Understanding the Complaint Process

A formal complaint must be filed by a “Complainant” or the Title IX Coordinator. A report to staff does not initiate the resolution process.
If made in person, the Complainant must submit a follow-up written complaint reporting sexual harassment by a Respondent and requesting that the school investigate the complaint. The Title IX Coordinator or Deputies also have the authority to sign a written complaint on behalf of a Complainant. 

Resolutions and Investigation

Informal Resolution must be mutually agreed upon by both parties. Each party retains the ability to withdraw from the informal process and return to the formal process at any time prior to agreeing to a resolution.

During an informal process, written statements are not taken from the Complainant or the Respondent, and no hearing is conducted. As such, there will not be a finding of responsibility for a violation, nor will there be disciplinary sanctions levied against a Respondent; however, there could be requirements of certain behavior or the undertaking of certain acts that are required as a part of the informal resolution of the matter. Participation in the informal resolution process is not a presumption that the Respondent has violated policies. The College will maintain records of the agreement between the parties for a period of no less than 7 years. Records will only be shared with college officials on a “need to know” basis.

The informal resolution process may not:

  • Require informal resolution participation as a condition of enrollment or continuing enrollment, or employment or continuing employment, or enjoyment of any other right (i.e. any College sponsored educational program or activity).
  • Require a waiver of the right to an investigation and adjudication of formal complaints of sexual harassment.
  • Be utilized to resolve allegations that an employee sexually harassed a student.

If alternative efforts are unsuccessful, the formal resolution process may be initiated. Either party has the right to end the informal resolution process and begin the formal process at any time prior to an agreed-upon resolution. The College reserves the right to determine a situation is not eligible for an informal resolution process and eliminate this grievance process option.

More Information about Informal Resolution can be found in the policy.

The formal resolution process involves an investigation and a hearing where a decision-maker will determine if a policy has been violated. 

In the interest of fairness and efficient resolution, information should not be intentionally withheld during any part of the process. The College expects participants to be honest and act with integrity and provide information as they have it available; this includes submitting known witnesses and/or relevant materials such as emails, texts, or pictures as their existence becomes known.

The College cannot compel a party or witness to participate in the process if they do not want to but will proceed without them as they are able.

When the participants meet with the investigator, the investigator will ask the participant to share their experience and/or knowledge of the incident. Participants will also be asked for copies of text messages, emails, social media information, etc. that are relevant to the complaint.

Once all statements have been confirmed, the investigator will share a copy of the initial investigative report with the Complainant and the Respondent. The report will include all statements from all parties, copies of text messages/emails/other information submitted for the complaint, and all other evidence collected during the investigation. This is the time to submit any additional information that the party feels is missing from the report, such as other witness testimony, text messages/emails, etc. The investigator will gather all this information and follow up with participants to ask clarifying questions, as needed.

Once all follow-ups have occurred, the investigator will submit a final investigative report to the Title IX Coordinator, Deputy Coordinators, Complainant, and Respondent. The report will include all statements from all parties and copies of text messages/emails/other information relevant to the complaint.

Both parties will be notified of the investigative outcome via their Centre College email.

Please review the policy for a full explanation of the formal resolution process.

What to Expect if You Go to the Hospital

The term rape kit actually refers to the kit itself—a container that includes a checklist, materials, and instructions, along with envelopes and containers to package any specimens collected during the exam. The contents of the kit may include:

  • Bags and paper sheets for evidence collection
  • Comb
  • Documentation forms
  • Envelopes
  • Instructions
  • Materials for blood samples
  • Swabs

If you can, try to avoid activities that could potentially damage evidence such as:

  • Bathing
  • Showering
  • Using the restroom
  • Changing clothes
  • Combing hair
  • Cleaning up the area

If you have done any of these activities, you can still have an exam performed. If you are going to the hospital, place your belongings, including the clothes you were wearing, in a paper bag to safely preserve evidence. Typically, DNA evidence needs to be collected within 72 hours, but a sexual assault forensic exam can reveal other forms of evidence beyond this time frame that can be useful if you decide to report. 

The steps below outline the general process for the exam. Remember, you can stop, pause, or skip a step at any time during the exam. It is entirely your choice.

  • Immediate care. If you have injuries that need immediate attention, those will be taken care of first.
  • History. You will be asked about your current medications, pre-existing conditions, and other questions pertaining to your health history. Some of the questions, such as those about recent consensual sexual activity, may seem very personal, but these questions are designed to ensure that DNA and other evidence collected from the exam can be connected to the perpetrator. You will also be asked about the details of what has happened to you to help identify all potential areas of injury as well as places on your body or clothes where evidence may be located.
  • Head-to-toe examination. This part of the exam may be based on your specific experience, which is why it is important to give an accurate history. It may include a full body examination, including internal examinations of the mouth, vagina, and/or anus. It may also include taking samples of blood, urine, swabs of body surface areas, and sometimes hair samples. The trained professional performing the exam may take pictures of your body to document injuries and the examination. With your permission, they may also collect items of clothing, including undergarments. Any other forms of physical evidence that are identified during the examination may be collected and packaged for analysis, such as a torn piece of the perpetrator’s clothing, a stray hair, or debris.
  • Possible mandatory reporting. If you are a minor, the person performing the exam may be obligated to report it to law enforcement. 
  • Follow up care. You may be offered prevention treatment for STIs and other forms of medical care that require a follow up appointment with a medical professional. 

The exam may take a few hours and it may be helpful to have someone to support you during this time. Local rape crisis centers are able to provide you with an advocate, so you have a confidential source to support you. Be aware that if you invite someone other than an advocate into the exam room, they could be called as a witness if you decide to report the crime.

A medical provider must have specific training to perform an exam:

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) — registered nurses who receive specialized education and fulfill clinical requirements to perform the exam.

Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners (SAFEs) and Sexual Assault Examiners (SAEs) — other healthcare professionals who have been instructed and trained to complete the exam.

It won’t cost you. You should not be charged for the exam. The Violence Against Women Act requires states to provide sexual assault forensic exams free of charge if they wish to remain eligible for critical anti-crime grant funding.

Kentucky Financial Assistance Services 

  • Crime Victim Compensation: Through the fund, victims can be compensated for medical and counseling expenses, wage loss, replacement services, and funeral expenses. Contact the Kentucky Crime Victim Compensation Program to learn more.
  • Sexual Assault Examination Program: Crime Victims Compensation is a payor of forensic sexual assault exams through the Sexual Assault Examination (SAE) Program. SAE providers should submit the required payment forms to the CVC SAE Program after first billing existing private or public medical insurance providers. 

You can have time to decide if you want to report. The decision to report the crime is entirely yours. It may take some time to decide what to do. 

Your health matters. Sexual assault can affect your physical health. You may have injuries and trauma related to the assaults that aren’t immediately visible. During an exam you may be able to access treatment for these injuries, receive preventative treatment for STIs, and obtain emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy.

Disclosures and Reporting Mandates

Kentucky law requires mandatory reporting of child abuse, neglect, and dependency (KRS 620) and the abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of adults who have a physical or mental disability and are unable to protect themselves; this might include an elderly person (KRS 209). 

Kentucky’s mandatory reporting law for victims of domestic violence has been changed to a mandatory information and referral provision. The revised law requires certain professionals to provide educational material to victims of domestic and dating violence with whom they have had a professional interaction. This law also requires these same professionals to make a report to police IF requested to by the victim and to report to police if they believe that the death of a victim may be related to domestic or dating violence.

More information about mandatory reporting can be found here.

All higher education institutions that receive federal funding, including the College, are obligated to issue publicly an Annual Security Report (“ASR”) which identifies the number of federally specified crimes on College property, in College programs, or adjacent to campus.

The ASR does not include identifying information about the persons involved in such incidents. The report provides anonymous statistical information for certain offenses that have been reported at campus locations.

A “timely warning” is a campus-wide notification to alert the campus community of a serious or continuing threat on campus. A timely warning issued in response to a report of sexual harassment does not include identifying information about the Complainant. However, it may include identifying information about a Respondent if appropriate.

Supporting Someone Who Has Experienced Sexual Violence 

It’s not always easy to know what to say when someone tells you they’ve been sexually assaulted, especially if they are a friend or family member. For a survivor, disclosing to someone they care about can be very difficult, so we encourage try to be as supportive and non-judgmental as possible.

Sometimes support means providing resources, such as where to go for help, seek medical attention, or report to the College and Police, but often, listening is the best way to support a survivor.

(adapted from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization)

How to be Supportive

Here are some specific phrases RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline staff recommend to be supportive through a survivor’s healing process.

It can be extremely difficult for survivors to come forward and share their experience. They may feel ashamed, concerned that they won’t be believed, or worried they’ll be blamed. Leave any “why” questions or investigations to the experts—your job is to support this person. Be careful not to interpret calmness as a sign that the event did not occur—everyone responds to traumatic events differently. The best thing you can do is to believe them.

Survivors may blame themselves, especially if they know the perpetrator personally. Remind the survivor, maybe even more than once, that they are not to blame.

Let the survivor know that you are there for them and willing to listen to their story if they are comfortable sharing it. Assess if there are people in their life they feel comfortable going to, and remind them that there are service providers who will be able to support them as they heal from the experience.

Acknowledge that the experience has affected their life. Phrases like “This must be really tough for you,” and, “I’m so glad you are sharing this with me,” help to communicate empathy.

Ongoing Support

Avoid sharing your own experiences with sexual violence as this can minimize a person's experience. It is important to remember that their experience is theirs and cannot be compared with other people.

Allow the survivor to decide how they will manage the next steps in their healing process. Some people want to report to College officials, but not the local law enforcement; others don't want to report to anyone. It is important to let the survivor decide how to proceed. If they ask for your advice, remind them it is their decision and try to remain neutral.

There’s no timetable when it comes to recovering from sexual violence. If someone trusted you enough to disclose the event to you, consider the following ways to show your continued support.

  • Don't share. The person that experienced harm has a right to privacy and should be able to trust that you will not share details of what happened to them with friends or peers. You should only share this person's experience if you are a mandated reporter or you are concerned for their immediate safety.
  • Avoid judgment. It can be difficult to watch a survivor struggle with the effects of sexual assault for an extended period of time. Avoid phrases that suggest they’re taking too long to recover such as, “You’ve been acting like this for a while now,” or “How much longer will you feel this way?”
  • Check in periodically. The event may have happened a long time ago, but that doesn’t mean the pain is gone. Check in with the survivor to remind them you still care about their well-being and believe their story.
  • Know your resources. You’re a strong supporter, but that doesn’t mean you’re equipped to manage someone else’s health.

Training sessions provided to employees associated with the process are currently under development. Please return here for updates.

Contact Information