University of Vermont

Division of Student Affairs
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Health and Safety

Sexual Misconduct & Assault

Sexual assault is sexual contact by one person against another without consent. The law defines consent as positive cooperation in act or attitude pursuant to an exercise of free will. Consent may not be inferred from silence or passivity. Sexual assaults at UVM are predominantly committed by men against women. However, men can be assaulted by women and same-sex assaults do occur. The majority of assaults are committed by an acquaintance of the victim and involve the use of alcohol by one or both persons. Incidents of sexual assault are against the law and University policy.

What is sexual misconduct?

  • Any unwelcome, non-consensual act of a sexual nature
  • Prohibited and not tolerated by UVM Policy
  • Can be committed by people of any gender, and between people of the same sex or different sex.
  • Occurs between strangers and acquaintances, including people involved in an intimate or sexual relationship

Sexual misconduct includes but is not limited to:

  • Sexual assault – sexual intercourse (vaginal or anal), oral sex, rape or attempted rape, engaging in sexual activity with a person who is unable to provide consent due to the influence of drugs, alcohol or other mental or physical condition (i.e. asleep or unconscious)   
  • Sexual exploitation – voyeurism (spying on others who are in intimate or sexual situations; electronically recording , photographing or transmitting intimate or sexual sounds or images without the consent of all parties involved
  • Sexual intimidation – stalking or cyber-stalking, engaging in indecent exposure

When you become aware that a student has experienced a sexual assault or has been the recipient of inappropriate and/or unwelcome physical contact:


Encourage them to seek medical advice no matter when the assault occurred or whether or not they wish to make a report. There may be injuries or exposure to infections as a result of sexual assault seeking medical attention immediately (within a few days) of a sexual assault provides the most options in the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
  • Notify them that they do not need to make a police report to seek medical attention.
  • Notify them that medical care is confidential and free including testing and treatments for victims of sexual assault
  • Notify them that medical care is available to UVM students on campus at the Women’s Health and Primary Care clinics as well as off campus at the emergency room.
  • Remember a support person such as an advocate or a friend can accompany the student for support to get the services needed.
  • Do notify the student as soon as you realize they are disclosing an assault if you are a mandated reporter.  Recommend that they disclose to the Victim's Advocate, a medical provider or a counselor if they are concerned of this issue. Recommend that they clarify policies of confidentiality with each person they disclose to. If under 18, even medical providers and counselors may be mandated to report assault.
  • If you are aware of the assault, notify the student that you MUST report to Police Services, however, you DO NOT have to give them the name of the victim if the student does not want you to. You do, however, have to give all other identifying information you may know about (i.e. date, location, alleged perpetrator, etc.)


  • Ever assume sexual violence is the victim's fault. No matter what happened, no one has the right to hurt, pressure or coerce another into sexual contact. If the individual is unsure whether the experience is sexual violence, talking to an advocate might help clarify things.
  • Think you are alone. There are people and services available to help on and off campus. Consider talking with an advocate about your options. At UVM you can contact the Campus Victim's Advocate at or 656-7892 or the HOPE Works, a community agency at (802) 863-1236 (available 24hrs a day).

Sexual assault is a crime AS WELL as a violation of UVM policy. You can hold a perpetrator accountable through either or both systems. There is a difference between reporting to police and reporting to UVM. It is best to talk to the Campus Victim's Advocate about the differences between the two systems since what happens next depends on the nature of the case.

It is always wise to ask about confidentiality before you share anything with a service provider. In addition, many the services available on and off campus are concerned about privacy and autonomy and will respect and individuals choices about sharing information and moving forward.

Last modified July 01 2014 09:08 AM