The Department of Special Services offers emotional support, guidance and options counseling to any individual who is a victim of a sensitive crime, such as, rape, sexual assault, relationship or domestic violence, harassment and stalking.
Our highly experienced personnel, familiar with every element of both the University system and the Philadelphia criminal justice system, will guide you, step-by-step, through the process of exploring ALL of your available options, should you be victimized by a form of sexual violence.
Criminal prosecution is NEVER mandatory for the victim, it remains an option; however, only for the period mandated under the criminal statute of limitations for prosecution of crimes of intimate and sexual violence.
Options for victims of sexual violence are numerous and may be exercised in combination with each other, or separately to match the needs and emotional welfare of the victim. Options include, but are not limited to:
- Medical treatment and forensic examination at Episcopal Hospital; all victims treated at Episcopal will be interviewed by a detective of the Philadelphia Police Department's Special Victims Unit. Criminal prosecution is NOT mandatory in this case; a forensic examination will be given, however, in which evidence of the sexual trauma will be collected.
- Victims may opt not to proceed with a forensic examination, and receive a medical and health examination ONLY at Student Health Services and/or the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania; no official report of sexual assault will be taken, and the victim's identity will remain only within the University of Pennsylvania Health System.
- For students victimized by sexual violence, you may opt to proceed with disciplinary action against the perpetrator(s) as deemed appropriate by the Office of Student Conduct.
- Numerous other options involving academic, community, social, emotional and psychological support are available, and include other University partners, such as the centers and services within the Office of the Vice Provost for University Life (Cultural Resource Centers, Penn Women's Center, Student Intervention Services, Counseling & Psychological Services).
- The City of Philadelphia also offers myriad services and organizations, such as Women Organized Against Rape, Women Against Abuse and the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office Victim/Witness Services Unit.
The Department of Special Services will outline all of these options in detail, and provide support, guidance and accompaniment through any process elected by the victim. Our goal is to empower you to make the best and most informed decision for your own sense of well-being and comfort. No course of action will ever be mandated by the Division of Public Safety, or by the University of Pennsylvania.
REPORTING SUSPECTED SEXUAL ACTIVITIES AGAINST MINORS:
The Division of Public Safety’s Special Services Department is the University of Pennsylvania’s point agency for accepting information/reports on suspected sexual abuse against a minor who is engaged in any activity or program at the University of Pennsylvania. Individuals who have information about possible child sexual abuse should immediately report this type of activity by calling the Special Services Department at 215-898-6600.