Local resource supports sexual assault victims

What can a sexual assault victim do if he or she is unable to report a sexual violation to the local authorities? What if the predator works for one of the local government authorities?

Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industry provides a complaint process for sexual assault victims that is separate from local government authorities. The first step in the process is filling out a complaint questionnaire available online at www.Oregon.gov –- look for the BOLI Civil Rights Complaint Process heading under the Civil Rights Division section of the website. If internet is not a option victims can call 971-673-0764.

They will ask you if you were retaliated against in employment, housing, public accommodation or school. The web site says, “The entire process generally takes seven months, but may take up to one year.” An officer may contact the victim in writing or by phone.

If the complaint has enough information to prosecute, BOLI will proceed with a investigation. If not the case is dismissed the victim will be notified of the right to file a civil action in court.

After filing a complaint, it will become public record.

In Douglas County, Veronica Joyce, a peer counselor from Battered Person’s Advocacy, advises her community about reporting assaults when there are complicated factors. “If the victim of the incident chooses whether to report or not, we offer counseling, food, clothing, shelter, transportation, help with restraining orders, support groups and other sexual assault/rape services,” Joyce said.

BPA works as an advocate to support the abused. Safety is always their first concern. “However, if the victim chooses to go to the hospital, we go and be their support and explain the processes, giving the victim their options. If needed, BPA will continue to advocate through the court proceeding,” Joyce said.

BPA has a 24 hour hotline toll free at 1-800-464-6543, 541-673-7876.

Any UCC student who would like to contact Joyce can drop by her office on campus located in the Education Skills Building Room 13.

“A lot of victims in our community are unable to support their children, so they stay in a bad situation hoping it will get better but it rarely does. Some wait until they are in the hospital broken or bloody before coming to us for support,” Joyce said.

A former UCC student who didn’t want her name used said, “Assault, rape, and harassment is a crime, and the sooner we stop being the victim maybe we can start to change this way of history. But until we do, the perpetrator will continue to harm you or someone else.”

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