This document outlines The Academy of Allied Health Career’s support for and compliance with the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The Act was originally signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994 and has been reauthorized numerous times including the most recent in 2013 under President Barack Obama. VAWA provides a number of provisions to help prevent and address such offenses as stalking and domestic violence.
The Academy of Allied Health Careers prohibits all acts of violence by students, faculty, administrators, campus visitors or anyone on The Academy’s premises, or participating in any event sponsored by The Academy. In keeping with VAWA this includes prohibition against sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.
- "Sexual Assault", known in Tennessee as Sexual Battery, occurs when someone compels a victim to engage in unlawful sexual contact against the victim’s will, and also includes circumstances when the victim is mentally incapable of giving consent to sex (such as being in a coma or having passed out from drug or alcohol use), and fraud (such as tricking a victim into believing that the defendant is the victim’s spouse)
- “Domestic Violence” includes asserted violent misdemeanor and felony offenses committed by the victim's current or former spouse, current or former cohabitant, person similarly situated under domestic or family violence law, or anyone else protected under domestic or family violence law.
- “Dating Violence” means violence by a person who has been in a romantic or intimate relationship with the victim. Whether there was such relationship will be gauged by its length, type, and frequency of interaction.
- “Stalking” means a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for her, his, or others' safety, or to suffer substantial emotional distress.
The Academy of Allied Health Careers has added the following additional information to the above listed definitions of: incidents of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. The information is shared during the orientation process. These educational prevention programs promote awareness of rape, acquaintance rape, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. The Academy does not condone any of the named crimes or any other crime for that matter; the school prohibits the crimes and incidents on or off premises.
Violent and controlling behavior, "Relationship Violence", is by a person who is currently with or was with a victim. This may include any of the following acts: perceived, threatened or actual physical injury, emotional or psychological abuse, sexual assault, control by force intimidation or economic control and or social sequestration. Some characteristics an abusive partner may exhibit are: emotional abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse or physical abuse. This may occur in traditional or same sex relationships.
A pattern of behavior that reduces or destroys a person’s self-worth and esteem is emotional abuse. Symptoms could include jealous behavior, ignoring feelings, belittling values, restricting social activities and or withholding love, approval or affection. Verbal abuse is intended to hurt or injure another person by name calling, insults, threats suicide, humiliation, intimidation and or exaggerated criticism. Sexual abuse could be forcible sexually activity without consent. This does not have to be penetration; it could be unwanted touching as an example. Physical abuse includes any behavior that causes or threatens bodily harm, such as hitting slapping, breaking things or threatening to do so.
To recognize a violent relationship, ask yourself does the person you are involved with exhibit a pattern of behavior of: jealousy, criticizing you, or your behavior, makes all the decisions, is he/she controlling, threatening, insulting, always wants to know where you are, or checks in frequently. These are all signs you are in a violent relationship which lead to trouble. Additionally, has your partner shove, pushed, slapped, kicked, bit or intimidated you? Has he/she insisted you have sex when you did not want to? Threatened you or threatened suicide? Retained you when you wanted to leave? Be aware, be smart – seek help. If you are on campus, seek the help of any Administration or Faculty member. You may also seek immediate help via the local police department. Act now, abuse of any kind cannot be tolerated as it may lead to more serious concerns.
Stalking is a course of conduct whereby a person is in reasonable fear for his/her safety. It is a pattern of threats or harassment that is directed repeatedly toward a specific individual and is unwelcomed, intrusive, or fearful. It may include physical appearances of the stalker and harassing behavior. Note that most victims know the stalker. Again, act now before stalking becomes criminal behavior. Seek help from The Academy or the local police.
Consent as it pertains to instances of sexual activity in our jurisdiction means: willing, able, and knowledgeable of an act that a partner wishes to engage and comprehends the ramifications of the act and any consequences if any.
Procedures for Victims to Report Offenses and Preserve Evidence
A victim of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence or stalking that occurs on The Academy’s premises must immediately report the incident to an Administration member. If there is an immediate threat to your safety, you should first contact the Chattanooga Police Department and then inform the appropriate Academy administrator. The victim has the right to contact law enforcement at any time. The victim must preserve any evidence related to the incident.
Explanation of Victim Rights
The Victim has the following rights:
- To report any acts of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking to law enforcement, or the appropriate school administrators;
- To have actions taken by the school that ensure protection of the victim from both immediate and future offenses from the offender while on school premises;
- To have The Academy comply with any judicial no-contact, restraining or protective orders that have been authenticated and presented to the school;
- To have the victim’s confidentiality preserved as much as is reasonably possible;
- To have a Review Board decide if the offender is prohibited from campus premises and if the offense is determined to have occurred either by a court of law;
- To have a Review Board decide if the offender is prohibited from campus premises after the offense while an investigation is being conducted.
Investigation of Offenses
Offenses will be investigated by a Review Board consisting of The Academy’s COO, Director of Accreditation and Compliance, the Director of Marketing and Business Development and other parties as warranted. Investigations will use the “preponderance of the evidence” to determine whether an offense has occurred.
The Review Board may elect to defer to investigation by law enforcement or some other governmental entity and rely on those findings in determining any sanctions against the offender.
Both the offender and the victim will be informed in writing of the investigative findings and any steps taken as a result of the investigation.
Both the victim and the offender have the right to have others present during any disciplinary proceeding or investigation, including an advisor of their choice.
Both the victim and offender will be informed of any appearance procedures.
Any student, faculty member, independent contractor, or administrator who is determined to have committed an act of sexual assault, dating violence, or domestic violence, stalking, rape, or acquaintance rape on the premises of The Academy will be dismissed from the school. This also includes acts committed while engaging in any school sponsored event whether on The Academy’s premises or not. An example could be offenses occurring in route to a field trip, or during a school sponsored social event away from campus.
Any individual who is determined to have committed such acts away from the premises of The Academy while not engaged in school activities will not be permitted onto The Academy’s premises until the Review Board made a determination that the individual may return.
Both the victim and the offender’s identities will be kept confidential as much as is reasonably possible. No personally identifiable information will be compromised. The Academy of Allied Health Careers will assume no responsibility or liability for failure to maintain confidentiality by third parties such as law enforcement, or others who conduct the investigation. All written documentation pertaining to the offense, including victim statements, witness statements, etc. will be kept confidential.
All new students, faculty and administrators will receive training on the following topics:
- The Academy’s policy prohibiting violence against women;
- Definition of rape, acquaintance rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking and dating violence;
- Safe and positive bystander intervention options;
- Recognition the signs of abusive behavior and how to avoid potential attacks.
All students, faculty and administrators will receive the training brochure on VAWA and will receive updated information as warranted on a yearly basis.
"Bystander Intervention" is the willingness to help someone who is in danger of violence. The Academy encourages individuals to take action to help prevent violence against others. Bystander intervention can be as simple as offering to walk to the parking lot as a group at night, helping someone recognize the signs that they are in a relationship that could lead to violence, or encouraging someone to take a walk before engaging in a confrontation that could lead to violence.