- If You Believe an Incident of Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, or Stalking Has Occurred
- University Response to a Reported Incident of Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, or Stalking
- Access to Medical and Safety Options
- Procedures the University Will Follow When a Crime of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking is Reported
- Assistance for Victims: Rights & Options
- Protective Orders
- Criminal Prosecution
- Information on Pursuing an Informal Resolution or Formal Complaint with the University Pursuant to Harvard University’s Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment Policy and Subsequent Proceedings
- Privacy Concerns
- How to Be An Active Bystander
- Prevention and Awareness Programs and Campaigns
- Resources for Advice and Counseling
- Harvard Resources
- Community Resources
- Definitions of Crimes for Clery Act Criminal Statistics
- Certain Definitions Under Massachusetts Law
If You Believe an Incident of Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, or Stalking Has Occurred
If you are in immediate danger and need help or want to speak to a specially trained officer about your situation, call the HUPD at 617-495-1212. When you report an incident to HUPD, you will be provided with immediate physical protection and transportation to a medical facility, if necessary. By contacting HUPD, you are not making a commitment to file charges or to testify in court. If you are uncertain whether a situation constitutes a criminal offense and/or a violation of University policy – either the Interim Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy (which was developed in response to the U.S. Department of Education’s recent changes to the Title IX regulations and covers sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking), the Interim Other Sexual Misconduct Policy (which covers misconduct that falls outside the jurisdiction of the Interim Title IX Sexual Misconduct Policy), or the Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment Policy (for allegations relating to conduct occurring between September 1, 2014 and August 14, 2020) – you should consult with the HUPD, the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention & Response (OSAPR), a Title IX Resource Coordinator, the University Title IX Office, the Office for Dispute Resolution (ODR), and/or Harvard resources, such as Harvard University Health Services (HUHS). You may also reach out to a staff member at your School, Department or unit, or another resource to seek support and information. The University Title IX Office also has information about community resources.
You are strongly encouraged to report instances of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and/or stalking to HUPD, though you have the right to choose not to make a report. Upon request, other University officials will assist you in notifying HUPD and/or local police. If you report that you have been the victim of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, whether on or off campus, you will be provided with a written explanation of your rights and options as well as resources and services available both at Harvard and in the community. If you believe an incident of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking has occurred, the HUPD strongly recommends that you:
- Call the HUPD at 617-495-1212 (Cambridge Campus) or 617-432-1212 (Longwood Campus) to report the incident. (You may also, if you prefer, report the offense to a local police department, such as Cambridge, Boston, or Somerville, even if the incident occurred on campus. The Cambridge Police Department’s Sexual Assault Unit may be reached directly by calling 617-349-3381. The Boston Police Department’s Sexual Assault Unit may be reached directly by calling 617-343-4400. The Somerville Police Department’s Family Services Unit may be reached directly by calling 617-625-1600 ext. 7237.) HUPD can arrange for an officer to transport you to Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) whether or not you decide to file a police report. You may call and request transportation to HUHS without divulging that you have been the victim of such an offense. Simply request a medical transport to HUHS and an officer will respond.
- Call the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention & Response (OSAPR) hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 617-495-9100. OSAPR provides confidential support and information to all members of the Harvard community impacted by intimate violence. OSAPR staff is trained to provide options, listen supportively, and provide referrals to services on and off campus. When applicable, these reported incidents also will be included in the Clery Act annual crime statistics, though without any identifying information.
- Preserve any physical evidence that may be necessary to prove that an incident of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking occurred or to obtain a protective order. Both the HUPD and HUHS can advise and assist you in the preservation of such evidence. It is important that you not bathe, douche, smoke, change your clothes or clean the area where you were assaulted if the assault took place within the past 72 hours. Try to write down everything you can remember about the alleged perpetrator, including a physical description, the use of force or threats, and any information you remember concerning the person’s identity. You should also save copies of email, text messages, instant messages, social networking pages, pictures, logs, or any other documents that could be helpful in an investigation of the incident.
- Seek medical and/or counseling assistance at HUHS. Even if you do not identify any urgent medical needs, you may be injured or at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection or becoming pregnant. You also may want to consider seeking a medical examination to obtain forensic evidence. You deserve immediate care, and members of the Harvard community have several on- and off-campus options.
- Seek information and access resources by contacting your School or Unit’s Title IX Resource Coordinator or the University Title IX Office. Title IX Resource Coordinators within your School or unit are available to explain and implement supportive measures (individualized supports that help individuals participate in campus life at Harvard and continue with their studies or work). To find your local School or unit Title IX Resource Coordinator, please visit: titleix.harvard.edu/coordinators. The University Title IX Office is responsible for coordinating Harvard’s compliance with Title IX and University policies addressing sexual harassment (which includes sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking) and other sexual misconduct, the procedures to file a formal complaint, and resources and options available both within the Harvard University community and beyond. The University Title IX Office can be reached by email at email@example.com, or by telephone: (617)-496-0200, and is located in the Smith Campus Center, Suite 901, 1350 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge.
- File a formal complaint alleging a violation of University policies with the University Title IX Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Harvard University Title IX Office and the Harvard University Office for Dispute Resolution (“ODR”) are responsible for implementing the University’s grievance procedures, which will determine whether a student committed a policy violation. ODR is a neutral body that impartially investigates complaints of sexual harassment and/or other sexual misconduct against students, staff, and, for most Schools, faculty. ODR investigations are handled by professional investigators working with the involved Schools and units. Any member of the Harvard community may reach out to ODR to request information or advice, including assistance in filing a formal complaint or in seeking information resolution after a complaint has been filed. ODR can be reached by email at email@example.com, or by telephone at (617) 495-3786, and is located in the Smith Campus Center, Suite 901, 1350 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge.
University Response to a Reported Incident of Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, or Stalking
You can expect the following to occur when you report an incident to the HUPD:
- HUPD offers emotional support, guidance and options for counseling to any individual who is a victim of a sensitive crime, such as, rape, sexual assault, relationship or domestic violence, harassment and stalking. HUPD’s specially trained officers will help guide you through a step-by-step process of exploring all available options.
- The HUPD’s Sensitive Crime Unit, which includes detectives from the Criminal Investigation Division and selected patrol officers, will be assigned to the case. All members of the Unit have been trained in the investigation of sexual offenses and other sensitive crimes and the impact of the crime on the victim.
- A uniformed or non-uniformed officer, by request, will respond to your location to assist you in obtaining medical treatment, assure your safety, and obtain a description of the alleged perpetrator.
- You will be interviewed (you may specifically request a female officer). A friend or counselor may be with you during the interview. All statements you make may be used during any subsequent legal proceedings. The officer will ask you for the location and time of the incident, a description of the alleged perpetrator, and a description of any injuries.
- You may request a medical examination (at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Rape Crisis Intervention Program, if appropriate) to ensure that you have suffered no physical injury and to complete a medical report that can be used in a court proceeding if charges are pressed. The examination will be conducted by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE.) Having a forensic medical examination does not mean you must file a police report or pursue criminal charges.
If an HUPD officer responds to your location and has reason to believe that you or another family or household member has been abused or is in danger of being abused, the officer must:
- Remain on the scene a reasonable time to prevent further abuse.
- Assist the abused person in obtaining medical treatment by providing or obtaining transportation.
- Assist the person in locating and getting to a safe place.
- Give the abused person a written explanation of his/her rights and options, reading it in English and, whenever possible, in the victim’s native language.
- Assist the person in applying for a restraining order (including activating the emergency judicial response system when the court is closed for business). Inform the person that the abuser, if arrested, is eligible for bail and may be promptly released.
Your identity will be maintained in confidence. Although a Timely Warning (“Community Advisory”) about the incident may be circulated in cases that present a serious or
continuing threat to the Harvard community, HUPD withholds victims’ names as confidential. Every effort will be made to maintain confidentiality and to respect the legitimate privacy concerns of all involved individuals.
- You will be given information about both internal and external resources, including how to bring a formal complaint within the University.
You can expect the following to occur when you report an incident to a School or unit Title IX Resource Coordinator:
Title IX Resource Coordinators serve in a neutral role and support all members of the Harvard community. Resource Coordinators have specialized experience in responding to disclosures of sexual harassment and other sexual misconduct in the Harvard community. They are also aware that your concerns may be of a sensitive nature and can offer supports to help you continue with your work or studies while maintaining appropriate discretion.
Contacting your School or unit Title IX Resource Coordinator is not the same as filing a formal complaint with the University Title IX Coordinator. Rather, Title IX Resource Coordinators are a resource to help you make an informed decision about which pathways are right for you.
School or unit Title IX Resource Coordinators can:
- Provide information about available resources
- Provide information on the University’s Policies and procedures, as well as any additional School or unit policies
- Explain the process for filing a formal complaint
- Facilitate informal resolution, as appropriate, between the parties, with a goal of reaching a mutually agreeable resolution
- Offer supportive measures with consideration of the impacted parties wishes with respect to supportive measures
Supportive measures are individualized supports to help those who may have experienced incidents of sexual harassment or other sexual misconduct, including sexual assault, participate in campus life at Harvard and continue with their studies or work.
Supportive measures may be implemented at any time and may include:
- Course-related extensions and adjustments
- University-issued and enforced no contact orders
- Work and/or course schedule adjustments
- Changes in housing and seating
- Leaves of absence
- Increased monitoring of certain areas of the campus
These are just a few examples of supportive measures. School or unit Title IX Resource Coordinators work with students, faculty, and staff to ensure that supportive measures are individually tailored to meet each individual’s unique needs.
If you have questions about supportive measures, do not hesitate to reach out to your School or unit Title IX Resource Coordinator.
It is important to know that you do not have to file a formal complaint with the University Title IX Coordinator or a report with HUPD in order to receive supportive measures.
If you have experienced sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking and other forms of interpersonal violence that can result in medical and safety issues, you may consider getting medical care. Although you might not identify urgent medical concerns following an incident, it can be helpful to speak with a provider about reducing the risk of sexually transmitted infections, HIV-transmission, and pregnancy. Members of the Harvard community have several on- and off-campus options:
Accessing a local hospital Emergency Department (ED): Hospitals in the local area provide a range of care pertaining to: treating violence-related injuries, forensic evidence collection (Sexual Assault Nurse Examination- SANE), screening for, preventing and treating infection and HIV, and pregnancy prevention services.** If you would like to access a local ED, you may:
- Choose to present at an ED on your own or with someone you trust.***
- Contact OSAPR, which may be able to assist you with transportation and/or medical accompaniment. You may reach OSAPR’s 24-hour hotline at 617-495-9100.
Going to Harvard University Health Services: If you have an urgent health problem (physical or emotional) that requires prompt attention but is not a life-threatening emergency, you may seek care and discuss further options with Harvard University Health Services:
- Visit HUHS Urgent Care, Smith Campus Center, 3rd Floor, 8:00 a.m. -10:00 p.m., 7 days a week (in-person care)
- Call HUHS Urgent Care Nurse Advice Line at 617-495-5711, 10:00 p.m. – 8:00 a.m., 7 days a week
- Note that HUPD will transport you to HUHS; you do not need to share with HUPD the reason you need to seek medical attention. You can call HUPD at 617-495-1212.
- Talking with Harvard University Police Department: If you are not currently in a safe place or if you have an emergency, you can call HUPD at 617-495-1212. Community members are encouraged to store HUPD’s phone number in their cell phone contacts.
*Note: If you call 911 from an on-campus phone, the call will go to either the Cambridge Police or the Boston Police depending on their location. As the HUPD maintains a good working relationship with both departments, they will typically inform the HUPD of the 911 call. Calling 911 from a cell phone will connect you with the Massachusetts State Police, which then will transfer the call to the appropriate jurisdiction, unless the incident occurred on state-owned property (e.g. the area around the Charles River and Fenway).
** Note: Many services related to sexual assault and other crimes may be accessed free of charge or may be eligible for reimbursement. If you have concerns about using insurance, or need assistance in accessing resources, please contact OSAPR or one of the SANE site hospitals below.
*** Note: Designated Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) site hospitals in the greater Boston area include: Beth Israel Deaconess Center, Boston Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s, Cambridge Hospital, Children’s Hospital – Boston, Massachusetts General Hospital, Newton Wellesley Hospital.
Procedures the University Will Follow When a Crime of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking is Reported
The University has procedures in place that serve to be sensitive to those who report sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, including informing individuals about their right to file criminal charges as well as the availability of counseling, health, mental health, victim advocacy, legal assistance, visa and immigration assistance, student financial aid and other services on and/or off campus as well as additional supportive measures to prevent contact between a complainant and an accused party, such as changes to housing, academic, protective orders, transportation and working situations, if reasonably available. The University will offer the complainant supportive measures and will make clear that they are available regardless of whether the complainant files a formal complaint or makes a report to HUPD or local law enforcement. Students and employees should contact their School or unit Title IX Resource Coordinator or the University Title IX Office for more information on supportive measures.
If a report of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking is reported to the University, below are the procedures that the University will follow:
Regarding conduct occurring on or after August 14, 2020
- Interim Title IX Sexual Harassment Procedures – developed in response to the U.S. Department of Education’s recent changes to the Title IX regulations, effective August 14, 2020.
- Interim Other Sexual Misconduct Procedures – developed to address misconduct that falls outside the jurisdiction of the Interim Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy, effective August 14, 2020.
Regarding conduct occurring between September 1, 2014 and August 14, 2020
Complete copies of all relevant policies and procedures can be found at: https://titleix.harvard.edu/policies-procedures .
Regardless of whether a victim elects to pursue a criminal complaint or whether the offense is alleged to have occurred on or off campus, the University will assist victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking and will provide each victim with a written explanation of their rights and options. Such written information will include:
the procedures victims should follow if a crime of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking has occurred;
- information about how the University will protect the confidentiality of victims and other necessary parties;
- a statement that the University will provide written notification to students and employees about victim services within the University and in the community;
- a statement regarding the University’s provisions about options for, available assistance in, and how to request changes to academic, living, transportation and working situations or other protective or supportive measures; and
- an explanation of the procedures for disciplinary action within the University
The University complies with Massachusetts law in recognizing Abuse Prevention Orders (obtained pursuant to M.G.L. Chapter 209A) and other valid orders of protection from Massachusetts or any other state. Any Harvard person who obtains an order of protection from domestic or dating abuse, harassment, stalking or sexual assault from any state in the country should provide a copy to the HUPD and to their School or unit Title IX Resource Coordinator.
The HUPD will: (1) attempt service of protective orders on defendants; and (2) arrest persons who are in violation of protective orders if there is a violation on campus. Additionally, HUPD will accept copies of active protective orders previously served so that information regarding the parties are made part of HUPD’s record management system and can be shared with all HUPD officers. Any person holding a protective order may meet with an HUPD officer to develop a safety action plan, the goal of which is to reduce risk of harm to the person while on campus or coming and going from campus. Each case is assessed independently. In coordination with other University offices, HUPD will help to put in place safety measures that may include, but are not limited to the use of a temporary escort, special parking arrangements, changing classroom location, supervisor, work location, and/or allowing a student to complete assignments from home, depending on the course. The University cannot apply on behalf of someone else for an abuse prevention order, no contact order or restraining order but can assist a person in obtaining such an order.
The University also may issue an institutional no contact order if deemed appropriate. Violators of an institutional no contact order are subject to discipline. For more information regarding how to obtain a University-issued no contact order, students and employees should contact their School or unit Title IX Resource Coordinator or the University Title IX Office.
Upon receipt of a report, disclosure, or formal complaint of sexual harassment or other sexual misconduct, Harvard University will provide written notification to students and employees about supportive measures available to them, including course related extension and adjustments, University-issued and enforced no contact orders, work and/or course schedule adjustments, changes in housing or seating, leaves of absence, or increased monitoring of certain areas of campus. academic, living, transportation, protective orders and working situations. The written notification will include information about how and where to request supportive measures (including the name, title, and contact information for the School or unit Title IX Resource Coordinator), notice that an impacted party does not need to file a formal complaint with the University Title IX Coordinator or report with HUPD in order to receive supportive measures, and information on the process for filing a formal complaint. When determining supportive measures, the University will consider the impacted parties wishes.
Individuals seeking supportive measures or need assistance in requesting supportive measures should contact their Title IX Resource Coordinator or the University Title IX Office. Contact information Title IX Resource Coordinators can be found here. Contact information for the University Title IX Office can be found here.
If you have experienced an incident of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, you may want your assailant identified, apprehended, and prosecuted in court. If you choose to proceed in this manner, notify the HUPD immediately for assistance and guidance.
For an understanding of the rights of a crime victim in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, please refer to the Victim Bill of Rights (M.G.L. Chapter 258B) or visit https://www.mass.gov/service-details/victim-bill-of-rights to download a summary. The Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance at https://www.mass.gov/orgs/massachusetts-office-for-victim-assistance/services also has created a guide for crime victims; the guide can be accessed directly at: https://www.mass.gov/doc/the-aftermath-of-crime-guidebook/download.
Information on Pursuing an Informal Resolution or Formal Complaint with the University Pursuant to Harvard University’s Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment Policy and Subsequent Proceedings
Regardless of whether you choose to pursue criminal prosecution, you may decide to initiate a formal complaint under Harvard’s Interim Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy (which includes, without limitation, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking) or Interim Other Sexual Misconduct Policy. In addition, the University’s Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment Policy addresses sexual harassment and other sexual misconduct alleged to have occurred between September 1, 2014 and August 14, 2020.
Some incidents of sexual harassment and/or other sexual misconduct may be resolved through an informal resolution process without a full investigation. If informal resolution is appropriate, an ODR investigator, your local Title IX Resource Coordinator, or the University Title IX Coordinator will work with the parties to reach a mutually acceptable resolution. Informal resolution is a voluntary process. Additional information about requesting an informal resolution is available in the applicable procedures.
If you are considering filing a formal complaint or seeking informal resolution, you are encouraged to consult your School or unit Title IX Resource Coordinator, the University’s Title IX Coordinator, or the Office for Dispute Resolution (ODR). ODR impartially investigates formal complaints of sexual harassment and other sexual misconduct against students, staff, and, for most Schools, faculty. ODR investigations are handled by professional investigators working with the involved Schools and units. Any member of the Harvard community may visit ODR to request information or advice, including how to file a formal complaint with the University Title IX Coordinator and assistance in seeking informal resolution. You are encouraged to bring your concerns to the relevant School or unit Title IX Resource Coordinator, the University Title IX Coordinator, or staff in ODR, but may, if you choose, contact another School or University officer, who will refer the matter as appropriate.
Individuals can access all University Policies as well as the relevant procedures for resolving allegations under these policies at: https://titleix.harvard.edu/policies-procedures .
Below is a brief summary of the procedures for seeking informal resolution and filing formal complaints for cases involving students, staff, and, in some cases, faculty.
- To access informal resolution under the Interim Procedures for Handling Formal Complaints Pursuant to the Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy, a formal complaint must first be filed.
- To access informal resolution under the Interim Procedures for Handling Formal Complaints Pursuant to the Other Sexual Misconduct Policy or the Procedures for Handling Complaints Pursuant to the Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment Policy, a request may be made either orally or in writing to a School or unit Title IX Resource Coordinator, the University Title IX Coordinator, or the Director of ODR.
Filing a Complaint and Initial Review
- The formal complaint process begins by filing a complaint that alleges sexual harassment, other sexual misconduct, or gender-based harassment against an alleged harasser.
- The complaint should state the name of the harasser (if known) and describe the incidents of harassment, including the date(s) and place(s) of such incident(s). The complaint may include a list of any sources of information (e.g., witnesses, correspondence, records).
- The initial review includes efforts to gather a more complete understanding of the allegations. The Investigative Team will determine, based on the evidence, if the formal complaint shall proceed to investigation or if a dismissal or administrative closure is warranted.
- Following the decision to begin an investigation, the Respondent will be provided the opportunity to submit a response to the allegations, including all sources of information (e.g., witnesses, correspondence, records).
- The Investigative Team will review the evidence and conduct individual interviews with the Complainant and the Respondent, and, as appropriate, with other witnesses, which may include those identified by the parties as well as relevant officers of the School or University or others.
- Prior to the conclusion of the investigation, the parties will be given an equal opportunity to review and respond to the evidence, consistent with the applicable procedures.
- In cases involving the Interim Procedures for Handling Formal Complaints Pursuant to the Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy, prior to the hearing process (described below) the investigative report will be provided to the Complainant, Respondent, and their advisors (if any). The investigative report includes recommended findings of facts applying a preponderance of the evidence standard and gives both parties the opportunity to submit a written response.
- In cases involving the Interim Procedures for Handling Formal Complaints Pursuant to the Other Sexual Misconduct Policy or Procedures for Handling Complaints Pursuant to the Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment Policy, at the conclusion of the investigation, the Investigative team will make findings of fact, applying a preponderance of the evidence standard, and will determine based on those findings of fact whether there was a violation of the Policy. A written draft of the findings of fact and analysis will be provided to the parties, who are then given the opportunity to submit a written response to the draft. The investigative team will consider any written responses before finalizing the report, which will then be provided to the Complainant (or reporter, if applicable), the Respondent, the School or unit Title IX Coordinator, and the appropriate School or unit.
(Applies only to cases reviewed under the Interim Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy)
- Following the conclusion of the investigation, the investigative report will be provided to a trained panel of decision-makers (comprised of trained experts within and outside the Harvard community), who conduct a live hearing.
- The Hearing Panel will issue a determination regarding responsibility, applying a preponderance of the evidence standard. The written determination will then be provided to the School or unit, so that it may separately consider the imposition of discipline through its own processes. At the conclusion of the School/unit discipline process, the Hearing Panel will be notified of the decision regarding discipline for inclusion in the final determination, which will be provided to both parties.
- Both parties may appeal the dismissal of a formal complaint or any allegation therein, the decision of the Investigative Team, or (if applicable) the Hearing Panel’s determination regarding responsibility. The grounds for appeal can be found within the applicable procedures.
- Appeals are considered by an impartial panel selected from a pool of trained faculty and administrators. All appeals are based solely on the written record. The parties and the School or unit Title IX Resource Coordinator will be informed of the outcome in writing.
The Complainant and Respondent each have the opportunity to bring a personal advisor of their choice to any meeting or other proceeding that is part of the investigation, including initial review or hearing (as applicable). The University will not limit the choice of advisor or presence of a personal advisor for either party. During interviews, personal advisors may not speak for their advisees, although they may ask to suspend the interviews briefly if they feel their advisees would benefit from a short break. During the hearing process, as referenced above, applicable only to formal complaints under the Interim Procedures for Handling Complaint Pursuant to the Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy, personal advisors will conduct cross examination at the live hearing.
All proceedings conducted shall be prompt, fair, and impartial. The University Title IX Coordinator, investigators, decision-makers, individuals who facilitate the informal resolution process, and School and unit disciplinary boards receive annual training consistent with requirements of Title IX and the Violence Against Women Act.
In all instances, the administration of discipline rests with the School or unit of the Respondent and imposition of discipline is handled through the School/unit process.
For additional information about the informal resolution process or the formal complaint process, you may reach out to a School or unit Title IX Resource Coordinator, the University Title IX Coordinator, or ODR. You can also find additional information in the applicable procedures.
Access to Records and Privacy
Harvard University will, upon written request, disclose to the alleged victim of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, the report on the results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by Harvard against a student who is the alleged perpetrator of such crime or offense. If the alleged victim is deceased as a result of such crime or offense, the next of kin of such victim shall be treated as the alleged victim for the purposes of this paragraph.
Further, Harvard may, in its discretion, disclose the final results of an internal disciplinary proceeding involving a student who is an alleged perpetrator of any crime of violence or a nonforcible sex offense if it has been determined as a result of that proceeding that the student committed a violation of Harvard’s rules or policies with respect to that conduct. The disclosure may include the student’s name, the violation committed, and the sanction imposed.
Such disclosures do not constitute a violation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”).
The University protects the confidentiality of persons who report having been victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking. As a general matter, HUPD does not publish the name of crime victims nor does it include identifiable information regarding victims in the HUPD crime log, in campus Timely Warnings, or online. Harvard shares personally identifiable information only with those who have a specific need to know and maintains as confidential information relating to any supportive measures to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair Harvard’s ability to provide the supportive measures.
In addition, in accord with Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 41, Section 97D and Chapter 265, Section 24C, HUPD will not publish, disseminate or otherwise disclose the name of any alleged victim of rape or assault with intent to rape, and will maintain all reports of rape and sexual assault (or attempts to commit those offenses) or abuse perpetrated by family or household members in a manner that will ensure their confidentiality. When applicable, however, reported incidents will be included in the Clery Act annual crime statistics, though without any identifying information.
Under M.G.L., Chapter 112, Section 12A1/2, when a victim of rape or sexual assault is seen at Harvard University Health Services, HUHS is required to forward a confidential report to the Police Chief or Commissioner in the jurisdiction in which the alleged assault occurred. This report will not include the victim’s name, address, or other identifying information, but will describe the general area where the attack occurred. When applicable, these reported incidents also will be included in the Clery Act annual crime statistics.
Students may opt out of public disclosure of directory information (as defined by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or “FERPA”) by requesting what is known as a “FERPA Block.” Students who wish to put in place a “FERPA Block” must inform an appropriate School official, usually the School’s Registrar, in writing, of that decision. Employees who would like assistance in keeping their identifiable information confidential should contact Human Resources Regardless of whether a victim has opted out of allowing the University to share “directory information,” personally identifiable information about the victim and other necessary parties will be treated as confidential and only shared with persons who have a specific need-to-know, i.e., those who are investigating/adjudicating the report or those involved in providing support services to the victim, including supportive and protective measures.
The Bystander Intervention prevention model supports individuals in group settings to recognize unwelcome conduct, identify points of escalation, and safely support peers with strategies that prevent further harm. This evidence-based approach can have a life-changing impact for individuals and whole communities. Opportunities to learn more about Bystander Intervention prevention models are available through the Title IX Office (titleix.harvard.edu).
Helping Harvard Become a Community of Active Bystanders
The information included here is not a call to action, but an invitation. Every member of the Harvard community has unique identities, backgrounds, and experiences that inform how safe and appropriate it may feel to take these steps. We encourage you to reflect on what feels accessible to you, and what strategies you can employ with confidence and care.
What is Bystander Intervention?
Bystander Intervention refers to a type of response to situations we may interpret as potentially harmful to another person or people. It requires that we recognize the potential for harm, contemplate our role in responding, and take some form of action.
Why are people hesitant to be active bystanders?
There are several reasons why bystanders may not choose to actively respond. Research has found:
- Individuals struggle with recognizing that something is wrong in the first place, especially when certain problematic situations or behaviors are treated as normal.
- Individuals question whether helping out is their responsibility. This concept, called diffusion of responsibility, means that if several people are present, an individual is much less likely to help, believing someone else will.
- Individuals may fail to intervene if the situation feels ambiguous and the bystander is worried about misjudging the situation. Fearing consequences, social stigma, embarrassment, it can be difficult for an individual to determine how and when to intervene.
- Bystanders may also have to make quick judgments about whether it is safe to intervene. Bystanders often cite that they are less likely to intervene if there is a threat to their physical safety.
What can I do?
Have you ever stopped a friend from going home with someone when they were very drunk? Have you reached out to resources for support on behalf of a peer or colleague? Have you been willing to call out racism, homophobia, sexism, and/or transphobia in someone’s jokes? Have you intervened when you notice someone is being bullied? These are all examples of being an active bystander. Active bystander intervention encourages people to watch for behaviors and situations that are harmful to others, and to step in when they can.
STRATEGIES FOR INTERVENTION
If you observe or hear of incidents that might constitute or contribute to sexual or gender-based harassment, you have options. If a situation appears to involve unwanted sexual attention or advances, or gender discrimination, ask yourself if anyone involved may need help.
Seeking the perspective of a friend or colleague may help you to avoid acting on unconscious biases. If you notice a situation and are unsure whether to take action, you can ask for another bystander’s viewpoint to better understand context. Together, you can navigate available options.
If it is safe to do so, you may try to:
- Directly respond to the potentially harmful behavior
- Delegate to someone in a trained role, such as an event host, supervisor, or Title IX Resource Coordinator
- Distract or divert attention such as interrupting the incident or conversation to ask for assistance with a task
- Delay your exit from the space and simply be present with the other person
If you are able to connect with the person who is potentially being harmed, check in to see what they may need. If the person wishes to remove themselves from the situation, you may offer to connect them with a trusted colleague, friend, or supportive resources.
Remember, every time you choose to be an active bystander, you are modeling a positive approach for others. Being an active bystander not only helps one person— it sets the tone for the entire community and can improve the climate around you.
PERSONAL SAFETY: REDUCING OUR SAFETY RISK HARM
People of all identities and backgrounds experience sexual and gender-based harassment. While the responsibility for harassment lies with the individuals who enact the harm, and the systems that have historically supported such harm, we can reduce our own exposure to harm by remaining informed about our rights and resources. Thus, the information below is not mutually exclusive of other forms of prevention, but is included to enhance personal safety wherever possible.
It is important to remember that everyone has different needs, perspectives, and experiences, so choosing steps that work for you individually is essential. You are encouraged to select among, or add to, the following considerations.
- Know your rights. You have the right to participate in Harvard’s programs and activities free from discrimination and harassment. You have a right to set boundaries. You have a right to access resources and to be informed. It may be helpful to review the types of conduct prohibited under the University’s Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment Policy, as well as the University’s commitment to maintaining a safe and healthy educational and work environment.
- Consider power dynamics. Where does the power reside in your relationships and how is it distributed or shared? If you have concerns about how power is being used in any of your relationships, consider contacting one or more of the resources in this guide, which can help you understand its effects on your learning, your work, and your wellbeing.
- Have a plan. If you are going out for the evening with friends, have you discussed your plans before going out? Do you feel like drinking? Where do you want to go? Having a clear plan ahead of time can help friends look out for one another.
- Traveling. Consider your travel plans to and from places. Do you want to make arrangements to travel with friends? If you go out as a group, do you want to come home as a group? Do you wish to avoid situations in which you would be isolated, or with people you do not know or trust? Have your friends agreed not to leave one another behind?
- Have a conversation. Have you and your sexual partner(s) discussed your needs, boundaries, and priorities? You might consider exploring with your partner(s) issues such as use of protection methods, privacy, agreements about recording on digital devices, and how you communicate throughout sexual encounters.
- Call for Help. If you or someone you know is feeling uncomfortable, scared, or pressured, you can call for help any time. You can contact professionals you trust, which may include the Harvard University Policy Department (HUPD) at 617-495-1212. Please note that HUPD does not inquire about immigration status and is not involved in the enforcement of federal immigration laws. You may also contact local police if you need an immediate response.
- Build knowledge. Get involved with campus resources that build knowledge and cultivate communities that are free of harassment and harm. Visit titleix.harvard.edu and osapr.harvard.edu for more information or to schedule training for your community, organization, or school.
Wherever you are, keep in mind these general safety tips:
- Move through lighted areas after dark
- Know what transportation is accessible
- Lock the doors to your home, car, etc.
- Have your keys and phone easily accessible
- Save the HUPD phone number in your cell phone 617-495-1212 so it is accessible
- Call the Campus Escort Service (HUCEP) at 617-494-8237 if you are uncomfortable changing locations on your own
Harvard University is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy educational and work environment in which no member of the University community is, on the basis of any protected class, excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to unlawful discrimination or harassment in any University program or activity.
To ensure that commitment is met with regards to sexual harassment and other sexual misconduct, the University has a central Title IX Office, which oversees the University’s compliance with Title IX, including providing ongoing support, guidance, and specialized training to the University’s network of 50+ local Title IX Resource Coordinators, who are responsible for responding to concerns of sexual harassment and other sexual misconduct. In addition, the University Title IX Office oversees educational programming with in-person trainings, web videos, and online courses for students, staff, and faculty with staff and faculty online modules provided in both English and Spanish.
Each year, all incoming students are required to complete a 45-minute online training that reviews the University’s Policies, procedures, supports, and resources. Additionally, all benefits-eligible faculty and staff are required to complete a 45-minute online training that reviews the University’s Title IX Policies, procedures, supports, and resources, including their roles as responsible employees. These interactive trainings allow students, faculty, and staff to meet their School and unit Title IX Resource Coordinators as well as other University resources and engage in scenarios that pertain to their specific roles at the University. Students, faculty, and staff are also welcome to participate in several University-wide programs and presentations, as well as request in-person training for their department or groups (for example, many Schools and units invite the University Title IX Office, School and unit Title IX Resource Coordinators, and OSAPR staff to provide in-person training for all incoming students).
Information included within online and/or in-person prevention programming includes:
- Harvard’s policies and procedures that address sexual harassment and misconduct
- Descriptions and examples of prohibited conduct
- Notice that Harvard’s policies prohibit retaliation
- The definition of consent provided in Harvard’s Interim Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy and Interim Other Sexual Misconduct policy: agreement, assent, approval, or permission given voluntarily and communicated verbally or by actions
- Information regarding University procedures, including where and how to file a formal complaint
- Information on the standard applied to investigations of formal complaints: preponderance of evidence
- Bystander intervention strategies
- Information regarding on-campus and off-campus resources, including confidential resources
- Information regarding urgent support, victim advocacy, and short-term and long-term counseling and advising
- Information on obtaining supportive measures, including examples of supportive measures (e.g., counseling, extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments, modifications of work or class schedules, campus escorts, restrictions on contact, changes in work or housing locations, leaves of absence, or increased security and monitoring of certain areas of campus)
Information on the University’s values
- Respecting the rights, differences, and dignity of others
- Demonstrating honesty and integrity in all dealings
- Pursuing excellence conscientiously in one’s work
- Being accountable for actions and conduct in the community, and
- Cultivating bonds and bridges that enable all to grow with and learn from one another
- Information on the University’s commitment to gender inclusivity and each community members’ role in creating an inclusive climate
- Information on the contributing factors – such as the dynamics around power and culture surrounding alcohol use – that may lead to environments where sexual harassment is likely to occur
- Information on how to anonymously disclosure concerns via Harvard’s Anonymous Disclosure Tool
More information on the University’s efforts, programming, and outreach can be found at https://titleix.harvard.edu/annual-reports.
Beyond online training, all incoming undergraduate students attend mandatory sexual assault workshops. HUPD officers attend these workshops, which are led by peer educators trained and supervised by OSAPR, to help students make a personal connection to the Department and encourage reporting. The workshops are all-gender inclusive, but students also have the option to attend a supplemental LGBTQ-focused workshop. In the workshops, students participate in a discussion of relevant topics including Harvard policies, bystander intervention, risk reduction, experiences of survivors, and resources for survivors, including reporting options.
Graduate and Professional Students
The University Title IX Office and Title IX Resource Coordinators at each of the graduate and professional schools work collaboratively to develop curriculum on prevention and awareness for incoming and returning student as part of orientation programs and throughout the academic year. During these programs, students receive include information on: reporting options after experiencing sexual harassment or other sexual misconduct, support resources on campus; confidentiality; bystander strategies; and the University’s Interim Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy, Interim Other Sexual Misconduct Policy, and Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment Policy. OSAPR also has a full-time educator who provides research-based programming on prevention, risk reduction, and bystander intervention.
Ongoing Training Initiatives
The Harvard University Title IX Office continued its efforts to educate, engage, and empower community members in FY20 through the implementation of a robust set of prevention and awareness initiatives. These included a suite of customized, interactive online training modules designed for faculty, staff, and students, and in-person (on-ground and virtual) workshops, presentations, and outreach activities. In FY20, the Title IX Office also took steps to synthesize resource documents, educational programs, and cross-office collaborations to establish a cohesive series of learning and engagement opportunities, emphasizing community values, personal safety, and gender diversity and inclusivity for all members of the Harvard community.
Despite the changes to the classroom and workplace brought on by COVID-19, the Title IX Office delivered more than 180 workshops and presentations (30 via Zoom) to 7200 members of the Harvard community. These sessions built on key concepts introduced in the Office’s online training modules, which reached more than 18,000 community members in FY20.
The University and various social service providers in Cambridge and Boston offer a range of counseling and support services for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking . If you choose not to take advantage of these resources immediately, you should find a friend, counselor, or other support person to comfort you and to help you deal with the experience. That person should be with you throughout the crisis situation and follow up, and should help you regain a sense of control over events. Information regarding community resources can be found here.
HUPD, OSAPR, the University Title IX Office, Title IX Resource Coordinators, and UHS are well trained to aid students, faculty, and staff who are impacted by sex offenses, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking. In addition, officers in each School and unit are available to help. Students can identify these individuals through their Dean’s offices or offices for student affairs. The University Title IX Office and the School and unit Title IX Resource Coordinators can speak with students, faculty, and staff about options, support services, and how to file a formal complaint under the Interim Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy, Interim Other Misconduct Policy, or Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment Policy, as applicable. Each School has Title IX Resource Coordinators designated to serve students, faculty, and staff. To identify a Title IX Resource Coordinator for your School or unit, please visit: http://titleix.harvard.edu/coordinators. Harvard faculty and staff also may find assistance and support at their Dean’s offices, the offices of human resources at each school or department, or the Central Administration’s Office of Human Resources. The Harvard International Office is available to help students, faculty and staff with visa and immigration concerns.
Harvard University Police Department (HUPD)
Office of Sexual Assault Prevention & Response (OSAPR)
Title IX Office
Office for Dispute Resolution (ODR)
Harvard University Health Services (HUHS)
Behavioral Health, HUHS
Counseling & Mental Health Services, HUHS
RESPONSE (peer counseling for Harvard College students)
Harvard Employee Assistance Program (for Harvard University staff and faculty)
Harvard International Office
Anti-Violence Project (AVP) Hotline
Hotline (English/Spanish): 212-714-1141
AVP operates a free bilingual (English/Spanish), 24-hour, 365-day-a-year crisis intervention hotline that is staffed by trained volunteers and our professional counselor/advocates to offer support to LGBTQ & HIV-affected victims and survivors of any type of violence.
Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence (ATASK)
ATASK’s 24-hour, multilingual helpline is staffed by trained advocates who together speak a total of 12 Asian languages and dialects including Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin, and Toisanese), Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Nepali, Punjabi, Tagalog, Urdu, and Vietnamese. Callers to ATASK receive crisis intervention, safety planning, emotional support, and information about domestic violence and restraining orders.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC): Center for Violence Prevention and Recovery
The Rape Crisis Intervention Program provides the following services:
- Emergency room services, open 24/7, offering medical care, forensic evidence collection, and crisis counseling
- Crisis counseling and trauma-focused therapy for survivors, their families and friends
- Support groups
- Follow-up medical care
- Medical accompaniment for HIV-post exposure prophylaxis (PEP)
- Assistance navigating medical, criminal justice, and other institutions and systems Assistance accessing community resources and services
Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC)
Hotline: 800-841-8371; TTY: 800-439-2370
The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center operates a free, confidential, 24-hour hotline for anyone who has experienced sexual assault, their families and friends. BARCC also provides medical advocacy, legal services, counseling services, counseling and education groups, and case management.
Cambridge Health Alliance Victims of Violence Program
The Victims of Violence program is an adult outpatient trauma clinic. It provides:
- Clinical care (psychological assessment, treatment planning and psychotherapy) for adult survivors of physical and sexual violence
- Group programs for adult survivors of childhood abuse and domestic violence
- Crisis intervention and response (initial crisis assessment, treatment planning and episodic or time-limited crisis-focused psychotherapy) for acutely traumatized crime victims and their families
- Victim Resource Center works with victims at no cost to make sure that they have access to community resources, medical services, and the courts
DOVE (Domestic Violence Ended)
Hotline: 888-314-3683 or 617-471-1234
DOVE offers a crisis hotline that operates 24/7 all year. The hotline offers a confidential, nonjudgmental, and supportive ear, and provides information on available options and resources.
LGBT Helpline (ages 25+): 617-267-9001; Toll-Free: 888-340-4528
Violence Recovery Program: 617-927-6250
Monday – Saturday, 6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Peer Listening Line (ages 25 & Under):
617-267-2535; Toll-Free: 800-399-PEER
Monday – Saturday, 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Información en Español: 617-927-6460
Through Fenway’s Helplines, you can receive help, information, referrals, and support for a range of issues including anti-gay/lesbian harassment and violence.
GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD)
Phone: 800-455-GLAD (800-455-4523)
Monday-Friday, 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.; firstname.lastname@example.org
Hispanic Black Gay Coalition
Hispanic Black Gay Coalition (HBGC) is dedicated to the needs of the Black, Hispanic and Latin@ LGBTQ community.
Legal Emergency National Hotline:
212-714-2904 (open weekdays) Immigration Equality provides legal services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and HIV-positive individuals concerning immigrant rights issues.
Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers (MAPS)
MAPS provides confidential Portuguese-language sexual assault and domestic violence services, Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233); TTY: 1-800-787-3224; live chat: thehotline.org
The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a 24/7 toll-free hotline for anyone affected by domestic violence. It also offers live chat services via its website every day from 7:00 am to 2:00 am Central Time. Assistance is available in English and Spanish with access to more than 170 additional languages.
National Sexual Assault Online Hotline (operated by the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network — RAINN)
The National Sexual Assault Online Hotline is a free, live, online alternative to phone hotlines for victims of sexual violence and their friends and families. The online hotline uses a secure and anonymous instant messaging format that allows users to type messages back and forth with trained counselors. RAINN does not capture the IP address or any personal information about the user, and does not store transcripts of conversations. All messages are encrypted so the text cannot be intercepted and read by someone else.
National Sexual Assault Phone Hotline (operated by the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network — RAINN)
Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (1-800-656-4673)
The National Sexual Assault Hotline is a free 24/7 telephone hotline operated by the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN). The hotline automatically redirects callers to local rape crisis centers based on the area code and first three digits of the caller’s phone number. RAINN does not keep a record of the caller’s phone number.
The Network/La Red (TNLR)
Hotline: 617-742-4911; TTY: 617-227-4911
TNLR’s English/Spanish hotline provides confidential support, information, safety planning, and referrals to anyone who has experienced LGBQ/T partner abuse as well as folks in the SM/kink and polyamorous communities who are being abused or have been abused by a partner. TNLR also offers information and support to friends, family, or co-workers concerning domestic violence in LGBQ/T communities.
REACH Beyond Domestic Violence
The hotline staff are trained to provide supportive and confidential services in English and Spanish 24/7 all year, to those concerned about their relationships or concerned about a friend or family member. Hotline advocates listen, provide general information about dating and domestic violence, help create personal safety plans, and connect callers with local resources.
Refugee and Immigration Assistance Center (RIAC), Boston
Phone: 617-238-2430; email@example.com
RIAC is authorized by the Board of Immigration Appeals to provide immigration legal services. RIAC offers comprehensive, professional, and confidential immigration services for low- and moderate-income immigrants.
The RESPOND crisis hotline is available 24/7 all year. It provides emotional support, resource referrals, and information on legal options, statewide shelter availability, and community resources to anyone who has experienced domestic violence.
SafeLink Domestic Violence
Hotline: 1-877-785-2020; TTY: 1-877-521-2601 (both operated by Casa Myrna) SafeLink is a statewide, 24/7 toll-free hotline for anyone in Massachusetts who is affected by domestic violence. Calls are free, confidential, and anonymous. SafeLink advocates are multilingual and have access to translation services for more than 130 languages.
Helpline: 1-866-4SAHELI (1-866-472-4354); firstname.lastname@example.org
Saheli provides language-specific information and support services for South Asian women who have experienced domestic violence. Callers to Saheli’s helpline will receive a response within 24 hours.
Hotline: 617-661-7203; email@example.com
Transition House provides emergency shelter, transitional, and supported housing and youth prevention education to the Cambridge community. Transition House operates a confidential, 24- hour crisis line.
Victim Rights Law Center (VRLC)
Address: 115 Broad Street, 3rd Floor, Boston; Phone: 617-399-6720, ext. 19
VRLC represents sexual assault victims within the civil context. Through a model of community collaboration, VRLC has created a network of allies—medical providers, counselors, lawyers, and others—dedicated to improving legal services for rape victims.