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Options for Confidentially Disclosing Sexual Violence

UB's procedures and resources allow you to get the information and support you need regardless of whether you would like to move forward with a report of sexual assault.

The State University of New York and the University at Buffalo want you to get the information and support you need regardless of whether you would like to move forward with a report of sexual violence to campus officials or to police. You may want to talk with someone about something you observed or experienced, even if you are not sure that the behavior constitutes sexual violence. A conversation where questions can be answered is far superior to keeping something to yourself. Confidentiality varies, and this document is aimed at helping you understand how confidentiality applies to different resources that may be available to you.

On this page:

Privileged and Confidential Resources:

Individuals who are confidential resources will not report crimes to law enforcement or college officials without your permission, except for extreme circumstances, such as a health and/or safety emergency. At UB, this includes:

  • UB's Counseling Services (for students), 120 Richmond Quad, Buffalo, NY 14261, Tel. (716) 645-2720
  • UB's Employee Assistance Program (for employees), 110 HRD Building, Buffalo, NY 14260, Tel. (716) 645-4461
  • Individuals serving in a pastoral role under Campus Ministries
  • UB physicians, licensed medical professionals or supervised interns when they are engaged in a physician/patient relationship.

Off-campus options to disclose sexual violence confidentially include (note that these outside options do not provide any information to the campus):

  • Off-campus counselors and advocates
    • Crisis Services of Erie County provides confidential 24/7 assistance and can be reached at (716) 834-3131.  Crisis services offices will generally maintain confidentiality unless you request disclosure and sign a consent or waiver form. More information on an agency’s policies on confidentiality may be obtained directly from the agency.
  • Off-campus healthcare providers
    • ECMC is a Center of Excellence for victims of sexual assault, and is recommended for care following a sexual assault. ECMC is located at 462 Grider Street in Buffalo and can be reached at (716) 898-3000.
    • Please note that medical office and insurance billing practices may reveal information to the insurance policyholder, including medication and/or examinations paid for or administered. The New York State Office of Victim Services may be able to assist in compensating victims/survivors for health care and counseling services, including emergency compensation. More information may be found here: http://www.ovs.ny.gov, or by calling 1-800-247-8035. 

Note that even individuals who can typically maintain confidentiality are subject to exceptions under the law, including when an individual is a threat to him or herself or others and the mandatory reporting of child abuse.

Non-Professional Counselors and Advocates

Non-professional counselors and advocates can also assist you without sharing information that could identify you. At UB, this includes members of UB's Wellness Education Services. These individuals will report the nature, date, time, and general location of an incident to UB's Title IX Coordinator, but will consult with you to ensure no personally identifying details are shared without your consent. These individuals are not considered confidential resources as discussed above.

Privacy versus Confidentiality

Even UB offices and employees who cannot guarantee confidentiality will maintain your privacy to the greatest extent possible. The information you provide to a resource that is non-confidential will be relayed only as necessary to investigate and/or seek a resolution and to notify the Title IX Coordinator or designee, who is responsible under the law for tracking patterns and spotting systemic issues. UB will limit the disclosure as much as possible, even if the Title IX Coordinator determines that the request for confidentiality cannot be honored.

Requesting Confidentiality: How UB Will Weigh the Request and Respond

If you disclose an incident to a UB employee who is responsible for responding to or reporting sexual violence or sexual harassment, but wish to maintain confidentiality or do not consent to the institution’s request to initiate an investigation, the Title IX Coordinator must weigh your request against our obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all members of our community, including you.

We will assist you with academic, housing, transportation, employment, and other reasonable and available accommodations regardless of your reporting choices. While reporting individuals may request accommodations through several UB offices, the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion can serve as a primary point of contact to assist with these measures.  We also may take proactive steps, such as training or awareness efforts, to combat sexual violence in a general way that does not identify you or the situation you disclosed.

We may seek consent from you prior to conducting an investigation. You may decline to consent to an investigation, and that determination will be honored unless UB's failure to act does not adequately mitigate the risk of harm to you or other members of the University community. Honoring your request may limit our ability to meaningfully investigate and pursue conduct action against an accused individual. If we determine that an investigation is required, we will notify you and take immediate action as necessary to protect and assist you.

When you disclose an incident to someone who is responsible for responding to or reporting sexual violence or sexual harassment, but wish to maintain confidentiality, UB will consider many factors to determine whether to proceed despite that request. These factors include, but are not limited to:

  • Whether the accused has a history of violent behavior or is a repeat offender;
  • Whether the incident represents escalation, such as a situation that previously involved sustained stalking,
  • the increased risk that the accused will commit additional acts of violence;
  • Whether the accused used a weapon or force;
  • Whether the reporting individual or victim/survivor is a minor; and
  • Whether we possess other means to obtain evidence such as security footage, and whether the report reveals a pattern of perpetration at a given location or by a particular group.
If UB determines that it must move forward with an investigation, the reporting individual or victim/survivor will be notified and the University will take immediate action as necessary to protect and assist them. 

Public Awareness/Advocacy Events

If you disclose a situation through a public awareness event such as “Take Back the Night,” candlelight vigils, protests, a Student Survivor Advocacy Alliance Forum, or other public event, UB is not obligated to begin an investigation. UB may use the information you provide to inform the need for additional education and prevention efforts.

Anonymous Disclosure

You may call the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) anonymously at (716) 645-2266 to talk about the situation and find out information about your options. Simply tell the receptionist that you would prefer not to give your name.  You can talk confidentially with us, and disclose as much or as little information as you would like to. You can also complete a Sexual Assault Anonymous Report.

You may also call the New York State Hotline for Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence: 1-800-942-6906.  The Hotline is for crisis intervention, resources and referrals and is not a reporting mechanism.

Institutional Crime Reporting

Reports of certain crimes occurring in certain geographic locations will be included in the University's Clery Act Annual Security Report in an anonymized manner that neither identifies the specifics of the crime or the identity of the reporting individual or victim/survivor.

UB is obligated to issue timely warnings of Clery Act crimes occurring within relevant geography that represent a serious or continuing threat to students and employees (subject to exceptions when potentially compromising law enforcement efforts and when the warning itself could potentially identify the reporting individual or victim/survivor). A reporting individual or victim/survivor will never be identified in a timely warning.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act allows institutions to share information with parents when (1) there is a health or safety emergency, or (2) when the student is a dependent on either parents’ prior year federal income tax return. Generally, UB will not share information about a report of sexual violence with parents without the permission of the reporting individual or victim/survivor.

Revised August 13, 2015