Victim Advocacy Center
You Are Not Alone.
If you find yourself a victim of power-based personal violence (i.e. sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and/or stalking), please know you are not alone. Trained Osprey Advocates through the WGSC's Victim Advocacy Center are here to help you.
Our Advocates are CONFIDENTIAL, which means you can safely go over your options BEFORE you report your assault to the University or law enforcement. Call us today at 609-849-8473 (24/7).
What Is a Victim Advocate?
Victim advocates are professionals trained to support victims of crime. Advocates offer victims information, emotional support, and help finding resources and filling out paperwork. Sometimes, advocates go to court with victims. Advocates may also contact organizations, such as criminal justice or social service agencies, to get help or information for victims. Some advocates staff crisis hotlines, run support groups, or provide in-person counseling. Victim advocates may also be called victim service providers, victim/witness coordinators, or victim/witness specialists.
Roles and Training
Advocates' responsibilities vary depending on their job description and where they work Typically, the role of an advocate may include:
- Providing information on victimization;
- Providing information on crime prevention;
- Providing information on victims' legal rights and protections;
- Providing information on the criminal justice process;
- Providing emotional support to victims;
- Helping victims with safety planning;
- Helping victims with victim compensation applications;
- Helping victims submit comments to courts and parole boards;
- Intervening with creditors, landlords, and employers on behalf of victims;
- Helping victims find shelter and transportation;
- Providing referrals for other services for victims; Helping to arrange funerals; and
- Notifying victims of inmates' release or escape.
Advocates work in many different locations. Some serve in the criminal justice system (in police stations, prosecutor's offices, courts, probation or parole departments, or prisons). They may also be part of private nonprofit organizations such as sexual assault crisis centers or domestic violence programs. Some advocates are paid staff, and others are volunteers. Many advocates have academic degrees that prepare them to work with victims. They may have studied social work, criminal justice, education, or psychology. Advocates often receive significant additional training on the specific knowledge and skills they need on the job.
How Advocates Work with Victims
Advocates offer victims information about the different options available to them and support victims' decision-making. Advocates do not tell victims what to do. Advocates are committed to maintaining the highest possible levels of confidentiality in their communications with victims. However, the level of confidentiality they can observe depends on their position, education, licensure, and the laws in each state. An advocate in a police department may have to share any information related to an investigation with officers. Yet an advocate at a domestic violence program may be able to keep most victims' confidences private. However, all advocates must report certain types of information to the authorities. For example, they have to report any type of threat to a person (such as clients threatening to hurt themselves or someone else), and they have to report the abuse or neglect of children. It is important for victims to ask about confidentiality rules before they begin working with an advocate.
If You Are a Victim
It may be difficult for you to reach out for help. But you may find that victim advocates can offer you information, support, and access to helpful services you might not know about. Victims are often relieved to know that agencies in their community want to make sure they are safe and have the help they need to recover from the impact of the crime.
Copyright 2008 by the National Center for Victims of Crime. This information may be freely distributed, provided that it is distributed free of charge, reprinted in its entirety, and includes this copyright notice.
You Have Options.
If you are a victim/survivor of power-based personal violence and/or bullying, and wish to speak confidentially with an Osprey Advocate about your options, request an appointment below or call 609-849-8473 (24/7/365). At this time, Advocacy meetings can be held via Zoom Conferencing, by phone or in-person (masks mandatory).
If you are a survivor of power-based personal violence and/or bullying, and wish to file a report with the school, please click the button below. The Stockton Culture of Respect represents our ongoing commitment to civility, community and safety.
Updated every semester, the Stockton Police Department publishes a Complainant's Notification of Rights and Options. Click the box above to access the handout.
Disclaimer Concerning External Websites and Applications
For information on Stockton University’s Title IX related policies, procedures, resources, and processes, contact Christine Pickel, Stockton’s Title IX Coordinator by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 609-652-4366. You may also review Stockton’s Title IX web page for information, available at https://stockton.edu/diversity/title-ix/index.html. Material and information contained on externally developed websites and applications may not contain current information for Title IX-related resources, and you assume the risk for use of information from those external sources.
A Sexual Assault is any sexual act directed against another person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will; or not forcibly or against the person’s will where the victim is incapable of giving consent, as well as incest or statutory rape. Domestic violence includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim. Dating violence means violence committed by a person who is or has been in a romantic or intimate relationship with the victim. Stalking is engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress.
“Victim of Domestic Violence” – a person protected by the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA) and includes any person:
- Who is 18 years of age or older, or who is an emancipated minor, and who has been subjected to domestic violence by:
- Spouse or former spouse
- Any other person who is a present or former household member, or
- Who, regardless of age, has been subjected to domestic violence by a person:
- With whom the victim has a child in common, or
- With whom the victim anticipates having a child in common, if one of the
parties is pregnant, or
- Who, regardless of age, has been subjected to domestic violence by a person with whom the victim has had a dating relationship.
If you are the victim of sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking or other crime, it is important that any evidence is preserved and a chain of custody established as soon as possible. Preserving evidence may help prove an offense of sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking or other crime occurred, and may be used to establish the need for a restraining order or no contact order. Some suggestions:
- Avoid cleaning your body in any way such as taking a shower, bathing, douching, washing your hands, combing your hair or brushing your teeth. This will help maintain any potential evidence that may contain DNA such as semen, blood, hair or other bodily fluids, as well as fibers, particles, etc.
- Do not urinate, especially if you suspect you were given a drug to incapacitate you; if it is urgent that you do, attempt to collect urine in a clean container. Certain drugs leave the body quickly and urine should be collected as evidence as soon as possible. Urine should be refrigerated. Do not use toilet paper to clean yourself afterward.
- Do not change your clothes, but if you must, put all of the clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault or crime in clean paper (no plastic) bags or envelopes, preferably separately, and bring the bag(s) with you to the hospital or police department. Allow clothing to air dry prior to bagging and do not allow anyone else to handle the items. The hospital can provide you with alternative clothing or you can have someone bring you clothing.
- Do not clean or alter the crime scene in any way to preserve any additional evidence such as bedding, used condoms, condom wrappers, cigarette butts, drink containers, receipts, suspect clothing or any other objects/items that may have been used during the crime. Do not touch anything at the scene!
- Preserve any photographic or other electronic evidence, even if you feel it is not important or relevant to the crime. Telephone calls, voicemails, e-mails, text messages, videos, photographs and other social media communications can be used to establish a timeline and assist with recall.
- Take photographs of any injuries, to include a full photograph of the person whose injuries are being documented. Take photographs of property damage, to include a photograph of individual items, the entire room where the damage is located, the outside of the residence where the photographs are being taken, etc. Copy or screenshot anything on a telephone, computer, tablet, etc. that may be removed and destroyed.
- Consider changing passwords and PIN numbers, if previously shared, so no one can access your phone, websites, storage clouds, accounts, etc. Be sure to keep these new passwords in a safe and secure location.
- Jot down notes to assist with future recall.
If you have any questions about the preservation of evidence, please contact the Stockton University Police Department at 609-652-4390.
NOTE: As of March 1, 2019, the Mainland campus of AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center (ARMC) is a fully functional Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) center. Victims of sexual assault may receive a forensic exam by a qualified nurse examiner at this location, which is on the grounds of Stockton University. Please see the resource section in the victim notification handout for additional county locations.
Both Stockton University and our local community offer other important resources to the victims of sexual violence including medical treatment, counseling and advocacy they may wish to utilize. Most of these resources are free of charge to the victim. A victim need not make a formal report to law enforcement or Stockton University to access these resources that include the following:
**If you are a victim of sexual assault, domestic violence, and/or stalking, and wish to speak confidentially with an Osprey Advocate, please call (609) 849-8473 (24/7/365).**
In an emergency, please call 911 or Stockton Police at (609)-652-4390.
Women's, Gender & Sexuality Center (WGSC): 609-626-3611
- The Women's, Gender and Sexuality Center (WGSC) is a free confidential center that supports all students who have experienced power-based personal violence; this includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, LGBTQ identity-based harassment, stalking, and bullying.
- The staff and advocates in the WGSC are here to help! Whether it is going through a Title IX investigation or a criminal case, we will be there every step of the way to support your voice in the process.
Office of Counseling Services: 609-652-4722
Office of Community Wellness & Health Education: 609-652-4701
Avanzar: Free individual and group counseling services for residents of Atlantic County.
Coalition Against Rape & Abuse (CARA): Free individual and group counseling services for residents of Cape May County
Stockton Police Department- 911 or 609.652.4390 "Everyone should know, 4-3-9-0!"
- 2018 Annual Security & Fire Safety Report (Contains Clery Act Statistics)
- Victim Notification Handout: This informational police handout is for students who are victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and/or stalking. Includes victim bill of rights, important on-campus and off-campus resources, how to preserve evidence, SANE/SART, and what happens during a forensic examination.
Care & Community Standards Office, F-107, 609.626.3585
Title IX/Equal Opportunity and Institutional Compliance Office, L-201, 609.652.4693
In certain situations, you may apply for a temporary restraining order (TRO), which is designed to protect a victim of domestic violence. You can apply for a restraining order Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM until 3:30 PM, by appearing in person at the Domestic Violence Unit of the Superior Court, Family Division, in the appropriate county*. You may also apply for a restraining order at a police department in emergent situations, during hours when courts are closed. You can apply at a police department in the jurisdiction where the domestic violence occurred, where the suspect resides, where you reside or where you are sheltered or temporarily staying. Stockton University Police can assist you with determining where to make a report, depending on the specifics of your case. A hearing for the issuance of a final restraining order (FRO) is generally held within ten days after the issuance of a TRO. A restraining order may be issued without the signing of a criminal complaint.
A no contact order, for non-domestic situations, may be issued by a Judge upon the authorization of a criminal complaint. You must request this at the police department that generates the criminal complaint.
The Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act of 2015 provides that a victim of nonconsensual sexual contact, sexual penetration, or lewdness, or any attempt at such conduct, and who does not fit the definition of a “victim” under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, may apply for a temporary protective order against the alleged perpetrator of such act(s).
If a temporary protective order is granted, it remains in effect until a final protective order hearing is held, typically within ten days of the issuance of the temporary order.
A protective order may prohibit the alleged perpetrator from: committing or attempting to commit any future act of nonconsensual sexual contact, sexual penetration, or lewdness against the victim; entering the residence, property, school or place of employment of the victim; having any contact with the victim or others (contact includes personal, written, telephone or other electronic means). The order may also provide other relief as deemed appropriate.
Application for a temporary protective order may be made Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM until 3:30 PM, by appearing in person at the Superior Court, Family Division, in the appropriate county*. Application may be made in a court having jurisdiction over the place where the alleged conduct or attempted conduct occurred, where the defendant resides, or where the victim resides or is sheltered.
*In Atlantic County, where Stockton University is located, you may apply for restraining orders or temporary protective orders at the Superior Court, Family Division, 1201 Bacharach Boulevard, Atlantic City, NJ, 609-345-6700. Contact information for all county courts in NJ can be found here:njcourts.gov/courts/vicinages/county.html.
Restraining orders, no contact orders and other protective orders shall be valid throughout the state and shall be enforced by all law enforcement officers.
Reporting to law enforcement is a personal decision, and is encouraged by the University.
However, if you are uncertain about reporting an incident of sexual assault to law enforcement, you may still have evidence collected by a specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE), at certain local hospitals, for up to approximately five days after an assault. You have the right to agree to all or parts of the exam, or can decline to have a kit completed.
A trained “Osprey Advocate” from AVANZAR will meet you at the hospital to accompany you through the examination process. Although you may also decline the free services of an advocate, we strongly encourage someone to be with you to help provide support during this time and answer any questions you may have about the process.
An examination is conducted using specialized equipment; any physical evidence will be collected, photographs of injuries taken and information regarding the assault will be logged.
The SANE will secure any evidence in a sexual assault examination kit, which will then be sealed and turned over to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office. The kit will be transferred to local law enforcement if you decide to report and proceed with a criminal investigation, or it will be held for a specific period of time, which is determined by the NJ Office of the Attorney General (currently a minimum of five years), and then may be disposed if you decline to report to law enforcement.
The examination kit is completed at no cost to you.
A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) is a Registered Nurse who has received special training so that s/he can provide comprehensive care to sexual assault victims. In addition, s/he is able to conduct a forensic exam and may provide expert testimony if a case goes to trial.
The Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) is a community-based team that coordinates the response to victims of sexual assault. The team may be composed of SANEs, hospital personnel, sexual assault victim advocates, law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, and any other professionals with a specific interest in assisting victims of sexual assault.
(taken from rainn.org)
Advocates are professionally trained to support victims of crime. Advocates do not give advice, but rather inform victims of their options, give information, emotional support, and help in finding resources and filling out paperwork. Advocates may also go to interviews and hearings with victims. Advocates may contact departments, such as the Title IX office, Care & Community Standards or Stockton University Police, to get help or information for victims. Some advocates staff the WGSC, run support groups, secure accommodations, or provide in-person counseling to the victim. Victim Advocates at Stockton University are called, “Osprey Advocates” and you are encouraged to have one! Please call the WGSC at 609-626-3611 or make an appointment in F-103 to meet with one. (adapted from victimsofcrime.org)
Your safety and mental health are most important and you have options regarding making a report. Stockton University will take all necessary precautions to protect your identity and will never identify you in publicly available information, such as the campus Crime Log, Clery Annual Security Reports and/or warnings sent out to the campus community.
Should you choose to make a report to law enforcement, Stockton University authorities will comply with any request for assistance in notifying the proper law enforcement agency, whether it be University police or a local police agency. Reporting to law enforcement generally involves a formal fact-finding interview, collection of evidence, witness and suspect interviews, and possibly criminal complaints, depending your particular case. You may have an advocate of your choosing with you during the process.
Should you decide to make a Title IX complaint, non-confidential reports can be privately taken by Stockton University Police Department, or a Responsible Employee such as, the Office of Institutional Diversity & Equity (OIDE), the Care & Community Standards Office, the Office of Residential Life, or Human Resources. You may have an advocate of your choosing with you during the process (Osprey Advocate, friend, family member, teacher, colleague etc.)
Responsible employees who receive notice of an incident of sexual violence that occurs on or off campus that involves a member of the Stockton campus community must report it to the Title IX Coordinator.
At Stockton, all employees are responsible employees unless they have confidentiality. However, some employees are allowed to maintain near complete confidentiality; talking to them is sometimes called a “privileged communication.” Staff of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Center (WGSC), Osprey Advocates, Counseling Services, and the licensed physicians and nurses in Health Services are not considered to be Responsible Employees and have the ability to maintain a complainant’s confidentiality. Speaking with a confidential resource will not trigger a Title IX and/or criminal complaint, unless the victim wants to move forward with a case.
If you are unsure whether reporting is best for you, contact a confidential victim advocate (WGSC 609-849-8473/ Avanzar 1-800-286-4184) to go over all your options.
The Title IX process will be prompt, fair and impartial from the initial investigation to the final result. You will be provided with timely notice of any meetings and proceedings and have equal access to all information. Processes will be conducted by officials who, at a minimum, receive annual training on the issues related to dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, and on how to conduct an investigation and hearing process that protects the safety of the victim and promotes accountability.
Complaints against students go through the student conduct process. Complaints involving sexual misconduct are administratively investigated by the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIDE), with the evidence provided to the Care & Community Standards Office for processing through the Campus Hearing Board (CHB). Complaints against employees are handled by the OIDE under the Policy Prohibiting Discrimination in the workplace.
Following a Title IX Administration Investigation, students have the right to pursue resolution through the CHB disciplinary process and/or the use of the University’s Mediation and Problem Solving (MAPS) program.
The disciplinary proceeding utilized for violations of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking is the CHB. You may have others present during any institutional disciplinary proceeding, including the opportunity to be accompanied by an advisor and/or an advocate of your choice to any related meeting or proceeding.
Stockton University uses the ‘preponderance of the evidence’ standard to decide CHB cases. If the student respondent is found guilty of a violation involving sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence or stalking, possible sanctions include community service, suspension and expulsion. The parties are notified, in writing, of the result of any disciplinary proceeding, procedures to appeal the result, any change to the result, and when the result becomes final.
A mediation can only occur if all parties voluntarily decide (without coercion) and are willing to engage in mediation. Mediation does not eliminate a victim’s right to file a complaint for either a criminal or administrative investigation, nor the right to consult an attorney.
For more information on resolutions through either the disciplinary process and/or mediation, you may also contact the Care & Community Standards Office, F-107, 609-626-3585, or complete the request form found on the Care & Community Standards website. Questions that involve employees can also be directed to the Office of Human Resources, J115, 609-652-4384.
Stockton will make good faith efforts to complete the investigative and adjudicative processes within 60 calendar days, provided doing so does not compromise the University’s ability to conduct a fair, impartial, and thorough investigation and adjudicative process. The resolution period may extend beyond 60 calendar days in complex cases, or where other circumstances necessitate additional time to investigate, adjudicate or otherwise resolve the matter.
You are entitled to all available supportive measures, whether you choose to involve law enforcement or have a school investigation and regardless of who you choose to tell.
Supportive measures may include, Stockton cease and desist order (no contact order), changes in housing, the classroom and at work, campus bans, and other safety measures intended to empower the victim as they continue with their education.
All supportive measures will be kept confidential, as long as it does not limit the University’s ability to provide them. If the University is required to share information to make an accommodation, you will be notified of why, what information and to whom, prior to the sharing.
Students may contact the Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Center (WGSC) in F-103 at 609-626-3611 and/or the Care & Community Standards Office in F-107 at 609-626-3585. Employees should contact Human Resources (HR) at x4384.
A college or university in a free society must be devoted to the pursuit of truth and knowledge through reason and open communication among its members. Academic communities acknowledge the necessity of being intellectually stimulating where the diversity of ideas is valued. Its rules must be conceived for the purpose of furthering and protecting the rights of all members of the college community in achieving these ends.
The boundaries of personal freedom are limited by applicable state and federal laws and institutional rules and regulations governing interpersonal behavior. Respect for the individual and human dignity is of paramount importance in creating a community free from violence, sexual assault and non-consensual sexual contact.
The State of New Jersey recognizes that the impact of violence on its victims and the surrounding community can be severe and long lasting. Thus, it has established this Bill of Rights to articulate requirements for policies, procedures and services designed to insure that the needs of victims are met and that the colleges and universities in New Jersey create and maintain communities that support human dignity
The following Rights shall be accorded to victims of sexual assault that occur:
- on the campus of any public or independent institution of higher education in the State of New Jersey, and
- where the victim or alleged perpetrator is a student at that institution, and/or
- when the victim is a student involved in an off-campus sexual assault.
HUMAN DIGNITY RIGHTS
- to be free from any suggestion that victims must report the crimes to be assured of any other right guaranteed
under this policy
- to have any allegations of sexual assault treated seriously; the right to be treated with dignity
- to be free from any suggestion that victims are responsible for the commission of crimes against them
- to be free from any pressure from campus personnel to:
- report crimes if the victim does not wish to do so
- report crimes as lesser offenses than the victim perceives the crime to be
- refrain from reporting crimes
- refrain from reporting crimes to avoid unwanted personal publicity
RIGHT TO RESOURCES ON AND OFF CAMPUS
- to be notified of existing campus-and community-based medical, counseling, mental health and student services for victims of sexual assault whether or not the crime is formally reported to campus or civil authorities
- to have access to campus counseling under the same terms and conditions as apply to other students in their institution seeking such counseling
- to be informed of and assisted in exercising:
- any rights to confidential or anonymous testing for sexually transmitted diseases. Human immunodeficiency virus and/or pregnancy
- any rights that may be provided by law to compel and disclose the results of testing of sexual assault suspects for communicable diseases
CAMPUS JUDICIAL RIGHTS
- to be afforded the same access to legal assistance as the accused
- to be afforded the same opportunity to have others present during a campus disciplinary proceeding that is allowed the accused
- to be notified of the outcome of the sexual assault disciplinary proceeding against the accused
- to have any allegation of sexual assault investigated and adjudicated by the appropriate criminal and civil authorities of the jurisdiction in which the sexual assault is reported
- to receive full and prompt cooperation and assistance of campus personnel in notifying the proper authorities
- to receive full, prompt and victim-sensitive cooperation of campus personnel with regard to obtaining, securing and maintaining evidence, including a medical examination when it is necessary to preserve evidence of the assault
CAMPUS INTERVENTION RIGHTS
- to require campus personnel to take reasonable and necessary actions to prevent further unwanted contact of a victim by the alleged assailant to be notified of the options for and provided assistance in changing academic and living situations if such changes are reasonably available