Penn Violence Prevention
3611 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6222
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
All staff members at Penn are expected to control information students share with the utmost sensitivity. If students speak with a staff member that is not designated as a confidential office, they are obligated to inform the AVP/Title IX Coordinator. This procedure is to ensure that students are made fully aware of their reporting and support options, as well as their rights.
Both Counseling and Psychological Services and Student Health Service are strictly confidential and are committed to upholding federal/state laws that require privacy practices. Please see their respective websites for more information.
Some additional offices have been designated as confidential for students who wish to seek guidance and support. These include the Penn Women’s Center and Special Services. Discussing a matter with these offices is not considered a report to the University or a request that any action be taken by the University in response to an allegation unless specifically requested by the student.
The support and reporting offices outlined on the Get Help page will honor students’ requests to keep reports confidential to the extent permitted by law, and to the extent consistent with the University’s obligation to investigate allegations. Students are encouraged to inquire about confidentiality when seeking assistance and support from varying offices.
Under the Clery Act, federal law mandates the disclosure of certain statistics regarding sexual violence, relationship violence, and stalking that occurs within the geographic boundaries of an institution of higher education. Clery Act reports do not include the names of anyone involved, or any other information that identifies an individual. More information about Clery Act mandates and reports can be found here.
Title IX is a federal law that prohibits all forms of sex or gender-based discrimination in any education program or activity that receives federal funding. Title IX prohibits acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature.
The AVP/Title IX Coordinator is available to provide information and advice regarding Title IX for students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors. In addition, they are available to respond to complaints and concerns relative to Penn’s compliance with its sex discrimination policy as well as federal, state, or local regulations.
We recognize that men who experience sexual violence, relationship violence, and stalking may face unique barriers when deciding whether to seek support. All the support and resource options listed on this site are available to students regardless of their gender identity and/or gender expression. This includes the Penn Women’s Center, Special Services, CAPS, SHS, the LGBT Center, and Penn Violence Prevention.
Yes. The decision whether or not to make an official report to the University or to law enforcement is a personal one. While we hope to be able to fairly adjudicate cases of interpersonal violence and to work towards eliminating it from our campus, we respect the rights of victim/survivors to decide what is best for them. Support resources and certain accommodations are available regardless of whether there is an official investigation. Certain accommodations may not be enforceable without an official report. However, the support resources will work with the victim/survivors to implement appropriate safety measures.
According to the 2015 AAU Campus Climate Survey, the number one reason survivors of sexual assault did not seek help was because they did not consider what happened to them to be “serious enough.”
If you experienced an unsafe or confusing sexual encounter or relationship and are considering reaching out to a resource for help, we encourage you to do so. You do not need to put a label on your experience to receive help. You are entitled to respect and whatever support you need.
If you are potentially interested in filing a criminal or campus disciplinary report, but aren’t sure if what happened is a crime and/or a violation of Penn’s policy, we encourage you to talk to a confidential resource to learn more.
Students who have been accused of sexual violence, either informally or through an official report, are encouraged to get support. Counseling and Psychological Services, as well as the Chaplains Office, offer confidential counseling for students who have been accused of interpersonal violence or who self-identify concerning behavior they would like to change. If a student is a respondent in a disciplinary case being investigated by the AVP/Title IX Coordinator, they have the same rights and protections as the complainant, including the right to be treated with respect, dignity, sensitivity, and fairness throughout the entire process. Student Intervention Services can also work with students to make sure they have a clear sense of their rights and responsibilities. Click here for a pdf file with more information about the disciplinary process and a respondent’s rights.
Emergency Contraception (EC), also known as the morning-after pill, can be started up until 120 hours after intercourse. Emergency Contraception is available through Student Health Service and from drugstores and health centers without a prescription for people age 17 and older. Emergency Contraception should ideally be taken within 3 days of intercourse (72 hours) but can be taken up to 5 days afterward (120 hours). EC will also be provided to anyone receiving a medical rape examination at the Philadelphia Sexual Assault Response Center (PSARC). Click here for more information about Emergency Contraception.
All of the Penn resources provided here can also be accessed by students who are traveling abroad. Depending on the location and the circumstances, students may have the option of reporting to local police, reporting to the school where they are studying, or making the report to the Penn Police. It is recommended that students immediately seek support from the Penn staff or faculty member that is overseeing their study abroad program and to contact Special Services in the Division of Public Safety. More information about resources related to traveling abroad can be found here.
The Department of Special Services within the Division of Public Safety offers free-of-charge Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) classes with the support of the Trustees’ Council of Penn Women (TCPW). The RAD System offers comprehensive courses which begin with awareness, prevention, risk reduction and avoidance, and progress to the basics of hands-on defense training. Special Service also offers a course called ‘S.A.F.E.’(an acronym for Self-defense Awareness & Familiarization Exchange). S.A.F.E. is a 2-hour educational awareness, crime-victim prevention program “encompassing Strategies, Techniques, Options, and Prevention” that provides teenaged & adult women with information that may reduce their risk of exposure to violence and introduces them to the physical aspects of self-defense. In addition, Special Services provides gender-neutral self defense classes. For more information, contact Susan Dever, Support Specialist, Department of Special Services at 215.898.4481 or email@example.com.