How to Handle Mandatory Reporting
As a staff or faculty member of the CU community, you play many different roles. Sometimes, however, those roles can come into conflict. For instance, because you are a visible and trusted person in the community students are likely to come to you for advice, assistance or support. However, if a student discloses that they have been the victim of a crime, you may have a duty to report. The duty to report can be upsetting and challenging for both you as staff and the student. This handout will provide some basic tips and information on how to handle mandatory reporting situations. If you have further questions, please contact the Office of Victim Assistance (303-492-8855) or the Office of Student Conduct, (303-492-5550) or click here.
Why do you have to report?
It is the policy of UCB, that supervisors who become aware of a complaint of protected class discrimination and harassment and sexual harassment (including sexual assault) or related retaliation, to promptly report it to the Office of Discrimination and Harassment (ODH) if the alleged perpetrator is an employee, or to the Office of Student Conduct (OSC), if the alleged perpetrator is a student. Staff in offices that hold legal confidentiality privileges (such as Office of Victim Assistance) are exempted from this reporting policy.
How do I tell a student that I have to report?
- Support First: If a student discloses something you believe may be a crime, offer support first. Let the student know that you are there to help them, DO NOT judge or blame. Acknowledge the experience and inform them of resources they can access for support.
- Explain your Obligation to report: Explain to the student that while you recognize they are dealing with a difficult situation, you have some reporting obligations.
What do I do if she/he gets upset?
The idea of reporting to may be upsetting to the student.The student may fear that the situation will get out of control or that other people will find out.Assure the student that:
- They won’t lose all control:The student does not have to meet with or talk with anyone if they do not want to.Just because a report has been made does not mean that the student has to pursue or engage in the process.
- They can choose to have accompaniment when meeting with ODH, OSC, or police (or anyone else):Victim Advocates who are experienced with legal, judicial and medical systems can be called to accompany victims and victim-witnesses in all meetings.
- Tell them you will not be telling everyone what they have disclosed:Let the student know that you will not disclose their information to anyone who does not need to know (such as friends, other classmates, RA’s etc.)
- There are confidential resources to help her/him:provide the student with information for the confidential offices on campus.
“I think I know where you are going with this…”
If you suspect that a student might be getting ready to tell you that they have been the victim of a crime you might consider doing the following:
- Say to the student: “I think I know where you are going with this.While I absolutely want to support and listen to you, I need to let you know that I may not be able to keep your information confidential.If this is something that you don’t want anyone else to know about we can call somebody right now who is confidential.” Make sure you let the student know that you want them to be heard!
- If the student agrees you can contact the Office of Victim Assistance, 303-492-8855, an advocate can meet with the student in our offices, or come to you.
“Don’t use names…”
If a student feels they cannot wait to talk to a confidential staff person you might consider doing the following:
- Ask the student to talk generally to you about the situation and encourage them to not give the names of the people involved.You will still be required to report but she/he will maintain a greater level of control over the situation.
- Encourage the resident to make contact with a confidential office for support and resources.