Frequently Asked Questions

Whom do I call for support?

Villanova encourages any community member who has experienced sexual violence to talk with someone about what happened so that they may obtain support and so that the University may respond appropriately.  It is important to know that there are 24/7 resources, confidential resources, and a variety of support options available for any student, even if he/she does not wish to report the incident to the University or to the local police.  Here is a synopsis of those campus resources, and you can click here to download a chart that outlines all resources available.

24/7 Resources:

Confidential Resources:

Semi-Confidential Resources:

*A report of sexual assault, sexual harassment or other sexual misconduct to the Student Health Center and/or SARC will typically not trigger an investigation by the Title IX Coordinator or Public Safety into the matter against the Complainant’s wishes. However, should there be a continuing threat to the community, a timely warning may still need to be issued to protect the community. The warning would not contain identifying information about the reporting person.

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What should I do if I or my friend may have been sexually assaulted?

The best thing you can do is be a friend by:

  • Listening and offering your friend support.
  • Believing your friend.
  • Letting him/her know that what happened is not their fault.
  • Putting aside your feelings and dealing with them elsewhere.
  • Respecting your friend’s privacy.
  • Supporting his/her choice of solution to the assault.
  • Being dependable and available when he/she needs you.
  • Being patient.

Most importantly, it important that you are a good resource for your friend by knowing the following:

  • Your friend should be in a place where he/she feels safe. If he/she does not feel safe, identify a place where they will feel safe and take them there.
  • Because preserving evidence is of the utmost importance, your friend should not: change their clothing, shower, apply any medication to wounds, drink or chew gum.
  • Getting medical attention as soon as possible is extremely important.
  • If predatory drugs are suspected, your friend needs to request testing at the Student Health Center or the local hospital.
  • Everyone responds differently to a sexual assault. Your friend may want or need emotional support immediately following an assault and for many years to follow. Free, confidential counseling is available at the Counseling Center for both you and your friend. To read more about rape trauma syndrome, click here.

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When should I call a Sexual Assault Resource Coordinator (SARC)?

Call a SARC when you have any concern or question about a sexual assault. A SARC is available 24/7 at
484-343-6028. He/she is able to review all options available to a survivor of any act of sexual violence (including medical care, reporting, counseling) and can accompany a student to campus and/or community services to ensure that he/she receives appropriate medical care, emotional support, and follow-up information following any experience of sexual violence. If someone isn’t sure whom to talk to, calling a SARC is a good way to explore options.

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What services will the Sexual Assault Resource Coordinator (SARC) provide?

Even though "sexual assault" is in our name, a SARC can review the options available to a survivor of any form of sexual violence, includng sexual assault, sexual exploitation, stalking, sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, retaliation, incest, and statuatory rape. A SARC can connect a student to a variety of resources, (medical care, reporting, counseling), and can accompany a student to campus and/or community services to ensure that he/she receives appropriate care and follow up information following an incident of sexual violence. Click here to read more about the SARC team at Villanova.  


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How should I preserve evidence of a sexual assault?

Because preservation of physical evidence is of the utmost important, a survivor should NOT:

  • change their clothing or shower;
  • apply any medication to wounds;
  • drink or chew gum.

 However, if he/she has removed clothing that was worn at the time of the assault, the clothing should be stored in a paper bag. Additionally, if you suspect that you have been drugged with a predatory drug like GHB or Rohypnol, it is important that you request a urine sample be taken within 72 hours of the suspected drugging. Most predatory drugs are eliminated from a person’s system within 24-72 hours, so it is critical to request a sample be taken in a timely manner.

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Do I have to name my assailant?

  • YES, if you want to pursue formal disciplinary action against the alleged assailant.
  • YES, if you want to pursue legal action against the alleged assailant.
  • NO, if you do not wish to file a complaint with the University or with local police.

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Will the respondent know my identity?

  • YES, if you file a formal complaint with the University.
  • YES, if you file charges with the local police.
  • NO, if you do not provide this information to someone at the University or to the local police.

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If I report someone, I am afraid that I will be subject to retaliation from him/her or his/her friends. What kind of protection can Vilanova provide me?

  • It is a violation of University policy to retaliate in any way against an individual or group because the individual or group of individuals reported an allegation of sexual misconduct.
  • The University recognizes that retaliation may take many forms, may be committed by an individual or a group against an individual or a group, and that a Respondent can also be the subject of retaliation by the Complainant or a third party.
  • The University will take immediate and responsive action to any report of retaliation and will pursue disciplinary action as appropriate.
  • An individual reporting an incident of sexual misconduct is entitled to protection from any form of retaliation following a report that is made in good faith.

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Can I file a complaint with the University and also with the police? Can I do one and not the other?

  • Yes, you may take action through both the campus disciplinary system and through the legal system.
  • Yes, a Complainant may choose to pursue action through one and not the other.

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What happens in the campus disciplinary process?

The campus disciplinary process is clearly laid out in the Code of Student Conduct. To specifically read more about initiating a complaint, student procedural rights, procedural options, the conduct review board process, sanctioning, and the appeal process at Villanova, click here.

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Is there support available for Respondents in the campus disciplinary process?

Complainants and Respondents are both entitled to a fair, prompt and equitable process. Students should contact the Dean of Students Office for detailed information regarding the disciplinary process for reports of sexual violence. You can also click here for more information.

Additionally, the University will appoint a support person for the Respondent if he/she wishes to take advantage of the option. The support person will review the disciplinary process, answer questions about what to expect, and/or check in with the Respondent throughout the disciplinary process. This person does not provide legal guidance or counsel.

It is also important for friends of the Respondent to understand how to appropriately support their friend. To read more about being the friend of a Respondent, click here.

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