Sexual Assault

Protocol for Faculty and Staff

Need help urgently from a police officer?

Call 716-645-2222

This protocol provides staff persons, to whom an assault may be reported, an opportunity to respond in a manner designed to best serve victim's needs and meet institutional responsibilities.

University at Buffalo Response to Campus Victims of Sexual Assault

This protocol, resource listing, and proxy reporting process have been established to provide an appropriate and coordinated response to campus victims of sexual assault. Developed in consultation with various university units, this protocol should be used in conjunction with campus sexual assault policy and individual unit procedures.

Staff Protocol

Any time you are informed by a student that they have been a victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault you should do the following:

Confidentiality should be provided to both the victim and the accused to the extent possible and consistent with one's authority to do so.

  1. Ascertain whether the victim needs immediate medical assistance. Ask victims directly how they are physically and if medical treatment is needed. Explore this issue beyond initial questioning and observation if you feel it is necessary.
  2. Make sure the victim has as much privacy as desired when speaking with you. Having anyone else in the room should be the victim's decision. Ask victims if they want someone with them at the time of your conversation. If a third party is present, assure that this person will hold information in strict confidence.
  3. Find out the victim's most critical concern and respond in a non-judgmental, informed way.
  4. Advise the victim of options regarding further steps in the process. Some of the options relate to personal, medical matters, and some to legal, practical matters. If the assault has just occurred, some of the medical options need to be addressed quickly, while other decisions may be deferred temporarily, depending on the particular circumstances and concerns of the student victim.  

The victim may choose to do one or more of the following:

• Call University Police

The victim may wish to report the incident to the University Police. A female officer may be utilized to assist a victim. After providing victim support, an investigation will be conducted to determine crime and suspect. The University Police Sexual Assault Response Team is trained to respond, utilizing specialized skills.

On North, South and Downtown Campuses
  Call 716-645-2222 or
  Use a blue light phone

Off Campus — Call 911

UB Guardian — download the safety app 

• Call Municipal Police

If the assault occurred off campus, the victim may wish to report the incident directly to local police (generally Buffalo or Amherst). Unless an investigation will be compromised or jeopardized by doing so, the local police generally inform University Police when they receive a substantiated report of a sexual assault involving a UB student. The police, however, are not required to notify UB University Police and may be willing to consider the victim's wishes when determining whether, and how, UB should be informed.


Call 911

City of Buffalo 716-851-4444
Amherst 716-689-1311

Students should know that local prosecutors will counsel them about their involvement in a criminal case (some victims have elected to consult and retain local attorneys to represent their interest in the courts, but it is certainly not necessary to do so).

Resources for Victims

Victim Experience

Victims or survivors of sexual assault may experience emotional trauma caused by the loss of trust, control, self-esteem, power and judgment. Common symptoms include shock, fear, anxiety, depression, withdrawal, loss of normal coping mechanisms, insomnia, and headaches. The healing process begins when victims/survivors are able to tell someone about their experience. The initial care and support they receive can help reduce the sense of loss. It is crucial that respondents understand and be sensitive to the emotional aftereffects of sexual assault. Specifically, respondents should be aware that:

  • Many victims/survivors of acquaintance rape do not immediately identify their experience as rape. They may feel that something is wrong, i.e., emotional upheaval, depression, but may not connect their feelings with the assault. 
  • Many victims/survivors feel they are to blame for the assault. This accounts for their feelings of shame and self-doubt. 
  • Victims/survivors experience different emotions at different times and in different ways. There is no "correct" reaction and no average length of time between assault and disclosure of the experience.

How To Express Support

Counseling experts offer advice to those who want to help someone recover from the trauma of sexual assault. They recommend that you:

  • Accept what you hear. Many acquaintance rape victims/survivors fear that their experience will be minimized as "not important."
  • Listen. Allow victims/survivors to disclose as little or as much about the assault as is comfortable for them. 
  • Comfort them. Be reassuring in a gentle, non-disapproving way. Avoid questions that are judgmental. Don't ask questions that suggest that victims/survivors are responsible for their assailant's conduct, such as "Why didn't you say no?" Avoid "why, what, or where" questions as well. 
  • Help victims/survivors organize their thoughts, but let them decide how to proceed. Support their decisions. Try to separate how you feel about what has happened from what is best for their own recovery. 
  • Allow victims/survivors to direct their own recovery and to have control over their thoughts, feelings, and actions because a critical part of healing is regaining some sense of control over their lives.

Sources of Support

Victims should know that individuals and groups, on and off-campus, are available to support them throughout this incident.

Call Crisis Services

The victim may wish to discuss the incident with Crisis Services, a community response agency, in person or on the telephone. A Rape Advocate Counselor from Crisis Services will meet a victim or go to the hospital for support. Tell the victim Crisis Services will provide a formal assessment of immediate medical and psychological needs. It will also evaluate the victim's needs, provide immediate counseling and support, and can make referrals for longer term care on personal concerns. 

Crisis Services

24 Hour Crisis Hotline

Buffalo and Erie County

Phone: (716) 834-3131

Go to the Emergency Room

The victim may wish to go directly for medical help and/or a forensics analysis. Hospital emergency rooms are the only place where evidence necessary for medical and/or forensic evaluation and court testimony can be collected. Victim's should be advised not to shower, bathe, or change clothing prior to going to the Emergency Room as this will destroy important physical evidence.

Arrangements should be made to have someone accompany victim to the hospital (you, friend, staff member, resident advisor, Crisis Services Advocate).

For physical evidence to be useful, it is best collected as soon as possible. The collection of medical evidence does not presume that charges will be pressed. As part of evidence collection, emergency room protocols involve testing for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Emergency room personnel can also offer the victim immediate counseling services, as well as local victim advocacy services. University Police generally arranges transportation to Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital (MFSH) or Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) for these purposes. Each has its own policies and protocols.

Go to Student Health Services

The victim may wish to go directly to Student Health Center (located on the South Campus) for treatment. The Health Center will follow a sexual assault medical treatment protocol including: (1) tests for sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, and counseling, (2) in the case of a female victim, a pregnancy test and counseling, and (3) referral for follow-up care and counseling. The victim should know that immediate testing is recommended, but Health Center cannot collect evidence or testimony for prosecution. 

University at Buffalo
Michael Hall, 3435 Main Street, South Campus
Buffalo, NY 14214

Phone: (716) 829-3316; Fax: (716) 829-2564

Call Counseling Services

All contacts with the Counseling Center are confidential. The staff will provide counseling support or crisis intervention services. During business hours you can reach the counseling center at (716) 645-2720. After hours or immediate contact with a counseling psychologist can be arranged through University Police.

University at Buffalo
120 Richmond Quadrangle, North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14261

Phone: (716) 645-2720; Fax: (716) 645-2175

University at Buffalo
202 Michael Hall, South Campus
Buffalo, NY 14214

Phone: (716) 829-5800

Contact Student Conduct and Advocacy

If the victim is interested in information about the campus disciplinary process and how it might apply to a case, a meeting with Judicial Affairs can be arranged as soon as the victim wishes. At that meeting, the disciplinary process will be reviewed, explaining what the student's participation in the process would involve, so that an informed decision can be made on whether to file a formal complaint on campus. 

University at Buffalo
9 Norton Hall, North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260

Phone: (716) 645-6154; Fax: (716) 645-3376

Contact Student Life or Academic Units

The Dean of Students' Office and academic units are always available to provide personal and administrative support. The offices may be able to assist in making arrangements with academic departments for leaves, extend deadlines for class assignments, postpone exams, change class schedules to separate victim and assailant, and change housing situations. They can also provide information about the University's formal judicial process. 

520 Capen Hall

Phone: (716) 645-2982

Contact Campus Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

If the assault is related to sexual harassment, this office should be advised. 

Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Support for Issues Related to Discrimination, Harassment and Accommodations

406 Capen Hall, North Campus

Phone: (716) 645-2266

Contact Family

Victims may wish to speak with their parent(s) or another family member. The University strongly encourages open communication between parents and students. Student Advocacy can assist with this, you can reach them at (716) 645-6154.

Contact a Friend

Victims may wish to seek support from a relative, friend, clergy member, residence hall advisor, faculty member, etc.

Contact External Legal Services

Victims may elect to consult with a personal attorney.

Take No Action

Victims may wish to do nothing other than have a conversation with you. A proxy report, however, should be filed in any case.

Consider Assistance for Others

While the victim's care and support is the first priority, roommates or friends may be in need of counseling and support as well. Who are they? Where are they?

Contact State Crime Victim's Board

Compensation for losses and reimbursement for assault-related expenses might be available through this service, if a police report is filed within five days of an attack (charges do not have to be pressed, however, to qualify). This agency can be contacted through University Police (call 716-645-2227 or email

Unit Protocol and Policy

Campus personnel, other than those with significant counseling responsibilities (such as licensed professionals or certified counselors), must file a report when informed by a student of a sexual assault to maintain compliance with the federal Crime Awareness Act. For further information on reporting requirements, contact University Police or Student Conduct.

It is important for the university to coordinate institutional responses on behalf of victims. If your unit has a sexual assault protocol or policy, please provide a copy to the Vice President of Student Life.  

Related Links, Forms, Policy


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