Physical Assault or Hazing

"Someone injured me."

General Information

The Office of Victim Assistance (OVA) is a resource for people who have been the clear target of crime, such as a disproportionate physical attack, hazing or who have experienced intimate partner violence, bias motivated assaults, or sexual assaults.

If there is no clearly identified victim in your case, OVA may not be a suitable resource for you.  Conflict resolution strategies such as the Ombuds office, Student Legal services or Restorative Justice may be more appropriate

Hazing is any activity expected of someone joining a group (or to maintain full status in a group) that humiliates, degrades or risks emotional and/or physical harm, regardless of the person's willingness to participate.

OVA does not intervene or advocate in situations of mutual violence outside an intimate relationship.  If you want to understand more about violence within the context of an intimate relationship click here.

What to Do

You may have questions about what your options are.  Depending on the nature of the incident you may have specific needs such as reporting, support, housing or academic concerns.  OVA can offer free, confidential consultation on your options.

If you were involved in a hazing incident, or were the target of a disproportionate attack, you may have unique concerns, especially depending on whether you know the people who attacked you, or other factors involved in the situation.

Assaults can take different forms.  If you feel this information does not match your experience you can look at other sections ot this site that might be a better fit.  Click to visit the specific section: intimate partner violencebias motivated incidents, or sexual assaultdiscrimination and harassment and sexual harassment.

Support

Being the target of violence can create a host of practical and emotional consequences.  Seeking support takes many different forms. Discussing the situation with someone may help you sort out your feelings and decide what to do.  While you may want to talk to someone you trust, such as a friend, co-worker, family member, or spiritual adviser, there are also confidential resources available on campus.

When you seek help from professionals, first ask what their confidentiality is, and who they are required to tell if you were to disclose your situation.  That way, you can make an informed decision.  OVA can provide you with information that may be helpful in dealing with your situation and does not have a duty to report.

Some things you might discuss:

  • figuring out what you feel and think about what’s going on.
  • getting information that will help you assess the situation, and figure out what you want.
  • talking about how to manage your academics or work given your situation.
  • talking about making a safety plan if applicable.  There are many strategies available.
  • getting medical treatment if you have injuries or are worried about your health.
  • changing where you live to get some space, or safety.  There is community help with this.
  • reporting to the police or the CU Office of Student Conduct or Office of Discrimination and Harassment if appropriate.

If you are not ready to talk to somebody but want to get more information about your situation, the web is a great place to do that.  If you are concerned about privacy, you should know that most computers keep track of websites you visit.  There is a lot of useful information on the web, and it might be best to seek these resources on a public computer such as at a lab on campus, a public library or at a friend’s house.

If you’d like to know more about how people sometimes react to these kinds of events, click here.

Housing

If the aftermath of the incident is affecting your living environment, OVA may be able to help you arrange housing.

Academics

If you are worried about how this situation may be impacting your schoolwork, that’s important to notice. You deserve to be in school and to meet your goals. For instance, it can be difficult to concentrate in class especially if people involved in an assault are there. OVA can discuss options for managing academic issues while maintaining privacy. There are concrete things the University can do to help with your situation.

Protective Orders

A protective order is a legal document obtained through the courts that puts restrictions on individuals who may be dangerous to you.  If they violate these restrictions they can be sanctioned by the court.

If you have questions about obtaining a protective order you can talk to an advocate in OVA or call the Boulder Protective Order clinic at 303-441-4867, or if there is no answer, call Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence at 303-449-8623.  You can also learn more online at http://www.bouldercounty.org/cs/cb/dapp/protectorder.htm.

Depending on the situation, campus authorities may be able to offer an exclusion of individuals responsible for certain kinds of incidents. To learn more, consult OVA or UCPD.

Reporting

For content specific information about reporting see below. For general information about reporting and the possibilities and limits of working with systems click here.

Police

If you have been the target of an assault, reporting the behavior to the police is an option.  Reporting can take many forms and doesn’t necessarily have to lead to the filing of criminal charges.  Some people simply want to file an “informational” report with the intention of making the police aware of their situation, without pursuing the charges.  Other people are interested in having the police contact the person and give a verbal warning. At the same time, many people choose to file criminal charges.  OVA can help you assess whether or not these options are a possibility for you. If you are able, try to preserve any evidence of the incident.  This might include getting names of witnesses, saving emails, text messages, or voice messages related to the assault as well as taking pictures of injuries, damage, or other supporting materials.  You can also get copies of relevant medical records.  OVA can talk with you about reporting issues, as well as help you make connections with the police if you want help in assessing the situation.  Note that there is a mandatory arrest law in Colorado in cases of intimate partner violence, so in cases of intimate partner violence in which the police are called, an informational report alone is not an option.

Reporting to the Office of Student Conduct or the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance

The Office of Student Conduct (OSC) adjudicates the student code of conduct. If you were assaulted by a student at CU, they may be in violation of the code (http://www.colorado.edu/studentaffairs/studentconduct/conductcode/index.html). If you would like to know more about what the Office of Student Conduct process is like, you can contact OVA or the Office of Student Conduct directly, or look at their website: http://www.colorado.edu/studentaffairs/studentconduct/index.html.

If you were assaulted by a faculty or staff member, you may want to consider reporting to the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance which investigates university policy infractions and may have jurisdiction over your situation.  You can learn more at: http://www.colorado.edu/institutionalequity/

The Office of Student Conduct and the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance can provide another avenue for reporting and may be able to assist with an informal solution. The Office of Student Conduct or Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance processes are different from criminal or civil processes. You can choose one or both (unless this is an intimate partner violence situation). You can contact the Office of Student Conduct or Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance anonymously to get a better understanding of how they might handle your situation, or OVA can help you with getting that assessment.

Confidential Reporting

If you do not want to or have not yet decided whether to report officially, you can still anonymously inform a confidential resource of violent or abusive experiences, which have happened to CU community members.  Completing this form does not constitute a report to the University and will not initiate any law enforcement, judicial or administrative action.  This information goes to a confidential office, the Office of Victim Assistance, and will not be shared except in aggregate, non-identifiable form.

For Confidential Reporting, click here.

How to Help

If someone you know was assaulted, there are ways you may be able to help.

  • First, take the situation seriously. Don’t be tempted to excuse or minimize violence.
  • If you have been the target of a similar situation your experience may help.  Your friend’s reaction may differ, and their choices may differ, but knowing that they aren’t alone can be helpful in itself.
  • If you haven’t been the target of a similar situation, you can listen, and then learn more about how a physical assault impacts people (see links below).
  • Ask the person how they feel the situation is impacting their life. Are they having a hard time concentrating on school work? Do they feel they can no longer work productively at their job?
  • Encourage the person to document the incident if they aren’t sure they want to report.
  • If the person would like, you can do some groundwork to learn about issues and options.
  • Don’t investigate the situation or overreact.  It is important that the person who experienced the assault have the opportunity to address the situation at their own pace and in a way that causes them the least impact.
  • If you are a CU employee, you may have a reporting obligation. Click here to learn more (mandatory reporting).
  • Consider referring the person to OVA or another resource such as the GLBTQ Resource Centerthe Center for Multicultural Affairs or Disability Services for support and options.

For more information on how to help please click here.