After experiencing sex or gender-based violence, you have many options to ensure your safety and/or to hold the perpetrator responsible. All options are available to you, in any order, and in any combination.
I want the University to investigate…
I want the University to help me and to hold the perpetrator accountable…
You may report directly to the Office of Title IX. They can help with housing and academic accommodations, as well as No Contact Orders, information on the campus disciplinary process, medical assistance, reporting to law enforcement, and other support and resources. Please note that under Virginia law, the University is required to notify the police if a felony is reported.
I am afraid that I will get in trouble because I had been drinking…
UMW will grant limited amnesty to a student who has been the victim of sex or gender- based violence or harassment from drug, alcohol, and other student conduct policies.
This happened when I was a freshman and I am now a senior. Can I still report? Can my perpetrator still be held accountable?
There is no time limit for reporting to the University. However, UMW’s ability to respond may diminish over time, as evidence may erode, memories may fade, and the perpetrator may no longer be affiliated with the University. However, help, resources, and support are still available to you.
|Contact the Office of Title IX:
I am too afraid to give my name…
You can report online or anonymously by visiting:
www.umw.edu/police/reporting-a-crime/silent-witness-form/ Reporting anonymously does not preclude you from reporting the incident to the Office of Title IX when you are ready.
I want to involve the police…
UMW Police can assist you in obtaining medical treatment, counseling, support, and protective orders, and other police services. UMW Police will work with you to determine if a criminal investigation will occur.
A report to the UMW police can be made independently of any actions you take on campus. The UMW Police can help you pursue criminal legal options, while Title IX assists with administrative options. UMW Police Department also serves the Stafford and Dahlgren campuses.
Contact UMW Police:
UMW Police and Public Safety
Emergency: (540) 654-4444
Non-Urgent: (540) 654-1025
Stafford Campus Security
South Information Desk,
I want to talk to the Fredericksburg Police Department…
The UMW Police can assist you in notifying Fredericksburg Police Department if a crime has occurred off campus, or you can call the non-emergency number 540-373-3122 to make a report. If it is an emergency, always dial 911.
If a warrant is issued for your abuser’s arrest, you may be entitled to certain rights. Victim Witness Program staffers can explain those rights, in addition to providing courtroom assistance, case notification, financial assistance, protection and referrals to area service providers. You can contact the Victim Witness Program at 540-993-1660.
I want to file for a Protective Order…
What is a Protective Order?
A Protective Order is a civil legal document issued by a judge or magistrate to protect the health and safety of a person who is alleged to be a victim of any act involving violence, force or threat that results in bodily injury or places that person in fear of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury. To be eligible for a protective order, you must have been subjected to an act or threat of violence that results in bodily injury or places you in reasonable fear of death, sexual assault or bodily injury. If you are afraid of or intimidated by your abuser, a protective order may prevent the offender from contacting you or coming near you. The abuser can be arrested and jailed if they violate the protective order.
Where do I go to get a Protective Order?
If the person from whom you want protection is a family member or juvenile, you should go to the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court (J&DR) at 615 Princess Anne Street in Fredericksburg. Call first (540-372-1068) to ensure a judge is available. For all other cases, go to the General District Court at 701 Princess Anne Street in Fredericksburg. The clerk can contact Victim Witness staffers if you need assistance. Remember: Cell phones are not allowed in either court building.
What should I bring with me when filing for a Protective Order?
You should bring the name, address, and identifying information of the person from whom you are seeking protection and a full description of the event that led you to seek a protective order. You should also bring your copy of the Emergency Protective Order and information about the warrant or petition alleging an act of violence, force, or threat, if either was issued.
Who will go with me?
You can request court accompaniment for emotional support from several service providers:
- The Confidential Victim Advocate within Talley Center Counseling Services (540-654-1053),
- The Victim Witness Assistance Program: (540) 993-1660
- RCASA: (540) 371-1666
- Empowerhouse: (540)373-9373
I want to talk to an attorney….
For legal help, you can contact Legal Aid Works® to see if you qualify for free legal services.
What can an attorney do to help me?
An attorney can help you understand your rights, explain the legal system, and give you knowledgeable advice about your legal options as a survivor.
Will my meeting with a lawyer be confidential?
Yes. Attorneys will keep your information completely confidential and will not disclose what you discuss unless you specifically agree to disclose it.
Do I really need a lawyer?
Our legal system is designed to function best when each side in a dispute is represented by a lawyer.
Is the prosecutor my lawyer?
No. The prosecutor, called Commonwealth’s Attorney in Virginia, represents the Commonwealth of Virginia if the alleged perpetrator is charged with a crime. The Commonwealth’s Attorney puts the perpetrator on trial and tries to get a criminal conviction against the perpetrator. At the criminal trial, the perpetrator has the right to be represented by a defense attorney. The prosecutor might call you as a witness to testify against the perpetrator.
If the violence against me is a crime, why would I want to consider going to civil court?
In civil court, you might want to consider other legal remedies besides having the perpetrator found guilty of a crime. You can ask an attorney about getting a protective order (which could prevent the perpetrator from contacting you) or filing a civil claim for money damages against the perpetrator.
How can I find a lawyer?
You can find a lawyer to give you advice in one of several ways. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, you can see if you qualify for free legal services. Call Legal Aid Works (540) 371-1105 to see if you are eligible (low income) www.legalaidworks.org.
You might ask friends or family members to refer you to an attorney they know and trust. You can call the Virginia Lawyer Referral Service (800-552-7977). You will be referred to an attorney who will give you 30 minutes of advice for a $35 fee. That is a good way to find out some basic information and decide if you need an attorney for your legal issue.
If you have a general legal question, go to www.virginia.freelegalanswers.org. You can pose your question online and a volunteer attorney will answer your question for no charge.