It is important to have Victim’s Bill of Rights in your policy so students who become victims of dating abuse know what to expect and what rights are entitled to during a dating violence investigation. The following is an example of a Victim’s Bill of Rights from our Model Protocol:
Students who become victims of teen dating and/or sexual violence are entitled to certain rights that shall be respected by all school administrators and employees. These rights include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. Right to be treated with respect and dignity
This includes not being blamed by staff and/or students (referred to as victim blaming), and not spreading rumors or retaliating against the victim.
2. Right to be informed of his/her options with regard to notifying law enforcement authorities, and to be assisted in notifying such authorities
To the extent state and federal law allow, victims must make a voluntary and informed decision to notify authorities.
3. Right to not have parents/guardians notified, if such notification would endanger the survivor/victim
In some cases, parental notification will endanger the victim and prevent the victim from obtaining important services. In these cases, guardians/parents should not be notified unless the victim voluntarily consents in writing.
4. Right to be free from pressure not to report crimes to civil or criminal authorities
This includes the right to be free from pressure to report a crime as a lesser offense than the victim perceives, and the right to be free from any suggestion that a victim somehow contributed to his or her own victimization by contributory negligence, or by assuming the risk of being assaulted, or by otherwise sharing the responsibility for what is alleged to have occurred.
5. Right to have any violence committed against him/her investigated by the proper civil and criminal authorities
This right is in addition to, and independent of, school disciplinary proceedings.
6. Right to full and prompt cooperation from school personnel in obtaining and securing evidence necessary for any potential criminal/civil proceedings
Failure to fully and promptly cooperate to the extent possible may be considered a form of retaliation against the victim.
7. Right to be informed of any disciplinary actions taken against the offender
Knowing about subsequent disciplinary actions, such as suspension or expulsion, helps victims with safety planning.
8. Right to attend classes and to work in an environment free from unwanted contact or proximity with alleged assailants insofar as the school is able to provide
To the extent possible, victims and alleged perpetrators should be separated on campus. This might involve changing class schedules or having the parties agree to stay a certain number of feet away from each other in a Stay Away Contract.
9. Right to be free from violence at school
All students in California have the inalienable right to an education in a safe school environment. The District will take affirmative steps to prevent and respond to dating and sexual violence that occurs both on and off campus.
10. Right to be free from sex discrimination and sexual harassment
Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and California Education Code §§ 230 et seq., all students have the right to be free from sex discrimination and sexual harassment at school. Sexual harassment includes teen dating and sexual violence perpetrated against students.
11. Right to transfer from school
Victims of teen dating and sexual violence have a right to transfer to another school. A victim’s decision to transfer to another school must be informed and voluntary. The offender will generally be required to transfer whenever there is a choice between transferring the victim or the offender.
12. Right to referrals for services
Victims of teen dating and sexual violence have the right to have access to counseling, medical services, and victim support services both on and off-campus. The District shall refer the victim of teen dating or sexual violence to a community-based advocate. The District will maintain a list of domestic violence/dating violence/sexual assault agencies and services in the community and make this list available to victims. Participation in any referral program is voluntary for victims.
13. Right to have a support person present
All parties in a teen dating or sexual violence case have the right to have a support person present during all stages of the investigation. A support person includes domestic violence victim advocates, parents/guardians, or other advisors.
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