The Key to Preventing Misconduct is to Not Commit Misconduct

To stop dating/domestic violence, sexual violence, stalking, and other criminal acts the individuals who chose to commit the misconduct must choose not to do so.

Federal and state laws and CSU/Cal State LA policies prohibit dating violence, domestic violence, sexual misconduct and violence, and stalking. This prohibition applies to students, employees, and others; as well as to conduct both on and off campus.

Perpetrators and individuals found to have violated University policies are subject to a range of sanctions and legal processes.

  • Possible legal processes applicable to all policy violators: Civil lawsuits, restitution, arrest, criminal prosecution, imprisonment, court-ordered fines, and other penalties.
  • Possible employee sanctions: Written and/or verbal counseling, remedial training, reprimand, suspension, demotion and/or dismissal/termination.
  • Possible student sanctions: Restitution, loss of financial aid, educational and remedial sanctions, denial of access to campus or persons, disciplinary probation, suspension, and expulsion.

Take an honest look at your actions. Do you act in ways that are considered unhealthy or prohibited conduct?

  • Other forms of misconduct

Being able to acknowledge and take responsibility for unhealthy behaviors and misconduct are important steps toward making a positive and healthy change. Making changes may be difficult. It takes commitment, time, and in many cases, professional help. Consider obtaining nonjudgmental assistance from the National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-SAFE [7233] or 800-787-3223 [TTY]). In addition:

  • Choose to avoid unhealthy behaviors and misconduct.
  • Stop behaviors that comprise dating/domestic violence, sexual violence, stalking, and other forms of misconduct.
  • Set goals and create a plan for engaging in healthier behaviors.
  • Be committed to making the changes necessary to avoid misconduct. Take intentional steps to reach goals.
  • Don't initiate behaviors that are considered to be criminal acts or misconduct.
  • Break down attitudes and beliefs that condone violence.
  • Avoid misuse of alcohol and other substances.

How Does it Happen?

Abusive relationships and even acquaintance rapes appear to start off as any other healthy relationship or social interaction. In fact, most people are sexually assaulted by someone they know and often trust. Initially, there may be no obvious signs of the other person’s intent to harm.

Individuals who choose to abuse or commit sexual violence often groom their targets. They first do what it takes to gain their target's trust and affection. They may test boundaries with seemingly “harmless” actions – invading personal space, and name calling. Then coercion, alcohol and other substances, isolation, violence, and other means are used to control, abuse, and sexually assault.

A stalker may be a stranger, unknown to their victim. Stalkers can also be current and former intimate partners, acquaintances, strangers, family members, persons of authority, or other individuals.

General Risk Reduction

There is no strategy that offers an absolute guarantee of freedom from dating and domestic, sexual violence, or stalking victimization (individuals targeted by perpetrators don't control nor are they responsible for the behavior of perpetrators). However, awareness and knowledge are important tools that may be used to help minimize victimization risk.

Recognize Warning Signs

Knowing, recognizing, and responding to warning signs, when able, can help reduce victimization risk.

What Else Can You Do?

  • Clearly communicate your boundaries.
    • Be wary of someone who doesn't respect your limits or boundaries.
  • Trust your feelings.
    • If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. Do what you can, including enlisting the help of others if needed, to get into a safer situation.
  • Stay sober and watch out for those who pressure you to drink or get high.
    • Take care. Avoid accepting open drinks (e.g., glass of soda or beer) from others, even in comfortable or familiar surroundings (e.g., party or study session at a friend's place).
  • Plan for safety.
    • Think ahead - do you have money for a taxi/Lyft/Uber if you need to get home on your own? Have you asked friends to check in with you? If you're being abused and can't avoid the person abusing you, get help to develop a safety plan.
  • Get help, if safe to do so.
    • If you think or know you are being abused, have been sexually assaulted, or are being stalked, help is available — on campus and in the community.

Am I being abused? Have I been sexually assaulted? Am I being stalked?

  • If you answered yes to any of these questions...
    • First and foremost, know and believe that you didn't do anything wrong and you are not at fault. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect. You are not the cause of the violence; nor are you to blame or responsible for someone else’s actions – no matter what a perpetrator or others may tell you.
  • Consider obtaining help to reduce your risk of harm.
    • In addition to incident reporting, assistance is available from local law enforcement, University Police or the Cal State LA Title IX Officer. Think about getting safety planning assistance through a national hotline or local domestic and sexual violence survivor assistance agency.
  • Consider preserving evidence.
    • Evidence preservation is important in the event you decide to report the crime, seek a protective/restraining order, or file a civil lawsuit after a crime is committed or at a future date. Detailed evidence preservation tips, including information on the sexual assault forensic exam, are available through 24-hour hotlines and law enforcement agencies.
    • How evidence is preserved depends on circumstances. In all cases, documentation is important—documenting dates, times, witnesses, and descriptions of incidents in a journal or log. Also of importance is saving: clothing that was worn at the time of an assault in separate paper bags; threatening texts and emails; screenshots of online posts; and other evidence, such as unwanted gifts. Have injuries documented by a medical provider. Taking and saving pictures of injuries or vandalized property is also helpful. Keep in mind that if an incident will not be immediately reported to law enforcement or campus official (e.g., Title IX Officer), evidence should be kept in a safe place where a perpetrator is not likely to discover it.
  • Consider your options.
    • You have the right to report misconduct and the crimes committed against you; seek assistance from survivor assistance resources; preserve evidence and, if applicable, obtain the sexual assault forensic exam at no cost without a requirement to participate in the judicial system; obtain medical and mental health care; request protective/restraining orders; seek financial compensation for crime-related losses; file a civil lawsuit (i.e., sue) against perpetrators and other responsible parties, and pursue additional rights and options. You also have the right to do nothing at all.
  • Help is available 24/7
    • Help is available from local and national 24-hour hotlines.

Do You Know Someone...

Whose beliefs, attitudes, and behavior condone violence? Who is a perpetrator? Or do you see or hear inappropriate conduct or an incident occurring?

Note: If someone is in imminent danger or intervening in a situation will compromise your safety, call or text 911.

If you answered yes to any of these questions, consider that there are many ways you, as an engaged bystander — an aware or concerned family member, friend, classmate, colleague, or stranger — can intervene. Be alert to warning signs and inappropriate conduct. Take responsibility to intervene, if safe to do so. Engage others for assistance when needed.

Based on circumstances, you might intervene by:

  • Respectfully calling attention to comments that condone violence or are examples of domestic and sexual violence or stalking.
  • Speaking out against inappropriate and criminal behavior in a manner that minimizes the potential for escalation.
  • Helping extricate someone from a risky situation.
  • Causing a distraction that allows a potential victim to escape a possibly harmful situation.
  • Reporting crimes, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and other misconduct to appropriate officials.
    • On Campus, these officials may include University Police, Title IX Officer, Child Abuse Mandated Reporting Coordinator, Assistant Dean for Student Conduct, or Campus Security Authorities.
    • Off-campus, these officials may include local law enforcement, a child protection hotline, or elder abuse hotline.

For additional bystander intervention tips, click on Intervening by NO MORE and Bystander Scenarios by NO MORE. Consult with law enforcement or a 24-hour hotline for guidance if you're not sure how to respond. Call 911 in an emergency or if you or someone else is in imminent danger.

Who is a victim or survivor?

If you're not sure, take a look at:

If you answered yes to this question:

  • Show you CARE.
  • BELIEVE them.

  • DON'T BLAME them. Fault lies with the perpetrator.
  • LISTEN without passing judgment.
  • REINFORCE it's not their fault.
  • TALK about their rights and options.
  • RECOMMEND they preserve evidence.

  • HELP them get connected to a 24-hour hotline.
  • ENCOURAGE reporting, safety planning, and self-care.
  • Offer SUPPORT without taking control.
  • ALLOW them to decide what is best for their situation.
  • WATCH OUT for problems and offer assistance and support, if able.

If you’re not sure how to help your friend, family member, colleague, or acquaintance, help is available from 24-hour hotlines. Call 911 in an emergency or if you or someone else is in imminent danger.

24-Hour Hotlines

Campus Options for Victims and Survivors

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