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Supportive Measures and Filing a Formal Complaint

If you are an employee who has experienced an incidents of sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, or retaliation the university strongly encourages you to report to the Office of Title IX and/or law enforcement.

If you are a complainant, you are not required to file a formal complaint with the university; however, the Office of Title IX wants to ensure you have access to resources and knowledge about the available options for filing a formal complaint. You can access supportive measures even if you choose not to file a formal complaint with the Office of Title IX.

Complainant Guide

Reporting to the Office of Title IX

If you report prohibited conduct to the Office of Title IX, you are considered a complainant.

When you speak with a staff member at the Office of Title IX, we will:

  • keep your information as private as possible, within policy and process,
  • work with you to evaluate your care and support needs,
  • discuss your options under university policy, and
  • empower you to obtain the care and support you need.

At the time you report to the Office of Title IX you do not have to decide to file a formal complaint or choose any particular course of action. Coming to the Office of Title IX does not obligate you to initiate a university investigation by filing a formal university complaint or report the incident to law enforcement unless you choose to do so.

The decision to file a formal complaint or report to law enforcement is yours to make.

Supportive measures

When you report prohibited conduct to the Office of Title IX, we can support you in a variety of ways including access to medical care, counseling, and other support from the university. These support services are available to you even if you do not report the incident to law enforcement or choose to initiate a university investigation by making a formal complaint. 

  • Informing you of your rights under the university’s Title IX grievance procedures
  • Issuing a no-contact directive to the respondent, which prohibits the respondent from having verbal, physical, or written contact with you for a definite or indefinite period of time
  • Providing referrals for medical and counseling services
  • Exploring changes in living and working arrangements
  • Arranging appointments with follow-up support resources and services on or off campus (for example, an appointment with the Knoxville Family Justice Center to discuss options for pursuing an order of protection in Knox County Fourth Circuit Court)
  • Support in reporting to law enforcement (criminal process)

We recognize that your decision on how to proceed after speaking with the Office of Title IX about an incident is a process that may unfold over time; thus, at the time you report to the Office of Title IX you do not have to decide whether to request or choose any particular course of action. Regardless of which course of action you choose, the university will provide you with supportive measures even if the university’s ability to investigate the incident and pursue disciplinary or other remedial action is limited.

Filing a Formal Complaint with the University

If you choose to file a formal complaint to initiate a university investigation, this enables the university to respond appropriately by conducting a prompt, thorough, and equitable investigation and, if warranted, taking disciplinary action against a respondent.

A formal complaint is required to begin an investigation under the Policy on Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Dating and Domestic Violence, and Stalking (“Policy”).

Prior to completing this form, a representative with the Office of Title IX will review the following with the complainant:

  • The availability of supportive measures (whether or not a formal complaint is filed);
  • The process for filing a formal complaint; and
  • The investigation, hearings, and appeals process.

To initiate a formal complaint you must provide the following information to the Office of Title IX:

  • Your name
  • Name of the respondent
  • Date of the incident (if known)
  • Location of the incident (if known)
  • A description of the prohibited conduct

The Office of Title IX will assist you to complete the appropriate formal complaint procedure and submit your formal complaint.

Reporting to Law Enforcement

You can report an incident to law enforcement before, during, or after a report to the Office of Title IX or filing a formal complaint to initiate an investigation or a resolution of the incident by the university. Reporting to law enforcement initiates criminal proceedings.

Reports to law enforcement are not confidential and privacy levels are compliant with state law within the state in which the incident took place.

UT Police Department

If you report the incident to the UT Police Department (UTPD), they will contact the Title IX coordinator, and an appropriate university official will get in touch with you.

UTPD will also offer to call an on-call victim advocate to be present during your interview and will provide you with a list of available resources.

The interview may take several hours, depending on the circumstances of your case. Some questions will probably feel intrusive, and the officer will probably go over the details several times. The extensive questioning is not because the police do not believe you; it is the officer’s job to get every detail down precisely.

In cases of sexual assault, multiple interviews may be required to get all of the pertinent details of the assault. This is not unusual, and investigators are trained to expect gaps in memory due to trauma immediately after the assault. Investigators understand that as time passes, additional memories may become clearer. Throughout the process, law enforcement officials will keep you aware of the progress of your case.

Criminal Prosecution

The district attorney will decide whether to pursue prosecution; however, it is unusual for cases to proceed without the cooperation of the victim.

Reporting the incident to law enforcement does not obligate you to cooperate with the district attorney’s criminal prosecution. If prosecution is pursued, the chance of success will be much higher if you reported and allowed evidence to be collected.