may be able to assist with supportive measures
  • Beyond meeting your reporting obligations, keep the information private and don’t talk about it to others.
  • Know that retaliation is prohibited. Don’t contribute to an environment in which retaliation occurs.

Relationships are built on trust. There are times when trust is lost because someone makes a promise of confidentiality that they later learn they cannot keep. It is for this reason that we encourage all employees of the university to avoid making assurances of confidentiality when confronted with disclosures about past or current experiences of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, dating/domestic violence, or stalking. Law and policy requirements—driven by concerns about campus safety—may override a request or desire to maintain confidentiality. That said, simply because something needs to be reported does not mean someone will be forced into an unwanted process or that their information will not be kept private.

Know your reporting responsibilities

Depending on your role as a University of Iowa employee, you may have reporting responsibilities. As your role changes, your reporting responsibilities may also change, so we encourage all staff and faculty to be familiar with these pages.

To determine if you are a mandated reporter under university policy, follow these steps.

1. Determine if you are an Academic or Administrative Officer (AAO)

If you are...

  • A collegiate dean (including associate deans and assistant deans)
  • A faculty member with administrative responsibilities at the level of departmental executive officer (DEO) or above
  • Any staff member whose primary job responsibility is to provide advice regarding a student's academic pursuits or other university-related activities
  • Any faculty or staff member serving as departmental (or collegiate) director or coordinator of undergraduate or graduate studies, or as a director or coordinator of any departmental, collegiate, or university off-campus academic program (including any study-abroad program)
  • The president, director of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, sexual misconduct response coordinator, vice president (including assistant and associate vice presidents), provost (including assistant and associate provosts), or those persons' designees
  • A director or supervisor in an employment context, including faculty and staff who supervise student employees, in relation to matters involving the employees they supervise (other than Department of Public Safety personnel when receiving criminal complaints or reports)
  • A human resource representative (including all central university Human Resources staff)

... then you are an AAO and must report disclosures of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, dating/domestic violence, or stalking. The Resources for AAOs page contains information about what to do.

2. Determine if you are a Campus Security Authority (CSA)

Even if you are not an AAO, you may have reporting responsibilities as a Campus Security Authority (CSA) as defined by the federal Clery Act.

If you are...

  • Working in the campus police department or a campus security department
  • An individual with responsibility for campus security (e.g., an individual who is responsible for monitoring the entrance into institutional property)
  • An individual to which students and employees should report criminal offenses
  • An official of an institution who has significant responsibility for student and campus activities, including, but not limited to, student housing, student discipline, and campus judicial proceedings

...then you are a CSA and must report crimes that occur on campus or near campus, including sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, or stalking. The Resources for CSAs page contains information about what to do.

3. Determine other reporting responsibilities

Under state law and university policy, all university employees who in the course of employment receive information related to physical or sexual abuse of children must immediately report such information to the University of Iowa Police

To find out if you are an Academic or Administrative Officer (AAO), go to the Mandated Reporter Defined page. The Interim Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct provides additional information about AAOs and their responsibilities. 

Additionally, under state law and university policy, all university employees who in the course of employment receive information related to physical or sexual abuse of children must immediately report such information to the University of Iowa Police

Responding to Disclosures as an AAO

As a university employee, you may learn of an incident of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, dating/domestic violence, or stalking. How you respond is very important, both for the person disclosing and for university policy. OSMRC is here to help - contact us to consult or request training for your department. Download a PDF version of this guide for responding to disclosures as an A/AO.

1. Clarify:

As soon as you think you might be hearing about sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking, let them know about your responsibilities and the limits of your confidentiality.

Suggested language:

"I want to make sure you know that there are limits to my confidentiality. I am obligated to share information related to [sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking] so that someone can get in touch with you to make sure you know where to turn for help."

"This conversation may feel uncomfortable. I want to acknowledge that, but I will do my best to help you feel safe during this time."

2. Listen:

Start by believing. Remember what barriers they may have had to overcome to share this information. This isn't the time to press for details.

Suggested language:

"Thank you for sharing this information with me and trusting me with it."

"You've been through a lot."

"I'm sorry you had that experience."

"It's not your fault."

3. Check:

Ask if they have immediate safety concerns. If necessary, contact the Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP) (319-335-6000), Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP) (800-373-1043), or Threat Assessment Program (319-384-2955) for help with safety planning.

Suggested language:

"Do you have any immediate safety concerns?"

"Do you feel safe at work? At home?"

4. Refer:

Refer them to RVAP or DVIP. Give them a copy of the Resource and Referral Guide.

Suggested language:

"Here is the contact information for people who can help you."

"An advocate can support you and help you with any hurdles that may come up in this process."

5. Report:

Inform them of options available under the policy (i.e., supportive measures, formal grievance process, or adaptable resolution).

Provide notice of the allegations to OSMRC within two business days.

In cases involving an employee Respondent, provide notice of the allegations to the senior human resources leadership representative of the unit in which the alleged behavior occurred or, when incidents do not occur within a unit, notify the senior human resources leadership representative of the Respondent.

Inform them that you will be contacting OSMRC and that OSMRC may be reaching out to them.

After reporting:

It is common to be uncertain about how much and what type of assistance it is appropriate to provide. For example, you may want "to get to the bottom of it" or confront the Respondent, especially if they are someone with whom you are acquainted or if you feel a personal connection with the person who disclosed. Resist this inclination.

University policy prohibits unauthorized investigations or other attempts to informally resolve reports of sexual misconduct. Even with good intentions, you may exacerbate a situation or compromise a future investigation. 

An individual is presumed not responsible for reported misconduct unless and until there's a determination of responsibility by a preponderance of evidence.

Supportive Measures

You may be able to provide essential and immediate assistance by providing an accommodation or other supportive measure. If someone needs more than you are able to provide or feel comfortable providing, don't hesitate to contact OSMRC. We often work with employees who are trying to assess what constitutes a reasonable request for flexibility.

The Clery Act

The Clery Act requires colleges and universities that participate in federal financial programs to keep and disclose information about crime on or near campus. Campus Security Authorities (CSAs) are required under the Clery Act to report information to university police about crimes that occur on or near campus. 

CSAs are defined as officials of an institution who have significant responsibility for student and campus activities, including, but not limited to, student housing, student discipline, and campus judicial proceedings. To find out if you are a CSA, visit the Mandated Reporter Defined page.

Additionally, under state law and university policy, all university employees who in the course of employment receive information related to physical or sexual abuse of children must immediately report such information to the University of Iowa Police

How to report

The Department of Public Safety has an online incident reporting form for reporting a crime that has occurred on campus, including sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, or stalking. Names and identifying information do not need to be shared. Data are used for statistical purposes only, with the goal of providing transparency. 

Annual security reports are available for download from the Department of Public Safety website

Training

The University of Iowa Police provides Clery Act compliance oversight, including an ICON course for employees. To access the course:

  • Log into Self Service using your HawkID and password.
  • Select the "Personal" tab.
  • Locate the "Learning and Development" links and select the "My Training" link.
  • Select the "Available Online Icon Courses" link (near the top of the page).
  • Select on the "Campus Security Authorities" link and follow the onscreen prompt to register for the course.

Whether you have reporting responsibilities or not, familiarize yourself with the Tips for Responding to Disclosures and Tips for Responding to Someone Accused.

Friends and family members are often in the best position to provide needed support to an individual who has experienced harm or been accused of causing harm to someone else. A friend or family member is usually the first, and often only, person to learn about an incident of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, dating/domestic violence, or stalking. A friend or family member is also likely the first to hear when an individual receives notice that they have been accused of harming someone else.

In either situation, individuals with the strongest emotional attachments may be inclined to question their son, daughter, or friend's decision-making. An individual’s call for help might become an "I told you so" moment or a lecture on personal safety and risk reduction. This is a natural way of coping with a difficult situation. Unfortunately, it may add to feelings of blame or guilt that reduce the likelihood of someone reporting an incident or asking for needed assistance.  

In addition to being familiar with how to respond to a disclosure or to someone accused, friends and family members may be in the best position to identify when someone is struggling to cope. You and your loved one are not alone. There are confidential resources available to offer support. 

There are a wealth of opportunities to learn more and get involved.

Schedule a workshop for your student organization or department

Ending Violence at Iowa is a resource for learning about the initiatives, workshops, and other opportunities to get involved in anti-violence work on campus. There's an online form that can be used to request a workshop.

Take a class

The University of Iowa offers classes on numerous topics that intersect with studies on sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, dating/domestic violence, and stalking.  Earn credit and become more knowledgeable at the same time; here are current course offerings. The university offers an interdisciplinary undergraduate certificate, Resilience & Trauma-Informed Perspectives. More information is located in the University of Iowa Course Catalog.

In addition to for-credit classes, students and employees can take free classes through the Department of Public Safety to increase both self-confidence and preparedness for assault and other crimes. 

Volunteer

Local advocacy agencies all depend on volunteers to provide on-call services, prevention education activities, and/or other projects.  Use the provided hyperlinks to learn about opportunities to get involved at RVAP and DVIP

The Women's Resource and Action Center (WRAC) also welcomes volunteers.  Check their websites to learn more about ongoing or event-specific opportunities.

Encourage your student organization or service club to direct a philanthropic project toward an organization involved in anti-violence work.

Engage in research or scholarship

If you're a faculty member or student with interest or expertise on a topic related to sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, dating/domestic violence, or stalking, research opportunities abound. Together, we can facilitate collaboration across campus and within the community to improve system response, promote evidence-based prevention strategies and recommend effective training. 

Join the UI Anti-violence Coalition

The UI Anti-violence Coalition works to ensure continuous improvement in policies, procedures, and prevention efforts.

Raise awareness

Educational posters and slides can be downloaded for free from the Ending Violence at Iowa site to help raise awareness about these issues.