Many survivors of sexual assault find it beneficial for their healing and empowerment to report the crime. Making a report involves giving a specific account of the event you experienced to a law enforcement agency. This is different from filing criminal charges, which is a decision you can choose to make after you report the crime.
What to Know about Making a Report
Before Making a Report
During the Report
After the Report
Who to Contact to Make a Report
- Choosing to report could be a step toward regaining control and empowerment in your life.
- Making a report may lead to criminal charges and/or on-campus disciplinary action; however, there is no guarantee that the assailant will be arrested and convicted.
- It is likely that your assailant has harmed others before, and will probably do so again. Making a report will validate other statements and may prevent the assailant from harming others.
- You will have to explain details of the assault, probably several times. This is needed for a thorough investigation.
- Even if you report the crime, you still have the choice whether or not an investigation will occur.
- Although every effort will be made to maintain confidentiality, a thorough criminal investigation requires interviews with any potential witnesses. Although these witnesses would not be provided with the details of the case, they would be aware that a report had been made and that an investigation was occurring.
- If criminal charges are filed, it will become public knowledge that you have reported the assault. By choosing to report, you may be eligible for victim compensation to cover medical costs and counseling fees.
It is your decision whether or not to report. Although family and friends may pressure you into doing what they feel is best for you, the power to report or not report is ultimately yours. Regardless of what you decide, we encourage you to seek medical attention to ensure your physical health.
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- You may find it helpful to have an advocate present with you during this process. If you would like to request one, call Survival at 800-846-7597. Our advocates receive extensive sexual assault response training and provide supportive, nonjudgmental and confidential support throughout hospital and reporting procedures.
- You may find it helpful to write down information about the crime, such as the sequence of events and certain details, to help you recall the incident.
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During the Report:
- You may be asked to visit the hospital for a sexual assault exam to collect evidence. This exam will be paid for by the Missouri Department of Heath and Senior Services.
- You will be interviewed and asked to give an account of the details of the assault.
- If you feel more comfortable discussing the case with either a male or female officer, the law enforcement agency will try to make such arrangements to make the interview easier for you.
- When talking to law enforcement, it is important that each statement be accurate and truthful. Therefore, if you are uncertain of something, it is okay to say "I don't know." Tell the officers everything you can. Inaccurate or misleading information can be harmful to your credibility and the overall criminal case.
- It is important to be honest with the officer, including disclosing the use of drugs or alcohol prior to the assault. The officer is not there to judge you, but rather is a professional who is trying to help you. Also, the information may be beneficial to your case. In Missouri, a person cannot give consent if s/he is incapacitated by drugs and/or alcohol, even if this occurred through the victim's voluntary use.
- After the report is made, ask the interviewing officer what will happen next. Ask to be informed when the suspect has been interviewed.
- Before leaving, ask for the interviewing officer's business card. That way you know exactly who to contact with questions regarding your case. Ask the officer to write a reference of case number on the card for you.
- Remember that the officer is there to help you, not work against you. You have the right to ask questions, express your feelings, and stay informed.
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After the Report:
- It is okay if you remember an event or detail not given in the initial report. Simply write it down and contact the investigating officer or detective to inform them.
- Experiencing flashbacks and recalling information is not uncommon, and the officer or detective will be receptive of the new information.
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Who to Contact to Make a Report:
You also may want to consider reporting the crime to UCM Public Safety by calling the TIPS hotline for confidential reporting at 660-543-TIPS or using the anonymous online information form. You can choose whether or not to include your name and contact information if you would like to remain anonymous.
The information you give to UCM Police through the Tips Line or online form will only be used for data collection and UCM crime statistics. However, if you provide your name and contact information over the phone or on the online form, you may be contacted by UCM regarding the incident.
If the crime occurred on campus or you believe that assailant is also a UCM student, reporting the crime to UCM Police may be most beneficial to you. Disciplinary action from UCM may also be available in addition to pressing criminal charges.