WSU POLICE Reporting a Sexual Assault

WSUPD believes in providing survivors of sexual assault with as much control over their report and any subsequent criminal investigation as the law allows.  Unless legally mandated (i.e. domestic violence, child abuse, or a victim in continued physical danger) or in other rare circumstances such as a significant threat to public safety, the following victim-centered and offender-focused elements shall be offered during every sexual assault report and/or investigation:

  • A victim of sexual assault is offered three options for reporting:
    1. Information Only
    2. Partial Investigation
    3. Complete Investigation.
  • A victim or other reporting party may remain anonymous and still have the information they provide documented by WSUPD. For more information about anonymous reporting, see the section below which is titled; Additional information regarding WSUPD confidentiality and university reporting requirements.
  • A clear explanation of the reporting process and/or investigative procedures will be provided by a WSUPD officer if requested by the victim.
  • When making a report there is no requirement to meet in person with a WSUPD officer.
    For example, a victim or other reporting party may choose to have a sexual assault advocate or another third party report on their behalf.
  • Reasonable efforts will be made to allow the victim or other reporting party control over the location, time, and date where their initial report is made to WSUPD.
  • A victim or other reporting party may provide as much, or as little, information as they choose with no time limitations or restrictions on when the information is given to WSUPD.
  • WSUPD officers will offer assistance in locating sexual assault advocacy services for every person reporting.
  • A victim may be accompanied by a sexual assault advocate or other appropriate support person during all phases of the reporting process and criminal investigation.
  • A victim, or other reporting party, may end an interview with WSUPD at any time without having to provide a reason.
  • After making a report, a victim or other reporting party will not be pressured to participate in a criminal investigation.
  • Reasonable efforts will be made to meet the needs of the victim and address any barriers the victim faces in providing information to WSUPD during the reporting process.
  • WSUPD officers will conduct victim interviews in a trauma-informed manner.
  • Reasonable efforts will be made to meet the needs of the victim and address any barriers the victim faces when participating in a sexual assault investigation.
  • WSUPD officers will collaborate with victims during the investigative process and respect a victim’s right to request certain investigative steps not be conducted.  Criminal investigations will be conducted at a pace set by the victim, not the law enforcement officer.
  • A victim may disengage from a criminal investigation at any time prior to an arrest being made or the case being referred to an office of prosecution.  There is no requirement that an explanation be given by the victim to law enforcement.
  • If legally permissible and probable cause exists for a crime, no arrest or referral to an office of prosecution will occur without the consent of the victim.  WSUPD officers respect the choice of every victim who reports a sexual assault, and understand that justice is not the same for every person who is victimized.
  • Criminal investigations that do not result in arrest or referral to an office of prosecution will be classified as “inactive”, unless found baseless or false, allowing for the investigation to be re-opened in the future at a victim’s request and/or if additional information is discovered.
  • A victim’s right to keep their assault confidential shall be respected.  Other than the compliance with Washington State University’s (WSU) reporting requirements, no other person shall be notified that the victim has reported the incident without the victim’s consent.  This includes the interviewing of identified witnesses and perpetrators.

Additional information regarding WSUPD confidentiality and university reporting requirements:

WSUPD will comply with all relevant State and Federal law. This includes the Revised Code of Washington, the Jeanne Clery Act, and Title IX, as well as public records requests and other requests pursuant to a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. WSUPD is required to provide all reports of sexual assault to the university’s Title IX Coordinator at the WSU Office for Equal Opportunity.  Due to its Title IX responsibilities, the university may not be able to adhere to your reporting decision in its Title IX response, which may include an administrative investigation.

All WSU employees, including WSUPD officers, are mandatory reporters under Title IX.  Therefore, for example, if you provide your name and the offender’s name to WSUPD, the police department must relay the information to the Title IX Coordinator.  The Title IX Office is obligated, by federal law, to document the report and will begin an investigation into the complaint under certain circumstances. These circumstances may include when there is a community health or safety threat, or the reported incident is associated with WSU.

You have the right to participate in the Title IX investigation, however, there is no obligation to do so. You should expect to be contacted by a representative from the WSU Office for Equal Opportunity if your identity is known and you are a WSU student.

Should you provide WSUPD with the perpetrator’s name, that information, along with any other relevant details you provide, will be relayed to the Title IX Coordinator in accordance with federal law.  The WSU Office for Equal Opportunity may begin a university investigation, and the reported perpetrator could be contacted by the university and interviewed regarding your report, even if your identity is unknown.

The Jeanne Clery Act requires all institutions of higher education that participate in the federal student financial aid program to disclose information about crimes that occur on campus.  WSU, in accordance with this law, issues alerts when certain crimes occur that pose a serious or ongoing threat to the university community.  A sexual assault may be considered to be one of these crimes, and therefore the university may issue a crime alert. The crime alert does not include identifying information, but will include the approximate location and time of the assault.  WSUPD can show you the alert prior to it being sent to the community to address any issues or concerns that you may have.

For additional information about the university’s policy and information about the Title IX process and resources, contact the WSU Office for Equal Opportunity.

WSU Office for Equal Opportunity

French Administration Building
Room #225
PO Box 641022
Pullman, WA 99164
509-335-8288
https://oeo.wsu.edu/