Your Legal Rights as Someone Who Has Experienced an Assault
Survivors of sexual assault or rape often feel as though they have lost control over their own lives. Knowing your rights can help you regain a sense of control.
- You have the right to medical treatment. The university can provide transportation for medical assistance.
- You have the right to emotional support.
- You have the right to have a friend, family member or advocate from a survivor assistance agency (such as the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center) accompany and stay with you during the medical exam and police questioning.
- You have the right to request an officer or detective of the gender of your choice to conduct the interview, if you choose to report the crime.
- You have the right to report your experience confidentially to University Police without using any names. Bentley tracks the instances of rape and sexual assault annually without names, so we can more effectively work to prevent it.
- You have the right to take your time and change your mind when making a decision about what to do.
Legal and/or Judicial Reporting Options
Reporting a rape or sexual assault is your decision. This page provides information to help you make an informed decision about your reporting options. Some information can also be found in the Student Handbook.
Where you can Report a Rape or Sexual Assault
- University Police, 24 hours per day/7 days per week: 781.891.3131
- Office of the Dean of Student Affairs: 781.891.2161
- Waltham Police: 781.314.3600 or Waltham District Attorney:781.893.7141
- Local Police or District Attorney if event occurs in a town or city other than Waltham
When reporting to the University Police
- University Police will facilitate access to medical assistance for you, if needed.
- You may request to speak to a male or female officer.
- The investigating officer will explain the reporting process to you.
- You can choose whether or not to provide the name of the person who committed the assault.
- If you choose to press charges, University Police will assist you in filing criminal and/or judicial charges.
- University Police will refer you to resources on or off campus to assist you with recovery.
- “All reports of rape and sexual assault or attempts to commit such offenses and all conversations between police officers and victims of said offenses shall not be public reports and shall be maintained by the police departments in a manner which will assure their confidentiality.” (Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 41, Section 97D).
- University Police also has a primary responsibility to maintain campus safety. As a result, a police investigation may be required whether or not you want this to occur.
- University Police can contact a member of the Office of Counseling and Student Development, the Center for Health and Wellness, or other offices anytime, day or night, at the request of the survivor.
When Reporting to the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs
- You may speak to the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs in the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs for information on the University Judicial System and options within this system. If you choose to report the incident to the University Police, the police can assist you with judicial options, provided that you give the police permission to do so. The Office of the Dean of Student Affairs takes privacy concerns very seriously.
When Reporting to Waltham or Local Police/District Attorney’s Office
- If an event occurs off campus, you are encouraged to report the incident to the local police authority where the event has occurred. University Police can also assist you with reporting to either local police or district attorneys, if desired.
- If a sexual assault occurs on the Bentley campus and you choose to report to the police, the assault should be reported first to the University Police on campus.
Things to Consider
- Reporting is always your choice.
- Whether you wish to report or not, you have the right to confidential medical and counseling services through the Center for Health and Wellness and the Office of Counseling and Student Development.
- Reporting allows for your protection and the protection of the campus as a whole.
- Taking legal or judicial action can provide you with a chance to regain a sense of personal control.
- Pursuing legal or judicial action can also be a source of additional stress, depending on the nature of the action you choose and the level of response required by the authorities. Their response may not always be under your control. To help you through the reporting and subsequent processes, it is important to establish a supportive network of friends, family, or professionals who can be there for you.