Sexual violence is prohibited under state law and the college’s Policy on Affirmative Action. Sexual violence is prohibited pursuant to Title IX of the Educational Amendment Act of 1972, which states: No person in the United States, shall on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal assistance.
All reported or suspected cases of sexual violence shall be reported to the college’s Diversity & Title IX Officer Gia Sanchez. She may be contacted by telephone at 774-357-2264 or email correspondence at Gia.Sanchez@Bristolcc.edu. If Ms. Sanchez is unavailable, the Human Resources office may be contacted by telephone at 774-357-2195 or email correspondence at diversitytitleIX@bristolcc.edu.
All reported or suspected cases of sexual violence shall be reported to the college’s Diversity & Title IX Officer.
The college prohibits retaliation against any person who presents a formal or informal complaint of sexual violence or who testifies or offers evidence connected with a complaint. Retaliation is a violation of this policy whether or not the underlying claim of sexual violence is confirmed.
Sexual Violence Defined
Sexual violence is defined as any sexual activity where consent is not obtained or able to be freely given, and shall include the following categories:
- Rape - Defined in Massachusetts as the oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by an inanimate object, penis, or other bodily part without consent. In Massachusetts, it is illegal to have sex with someone who is incapable of giving consent because they are: (1) intoxicated; (2) unconscious; (3) mentally incompetent; or (4) under 16 years of age
- Acquaintance Rape - Rape upon someone by a person he or she knows
- Sexual Assault - Any unwanted sexual activity that is forced or coerced by one person on another
Intimate Partner Violence
Stalking – Defined in Massachusetts as whoever (a) willfully and maliciously engages in a knowing pattern of conduct or series of acts over a period of time directed at a specific person which seriously alarms or annoys that person and would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, and (b) makes a threat with the intent to place the person in imminent fear of death or bodily injury, shall be guilty of the crime of stalking.
Dating Violence – Violence committed by a person: (a) who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and (b) where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: (I) the length of the relationship; (ii) the type of relationship; and (iii) the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
Domestic Violence - Mass. General Laws, Chapter 209A, Section 1. Occurrence of one or more of the following abusive acts between family or household members: (a) attempting to cause or causing physical harm; (b) placing another in fear of imminent serious physical harm; (c) causing another to engage involuntarily in sexual relations by force, threat or duress. “Family or household members” include persons who: (a) are or were married to one another; (b) are or were residing together in the same household; (c) are or were related by blood or marriage; (d) having a child in common regardless of whether they have ever married or lived together; or (e) are or have been in a substantive dating or engagement relationship, which shall be adjudged by a court upon considering the following factors: (1) the length of time of the relationship; (2) the type of relationship; (3) the frequency of interaction between the parties; and (4) if the relationship has been terminated by either person, the length of time elapsed since the termination of the relationship.
Reporting Complaints of Sexual Violence
A victim of sexual violence has the right to file (or not file) an Affirmative Action Discrimination Complaint Form with the college. The process for filing a complaint is outlined under the Policy on Affirmative Action’s Complaint Procedure. For more information or assistance with filing a complaint, please contact the college’s Diversity & Title IX Officer. If the Diversity & Title IX Officer is the subject of a complaint, the President shall designate another college official to administer the Complaint Procedures. A victim may also choose to file a criminal complaint, in which case the Diversity & Title IX Officer and/or Campus Police can assist the victim with that process. Reporting the incident to the Diversity & Title IX Officer or Campus Police does not obligate the victim to file criminal charges.
Investigation by the College
The college is obligated to investigate allegations of sexual violence, even if the alleged victim chooses not to file a formal complaint and/or participate in the investigation. Additionally, a complaint filed in another forum, including a criminal or civil complaint, shall not delay the college’s investigation of a complaint of sexual violence. The college shall promptly and thoroughly investigate all such allegations in accordance with the Policy on Affirmative Action. The college may also institute protective measures, such as a no-trespass order, restricted access to campus, adjusted class or work schedule, or a leave of absence, during the investigative process and/or upon completion of the disciplinary process. A person found to have committed an act of sexual violence shall be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension, expulsion or termination from the college, as well as criminal prosecution.
Personal identifiable information about a victim will be treated as confidential and only shared with persons with a specific need to know and/or who are investigating and/or adjudicating the complaint, delivering resources or support services to the victim or as public safety requires. The college does not publish the names or other identifiable information of victims in the campus police department’s Daily Crime Log, in any Timely Warnings issued or online. In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, a victim may request that no directory information maintained by the college be released absent his/her prior written consent.
Protections for Victims of Sexual Violence
A person who is subjected to sexual violence shall:
- Be provided with a copy of the college’s Sexual Violence – Victim’s Rights and Information
- Have the right to, or not to, seek assistance from campus administration or campus law enforcement
- Not be discouraged by college officials from reporting an incident to both on-campus and off-campus authorities
- Be provided assistance in contacting local law enforcement if requested and have the full and prompt assistance and cooperation of campus personnel should a civil and/or criminal complaint be pursued
- Be free from any suggestion that they somehow contributed to or had a shared responsibility in the violent act
- Receive the same level of support at any proceeding before college officials as is permitted to the accused party, including the presence of a representative during any disciplinary proceeding and the right to be notified in a timely manner of the outcome of such proceedings and any appeal right available
- Receive full and prompt cooperation from college personnel in obtaining and securing evidence (including medical evidence) necessary for any potential criminal proceedings;
- Have access to existing college counseling and medical professionals, victim support services, and to obtain referrals to off-campus counseling and support services if desired
- Be permitted to attend classes, work and participate in college activities free from unwanted contact or proximity with the accused individual(s) insofar as the college is permitted and able
- Be permitted to request changes to an academic schedule if such changes are requested by the alleged victim and are reasonably available; and
- Be informed of any no-contact or no-trespass orders issued to the accused by the college and the college’s commitment to honor any court-issued restraining or protective orders, to the extent permitted by law
Recommended Procedures for a Victim of Sexual Violence
For a person subjected to an act of sexual violence, there can be time-sensitive decisions to make about sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy, and collecting physical evidence in the event of prosecution. Individuals who have been victims of sexual violence are advised as follows:
- Protect yourself and Get Medical Attention – A victim should be advised to go to a safe place as soon as possible and seek medical attention immediately. Injuries and exposure to disease may not be immediately apparent. A medical examination can provide necessary treatment and collect important evidence. It is recommended that a physical examination be conducted within 72 hours of the violence. Submitting to a physical exam does not mean that a victim is required to press charges. This action merely preserves the option to do so. Designated college personnel can assist in providing transportation to the hospital.
- Preserve Evidence - It is important to preserve all physical evidence following an act of sexual violence. Physical evidence may be necessary in the event criminal prosecution is pursued. If possible, a victim should be advised not to wash, eat, drink, douche, clean, use the bathroom, or change clothes. If clothes are changed, all clothes that were worn at the time of the incident should not be cleaned and should be placed into an unused or a clean paper bag.
- Access Health and Support Services - Various health and support services are available on and off campus for students and employees who have experienced sexual violence. For information about such services, including counseling, please contact the college’s Affirmative Action and/or Diversity & Title IX Officer.
Anyone who receives a report or discovers a possible sexual assault (or any type of sexual violence) on campus shall immediately report this to Campus Security personnel or any Campus Security Authority (CSA).
Mandatory Reporting Under State Law
Children (a person under the age of 18) may be students at the college, or may be engaged in activities sponsored by the college or by third-parties utilizing college facilities. In such instances, where an employee has reasonable cause to believe that a child is suffering physical or emotional injury, resulting from among other causes, sexual abuse, the employee and the college may be obligated to comply with the mandatory reporting requirements established at M.G.L. Chapter 119, Section 51A-E. In such cases, the employee is directed to immediately report the matter to the college’s Diversity & Title IX Officer who, in consultation with other officials, shall contact the Commonwealth’s Department of Children and Families and/or law enforcement.
An employee may also contact local law enforcement authorities or the Department of Children and Families directly in cases of suspected abuse or neglect.
State law also maintains mandatory reporting requirements for certain occupations where elderly and disabled abuse or neglect is suspected. For more information on these reporting requirements please contact the college’s Diversity & Title IX Officer.
Rape Crisis Center Contact Information
The following is a list of Rape Crisis Centers in South Eastern Massachusetts. As the following contact information may be subject to change, current contact information on rape crisis centers in Massachusetts can be found at the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services’ Website under “Consumer” information at http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/.
A Safe Place
Sexual Assault Prevention & Survivor Program
5 Windy Way
Nantucket MA 02554
Hotline (508) 228-2111
TTY (508) 228-7095
Office (508) 228-0561
Fax (508) 228-8825
The Women's Center
New Bedford Women’s Center
405 County Street
New Bedford MA 02740
Hotline (888) 839-6636
TTY (508) 996-1177
Office (508) 996-3343
Fax (508) 999-7139
The Women’s Center Fall River
Fall River Office (by appointment only)
209 Bedford Street
Fall River, MA 02720
A New Day
950 West Chestnut Street
Brockton MA 02301-5567
[Additional sites in Quincy & Plymouth]
Hotline (508) 588-8255
TTY (508) 894-2869
Office (508) 580-3964
Fax (508) 588-0034
Cape Cod Rape Crisis Center
160 Basset Lane
Hyannis MA 02601
[Additional sites in Falmouth, Orleans & Provincetown]
Hotline (800) 439-6507
TTY (508) 771-6782
Office (508) 771-6507
Fax (508) 778-0143
CONNECT to end violence
Martha’s Vineyard Community Services
111 Edgartown Road
Vineyard Haven* MA 02568
[*wheelchair-accessible site in Oak Bluffs]
Hotline (508) 696-7233
TTY (508) 684-8176
Office (508) 684-8074 x 103
Fax (508) 684-8178
Sexual Assault Prevention & Survivor Program
140 Park Street
Attleboro MA 02703
[Additional sites in Taunton & Webster]
Hotline (800) 323-4673
TTY (800) 323-4673
Office (508) 226-4015
Fax (508) 226-6917
Boston & 128 Area
Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC)
99 Bishop Allen Drive
Cambridge* MA 02139-3425
TTY (617) 492-6434
Statewide Spanish Hotline
Statewide Spanish Rape Crisis Hotline
Pathways for Change
588 Main Street
Worcester MA 01608-2014
[Additional site in Fitchburg]
Hotline (800) 870-5905
TTY (888) 887-7130
Office (508) 852-7600
Fax (508) 852-7870
Wayside Trauma Intervention Services
Valley Rape Crisis Program
10 Asylum Street
Milford MA 01757
Hotline (800) 511-5070
TTY (508) 478-4205
Office (508) 478-6888
Fax (508) 478-9042
Voices Against Violence
South Middlesex Opportunity Council
300 Howard Street
Framingham MA 01702-8313
Hotline/TTY (800) 593-1125
Hotline/TTY (508) 626-8686
Office (508) 820-0834
Fax (508) 872-4264
Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County
Walk-in Center at 61 Main Street Wakefield, RI
Office Hours: Monday-Friday 9:00 am-5:00pm
Business Calls use 401-782-3995
24-Hour Helpline: 401-782-3990 or Call toll free 1-800-494-8100
Shelter Inquiries: 401-782-3990
Court Office: 401-782-4174; 401-782-4173
RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence
24 hour Helpline
Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center
Post Office Box 9476
Warwick, Rhode Island
Crisis Hotline: 401-738-1700
Business Line: 401-738-9700
Advocacy & Resource Center
386 Smith Street
Providence, RI 02908
Women's Center of Rhode Island
P.O. Box 603300
Providence, RI 02906
24 Hour Helpline: (401) 861-2760
1-800-494-8100 (Statewide Hotline).
Women's Center Business Phone Number: (401) 861-2761
Fax: (401) 861-2762
Rape Crisis Center
100 Medway Street
These Rape Crisis Centers offer FREE services to survivors of sexual violence, including:
- 24/7 hotline counseling, information, and referral;
- Will go with survivors to hospitals and/or police stations 24/7
- Will go with a survivor to court;
- Provide one-to-one counseling and support group counseling; and
- Provide primary prevention education; professional training; outreach.
In addition, support is available by contacting the College’s Dean of Counseling and Health Services, Michael Bensink at the Commonwealth College Center, G Building, G213, at (774) 357-2379.
Relevant Laws, Guidelines & Policies
Policy on Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity & Diversity for Massachusetts Community Colleges [Direct link to document]
Affirmative Action Discrimination Complaint Form
Office of Human Resources
Diversity & Title IX Officer
Vice President for Preparedness, Compliance and Students, Enrollment Services
Related Handbook Sections
Affirmative Action, Equal Employment & Diversity
Cleary Act Security Report