Preventing and Responding to Sex Offenses
Student Life and the Counseling Centers periodically provide sexual assault education presentations to the college community. Literature on date rape education, risk reduction and College response is available through the offices of Student Life and the Counseling Centers, and on the Campus Safety website. In addition, both Puyallup and Lakewood Police Departments offer sexual assault education and information programs to students and employees upon request.
If you or someone you know is the victim of a sex offense on campus, your first priority should be to get to a place of safety. You should then obtain necessary medical treatment. Pierce College strongly advocates that a victim of sexual assault report the incident in a timely manner. Time is a critical factor for evidence collection and preservation. An assault should be reported directly to a Campus Safety Officer and/or a Student Services Dean. Filing a report will not obligate the victim to prosecute, nor will it subject the victim to scrutiny or judgment. Filing a report will:
- Ensure that a victim of sexual assault receives the necessary medical treatment and tests, at no expense to the victim.
- Provide the opportunity for collection of evidence helpful in prosecution, which cannot be obtained later (ideally a victim of sexual assault should not wash, douche, use the toilet, or change clothing prior to a medical/legal exam).
- Assure the victim has access to free confidential counseling from counselors specifically trained in the area of sexual assault crisis intervention.
When a sexual assault victim files a report, the local Police Department will be notified as well. If the suspect is also a student, the victim of a sexual assault may choose for the investigation to be pursued through the criminal justice system and the Student Services Office, or only the latter. A representative from the Campus Safety Office, or the Student Services Office, will guide the victim through the available options and support the victim in his or her decision.
Students and employees who are victims of sexual assault are encouraged to seek help from the following resources:
- Puyallup Campus - Liz Scott, Counselor: (253) 840-8443
- Ft. Steilacoom Campus - Deborah Bransford, Counselor: (253) 964-6525
- Sexual Assault Crisis Center: 1-800-756-7273
- Pierce County Crisis Line: (253) 292-4200 or 1-800-576-7764
- Washington State Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-562-6025
- Pierce County Domestic Violence Helpline: 1-800-764-2420
- The Employee Advisory Service (EAS): Seattle Office (206) 720-3514; Olympia Office (360) 753-3260 EAS schedules appointments in the Tacoma area through their Seattle Office
For information on the procedures for campus disciplinary action and of the sanctions the institution may impose following final determination of a disciplinary proceeding, please see Student Rights and Responsibilities/Code of Conduct.
The Code of Conduct provides, in part, that the complainant and the respondent have the right to be assisted by any advisor they choose, at their own expense. The advisor may be an attorney, but advisors are not permitted to speak or participate directly in any hearing before a judicial body, except as permitted by the hearing chair. A written statement of the judicial advisor's decision and findings of fact shall be served on both the respondent and the complainant. The statement shall indicate in that decision the review and appeals process.
A student found guilty of a sex offense could be criminally prosecuted in the state courts and may be suspended or expelled from the College for the first offense. Student victims have the option to change their academic and/or on-campus living situation after an alleged sexual assault, if such changes are reasonably available.
Disclosure to Alleged Victims of Crimes of Violence or Non-Forcible Sex Offenses
Pierce College will, upon written request, disclose to the alleged victim of a crime of violence, or a non-forcible sex offense, the results of any disciplinary hearing conducted by the college against the student who is the alleged perpetrator of the crime or offense. If the alleged victim is deceased as a result of the crime or offense, Pierce College will provide the results of the disciplinary hearing to the victim's next of kin, if so requested.