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Survivor Confidentiality

Austin Peay State University recognizes the sensitive nature of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking incidents. We are committed to protecting the privacy of individuals who report incidents of abuse, to the extent that doing so is permitted by law and consistent with the University’s need to protect the safety of the community. Different APSU officials and personnel are able to offer varying levels of privacy protections to survivors.

APSU requires all University employees, with the exception of licensed mental health counselors who work at Student Counseling Services, licensed medical professionals who work at the Health Center, to share with the University’s Title IX Coordinator and/or the Dean of Students information they learn concerning a report of sexual assault, or an incident of domestic or dating violence, or stalking, so that the Title IX Coordinator or Dean of Students can investigate the incidents, track trends (including possible multiple reports involving the same assailant) and determine whether steps are needed to ensure the safety of the community. It is the survivor’s choice whether he or she wishes to participate in the investigation; however the University may proceed with an investigation without the survivor’s participation if there is a concern for the safety of other members of the community.

Reports made to the APSU Public Safety will be shared with the Title IX Coordinator in all cases, and may also be made public (maintaining the survivor’s anonymity) and shared with the accused in cases where criminal prosecution is pursued. Reports received by the University concerning the abuse of a minor or juvenile must be reported to state officials in compliance with state law requiring mandatory reporting of child abuse. All members of the APSU community are required by University policy to report any instances of known child abuse or neglect to APSU Public Safety, and APSU Public Safety will in turn report such information to the appropriate state authorities.

Reports and information received by APSU’s medical professionals and licensed mental health counselors are considered legally protected or ‘privileged’ under Tennessee law. Thus, those individuals will not share information they learn from survivors with others within the institution (including the University’s Title IX Coordinator) or with any third party except in cases of imminent danger to the victim or third party. Absent such circumstances of imminent danger, the only information that these employees will report to the University concerning incidents is statistical information, which does not identify the survivor, so that the incident can be included in the University’s crime reporting statistics that are reported in APSU’s annual Clery Reports. Such crime reporting statistics are also included in a Title IX trend report maintained by the University.

Reports of sexual assault, domestic or dating violence, or stalking, which are shared with APSU’s Title IX Coordinator or Dean of Students, will be treated with the greatest degree of respect and privacy possible while still fulfilling APSU’s obligation to investigate and effectively respond to the report. Every effort will be made to limit the scope of information shared to keep it to a minimum of detail, and only when absolutely necessary. It is the survivor’s choice whether to participate in the investigation; however the University may proceed with the investigation without the survivor’s participation if there is a potential threat to other members of the community.

A survivor’s ability to speak in confidence and with confidentiality may be essential to his or her recovery. Austin Peay State University thus expects employees to treat information they learn concerning incidents of reported sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking with as much respect and as much privacy as possible. University employees must share such information only with those University officials who must be informed of the information pursuant to University policy. Failure by an Austin Peay State University employee to maintain privacy in accordance with Austin Peay State University policy will be grounds for discipline.

While federal law requires Austin Peay State University to include certain reported incidents of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking among its annual campus crime statistics, such information will be reported in a manner that does not permit identification of survivors.