Sexual Assault

Definition of Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact that occurs without the explicit consent of the victim. Consent must be enthusiastic and ongoing. It cannot be given when someone is intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.  Sexual assault includes unwanted touching, rape, attempted rape, incest, child molestation, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, and other forms of sexual violence.

What You Can Do If You Are Sexually Assaulted...

Activate DASACC's Sexual Assault Response Team (SART)

  • What is the Sexual Assault Response Team?

    • The SART response to both hospitals, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can choose to talk to all members of the team, some of them, or none of them.​

  • What else is part of the Sexual Assault Response Team?

    • A detective from the Prosecutor's Office, can be present if you want to know about legal options.

    • A confidential advocate from DASACC, is offered to provide resources, information, safety plan, and support.

  • How do I activate the SART?

    •  You can activate the team by calling 911, calling our hotline (908-453-4181), or showing up Hackettstown Regional Medical Center or St. Luke's Warren Hospital.

Get a Forensic Exam Done

  • What is a forensic exam?

    • A forensic exam can be done at either Hackettstown Regional Medical Center or St. Luke's Warren Hospital, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  The exam can be done up to five days after an assault, even if you have showered, eaten, or changed clothing. The exam is a head to toe examination, which is aimed to gather as much evidence as possible. The exam does NOT mean you have to press charges.  After the exam is completed, you have five years from your18th birthday to decide if you would like to press charges. The exam also includes emergency contraception and sexually transmitted infection prevention. The exam is free. 

How to File for a Temporary Protection Order

The Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act of 2015 (SASPA) passed a law in November of 2015, allowing anyone who has experienced a sexual assault to be able to file for a protective order, regardless of their relationship (or lack thereof) to the perpetrator. A protective order can be filed at your country court house.

  • A Temporary Protective Order (TPO), similarity to a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO); can stop any further acts of violence or harmful behaviors, as well as:

  • Seeing a perpetrator, the person can be prevented from entering specific places that the survivor or their household members regularly attend, such as work and school.

  •  Future contact with their perpetrator including, in-person, over the phone and through a third party person. 

  • Stalking and harassing behaviors, including online. 

  • The court can also provide relief if deemed necessary.

Who can Apply for a Protective Order Under SASPA?

  • Generally, survivors of sexual violence who are subjected to continued harassing behaviors from their abuser who do not qualify for a domestic violence restraining order can apply for a protective order under SASPA.

  • Survivors can apply for a restraining order regardless of if the assault was reported to law enforcement.

  • If you feel you are in immediate danger, contact local law enforcement.

Why a Survivor May Choose to Obtain A Protective Order

Everyone’s situation is unique, and requesting a protective order is a decision only the survivor can make. For some, a protective order will end harmful behaviors from an abuser. Others may feel a protective order could cause a perpetrator to escalate.

Title IX Resources

Under Title I of the Education Amendments of 1972, individuals are prohibited from discriminating against sex, gender identification, or deviation from norms of masculinity or femininity. It also prohibits sex-based harassment, defined as “unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, such as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.”

And with this this amendment, each institution that is granted financial assistance under Title IX must designate a Title IX coordinator. 

  • The coordinator’s job is to:

    • Ensure the affected party has access to all of Title IX’s resources.

    • Monitor the recipient institution’s policies on sex discrimination and how they align with Title IX requirements/the victims’ experiences.

  • Procedure and Resources:

    • Schools have to investigate reports of sexual harassment and assault under Title IX.

    • Title IX coordinator oversees grievance process to make sure complaints by staff and students are handled properly. 

    • Schools have to accommodate a survivor in their efforts to feel safer after an act of sexual violence. 

    • Specialized procedure is created for students and faculty with disabilities/ special needs or who are English language learners.

Sexual harassment, including (but not limited to) rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse, and sexual coercion are all prohibited under Title IX. A complaint can be filed with the academic institution, after which the Title IX coordinator will have to become involved. A student or employed of a Title IX institution is entitled to protections by the institution and the coordinator must see to it that the student is given these protections.