Carlow University Title IX Information and Resources

Carlow University is committed to providing a workplace and educational environment, that are free from discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, and retaliation. To support Carlow’s core values, to ensure compliance with federal and state civil rights laws and regulations, and to affirm its commitment to promoting fairness and equity in all aspects of the institution, Carlow University has developed internal policies and procedures that provide a prompt, fair and impartial process for those involved in an allegation of discrimination, harassment on the basis of protected class status, sexual misconduct, and allegations of retaliation. Carlow University honors the dignity of all members of its community and strives to balance the rights of the parties in the grievance process during what is often a difficult time for all those involved.

Under these internal policies and commensurate with the law and regulations, members of the university community, guests and visitors have the right to be free from all forms of discrimination and sex/gender harassment, sexual misconduct. The purpose of this policy is to clarify that the University prohibits all forms of discrimination. Sometimes, discrimination involves exclusion from activities, such as admission, athletics, or employment. Other times, discrimination takes the form of harassment, or in the case of sex-based discrimination can encompass sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, , dating violence, domestic violence, or sexual exploitation. Sexual harassment in any form undermines Carlow's core values and expectations of our campus community. All members of the campus community are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that does not infringe upon the rights of others.

All Carlow University students, faculty and staff are covered under this policy, as are third parties on Carlow property or participating in Carlow-sponsored or related activities. This policy applies to all members of the Carlow community who experience sexual harassment or misconduct on campus owned or operated by the University, as well as properties in which the University exercises significant control, and at Carlow-sponsored functions held off-campus by another student or Carlow representative. The University may choose, at its discretion, to extent this policy to incidents occurring off campus that involve students and allegations of violation of University policy. 

Title IX Coordinator Contact information

Title IX Coordinator
The university’s Title IX Coordinator oversees compliance with all aspects of the sex/gender harassment, discrimination, and misconduct policy. The Coordinator is housed in the office of Student Disabilities Services, University Commons 411E. Questions about this policy should be directed to the Title IX Coordinator. Anyone wishing to make a report relating to discrimination or harassment may do so by reporting the concern to the university Title IX Coordinator:

Jacqueline Smith
Director of Disabilities Services
Title IX Coordinator
Office of Student Affairs, University Commons 411E
3333 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
412.578.6050 or by email


Officially Report Sexual Misconduct

The Jeanne Clery Campus Security Policy & Crime Statistics Disclosure Act requires Carlow University to specify those individuals on campus to whom crimes should be reported. Those designated as Campus Security Authorities (CSAs) are legally responsible to report all crimes reported to them to University Police. Carlow University policy and expectation is that all faculty and staff will report any crimes of which they become aware so as to safeguard the welfare of the community. Additionally, any community member is encouraged to report crimes through one of the individuals or mechanisms outlined below.

The law recognizes four categories of CSAs:

  • University police;
  • Non-police security (normally not used at Carlow);
  • Individuals with significant responsibility for student and campus activities;
  • Others designated by the institution as people to whom crimes should be reported.

Title IX Responsible Employees

Title IX requires the University to specify those individuals to whom it is appropriate to report incidents of Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct. Responsible Employees under Title IX are defined as any employee:

  • Who has the authority to take action to redress sexual misconduct;
  • Who has been given the duty of reporting incidents of sexual misconduct or any other misconduct by students to the Title IX Coordinator or other appropriate designee;
  • Who a student reasonably believes has this authority or duty.

Carlow University has designated the following individuals as Campus Security Authorities under the Clery Act and Responsible Employees under Title IX. The list is the same. Anyone who witnesses, experiences, or learns of a crime, or any form of sexual misconduct, on our campus should immediately report it to one of these individuals.

PositionPersonnelContact Number
Title IX Coordinator/Director of Disabilities ServicesJackie Smith+1 (412) 578-6050
Vice President of Student AffairsTim Phillips+1 (412) 578-6087
Provost/Vice President for Academic AffairsSibdas Ghosh+1 (412) 578-6543
Carlow Administrator- CranberryShannon Agredo +1 (412) 578-6383
Carlow Administrator- GreensburgKate Throckmorton +1 (724) 838-7399
Assistant Dean of Student AffairsErin Boyles+1 (412) 578-8774
Director of Residence LifeKeith Cerroni+1 (412) 578-8776
Graduate Resident DirectorsCatherine Callan
Jessica Stormoen
Resident Assistant Staff (all individuals)All students 
Chief of Police     Corrin Culhane +1 (412) 578-8898
University Police (all personnel)9 officers
4 communications officers
Director of AthleticsGeorge Sliman+1 (412) 578-8826
Assistant Vice President - Human Resources, Diversity & InclusionBridgette Cofield +1 (412) 578-8897
Dean of the College of Health and WellnessLynn George+1 (412) 578-6115
Dean of the College of Arts and SciencesMatthew Gordley+1 (412) 578-6262

The following individuals are specifically not designated as CSAs because they fall within the exemption for pastoral and professional counselors when acting in the scope of that role. However, these individuals are also trained in the responsibilities of a CSA and are strongly encouraged to report any crimes of which they become aware:

PositionPersonnelContact Number
Special Assistant to the President for Mercy HeritageSister Sheila Carney +1 (412) 578-6424
Campus MinisterSiobhan DeWitt +1 (412) 578-6651
ChaplainFr. Paul Merkovsky+1 (412) 578-6651
Executive Director of Health and Counseling ServicesDr. Angela Harrington +1 (412) 578-6474
University Mental Health Counselors Heidi Leibovich
Nicole Lacy
+1 (412) 578-6474
Director of Health ServicesCarla Bergamasco +1 (412) 578-6174

Campus Security Authorities are given annual training in their responsibilities, as are those designated under the pastoral and professional counselor exception. If you have any questions about Campus Security Authorities or Title IX Responsible Employees, please contact Jacqueline M. Smith, Title IX Coordinator, at 412-578-6050 or by email.

Additional Off-Campus Resources

  • Magee Women’s Hospital (300 Halket Street, Pittsburgh 1.866.MyMagee)
  • UPMC Mercy (1400 Locus Street, Pittsburgh 412.232.8111)
  • Pittsburgh Action Against Rape (PAAR) 24-hour confidential hotline (1.866.END.RAPE), 412.431.5665
  • Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) 1.800.656.HOPE (4673)
  • The Investigations Bureau of the Pittsburgh City 911 or 412.323.7141
  • Women’s Center and Shelter, 24-hour hotline 412-687-8005 (phone) or 24-hour 412-744-8445 (text)

Individuals experiencing harassment or discrimination also always have the right to file a formal grievance with government authorities:

Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Western Region

Dr. Teresa R. Randleman, Regional Manager
301 Fifth Avenue
Suite 410, Platt Place Pittsburgh, PA 15222-1210
412.565.7607  |  Email
U.S. Department of Justice
Email U.S. DOJ  
Call: 202.514.4092 or 1.877.292.3804 (toll-free)
Facsimile: 202.514.8337

If an incident involves alleged misconduct by the Title IX Coordinator, reports should be made directly to Bridgette Cofield, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources, Diversity, & Inclusion, 412.578.8897.

Report an Incident

Report an incident to Carlow University Title IX Coordinator

This report can be submitted anonymously or by providing contact information for the Title IX Coordinator or Investigator to reach out to you. It will not be distributed to the police.

Reporting Incidents to Police

Contact information for Carlow Police
On-campus Emergencies: 412.578.6007
Email or 412.578.6005

Question: Can I report the assault to the police without prosecution?

Answer: Yes. Most local law enforcement will take information without requiring the victim to press charges.

Question: What happens if I want to report an assault?


  • Go to the police in the area where the assault took place or call 911. The police will take a report and you have the option to pursue charges/prosecute. You will probably have a follow-up interview with a detective in a few days.
  • Police conduct the investigation. The alleged perpetrator will be arrested if probable cause can be determined.

Question: Will I be identified in the news on TV or in the newspaper?

Answer: In Allegheny County, television and print media have agreed not to identify the victim of a sexual assault. Children, or people who experienced sexual abuse as a child, are identified as Jane/John Doe in all official court proceedings.

Question: What is the process once a report is made?

  1. Police conduct an investigation. The alleged perpetrator will be arrested if probable cause can be determined.
  2. A Preliminary Hearing is held if charges are filed: You will be asked to testify in front of a local magistrate. You become a witness for the commonwealth and an Assistant District Attorney (ADA) is assigned to the case.
  3. Cases approved at the preliminary level are sent to the Allegheny County Court and have a trial date set. About one month before the trial date, you will meet the ADA at a Pre-Trial Interview.
  4. The case could have continuances and postponements, which lengthen the court process. The defendant has the option to choose a plea bargain or request a trial, which could be held with a jury or just the judge. You will testify in the case along with witnesses as needed. The defendant is found guilty or not guilty of all or some of the charges.
  5. Sentencing: You have the option to read a Victim Impact Statement and to tell the judge how the crime has impacted your life.

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Get Help and Support

If you have experienced sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking, you are not alone.

On Campus

Health and Counseling Services: To request a routine appointment, please call 412.578.6474 or by email with your information for a return call. If you are in crisis and need urgent attention, please call 412.578.6007 for Campus Police or 1.888.7.YOU.CAN (1.888.796.8226) for Resolve Crisis Services.

Telehealth services are available through several sources, including Health and Counseling Services and possibly your health insurance plan. If you would like assistance getting connected to telehealth services, you may contact Health and Counseling Services or your insurance plan.

Pittsburgh Area Services

Pittsburgh Action Against Rape (PAAR) is the only organization in Allegheny County devoted solely to the issue of sexual violence. PAAR provides comprehensives services for victims and offers prevention programs to end sexual violence in our community. They are located in the Southside neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

Services for survivors

  • Free, confidential helpline available 24/7 to help those in crisis, or those requesting information
  • Live chat with a helpline worker using PAAR's Chat Portal
  • Get information and support by sending a text message to the helpline at 1.866.363.7273
  • Emergency room support: An in-person advocate will accompany victims and their families in area emergency rooms to provide support and information through the medical exam.
  • Legal advocacy and support through the legal process: An in-person advocate will accompany victims and their families to police
  • and court proceedings.
  • Adult Counseling: Individual and group counseling is provided to adult male and female victims of sexual violence.
  • Child & Family Counseling: Individual trauma-focused counseling is provided to children who have been sexually abused. PAAR also offers supportive counseling to family members.

Visit PAAR's website to learn more about PAAR, the services they provide, and upcoming events. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram @paarnews for updates as they happen and to interact with them and their community of supporters.

Women and Children’s Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh (WC&S)

24-Hour Hotline: 412.867.8005; 24-Hour Text Support: 412.744.8445

Women’s Center & Shelter has been a trusted and respected resource in the Pittsburgh Community for more than 45 years, offering hope and healing to survivors and children who have suffered from the devastating effects of domestic abuse. WC&S supports survivors who have experienced all types of abuse. It provides a 24-hour hotline and specialized care and support for survivors who have experienced all types of intimate partner violence. They have an emergency shelter, legal advocacy services, support groups, outreach programs for LGBTQ+ individuals, support services for immigrants and refugees, educational programs, and men’s groups.

Center for Victims

24-Hour Hotline: 1.866.644.2882

Center for Victims offers services for individuals who experience sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking and other crimes. Services include counseling, legal support, medical advocacy, emergency shelter, assistance obtaining protection orders and safety planning.

Victim Outreach Intervention Center (VOICe) – Butler County 

Hotline: 1.800.400.8551; TTY Access: 724.776.6739; Phone: 724.283.8700; Email:

Voice provides confidential services at no cost to individuals and families who are survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and other crimes. VOICe works within Butler County, PA to bring about social change and provide survivors with the ability to take control of their lives.

Blackburn Center (Westmoreland County) 

Phone: 1.888.832.2272

Blackburn Center provides services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and sexual harassment, and hate crimes in Westmoreland County. Services include a hotline, emergency shelter, counseling, support groups, medical advocacy, and legal system support. 1976, Blackburn Center has been providing services to victims of domestic and sexual violence


Phone: 412.441.9786; Email:

Persad Center is dedicated to improving the well-being of the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning) communities and the HIV/AIDS communities in Western Pennsylvania. Through a variety of outreach, prevention, counseling, advocacy, and training services, we work to resolve problems faced by the LGBTQ+ and HIV/AIDS communities. We are here for you, no matter what you’re going through. Please call us to learn more about counseling and support.

Garden of Peace

Phone: 412.879.0477;

Garden of Peace Project is based in Pittsburgh, PA and was founded in 2012 by Rev. Michael David Battle to center black queer and trans youth, elevate and empower the narratives and lived experiences of black youth and their caretakers, and guide revolutionary spaces of healing and truth through art, education, and mentorship. The Healing Justice Advocacy Project centers healing, justice, and advocacy. We are led by individuals who sit at the intersections of identities, experiences, and beliefs. We are a community of black and native parents, women, queer and trans healers, artists, and young people committed to revolutionary changes for our Selves and each other.

Obtaining Protection from Abuse Orders

Filing a Protection from Abuse Order
You may be able to obtain immediate, court-mandated protection through a civil Protection from Abuse (PFA) Order, regardless of whether criminal charges are filed against your abuser. The PFA order can do any or all of the following:

  • Order the abuser to stop the violent or abusive behavior and refrain from harassing, contacting, or stalking you
  • Exclude the abuser from your residence
  • Grant temporary custody of your minor children to you
  • Order the abuser to turn over weapons to the police

You can obtain a PFA Order at 440 Ross Street, Room 3030, Monday through Friday – between 8:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. The process may take several hours, so we recommend showing up as early as possible.

When you are ready to file a PFA, make sure you have the following documents with you:
  • Driver’s license or passport
Once you complete a PFA petition, you will need to appear at a court hearing before the judge. The abuser and subject of the PFA may or may not be present at this hearing. If you have young children that need supervision, the Family Court will provide a free and secure children’s playroom on site.
If you are facing financial or other limitations, you can also file for a Temporary PFA without the payment of any fees. Our Legal Advocates can provide you with information regarding the availability of free legal representation, if necessary.

All Family Court proceedings take place at the Allegheny County Family & Juvenile Court, located at 440 Ross Street, Room 3030 in Downtown Pittsburgh.

The Court’s PFA Unit staff and domestic violence program advocates will also be available to assist and support you in filing a PFA petition. If you are unable to safely wait for a hearing in Family Court on a weekday between 8:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., Emergency PFA Orders are available. You can obtain one at either:
  • Magisterial District Judge’s Office in your community on any afternoon that the office is open
  • Allegheny County Night Court (412.350.3240), 660 First Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 on weekdays after 3:00 p.m., and 24 hours a day on weekends and holidays.
If the PFA is violated:
  • Immediately call 911 and request police support. Local law enforcement may be able to arrest the defendant for violating the PFA Order.
  • If the police do not arrest the defendant immediately, you can take a copy of your PFA Order to either your local District Judge’s office or to Night Court and file a Complaint for Indirect Criminal Contempt for Violation of a PFA Order. An arrest warrant may then be issued so that the defendant may be arrested. (Courtesy of Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh)

National Hotlines and Resources

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1.800.799.7233 (SAFE) or 1.800.787.3224 (TTY)
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1.800.656.HOPE (1.800.656.4673)
  • RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), Support for those who experience sexual assault: 1.800.656.4673; Chat online
  • The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender National Hotline: 888.843.4564
  • National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 1.866.331.9474; 1.866.331.8456 (TTY)
  • National Deaf Domestic Violence Hotline: 1.855.812.1001 (Video Phone)
  • National Stalking Resource Center
  • Women of Color Resources
  • For Non-US Citizens

Medical Services

  • Magee Women's Hospital (300 Halket Street, Pittsburgh): 1.866.MyMagee
  • UPMC Mercy (1400 Locus Street, Pittsburgh): 412.232.8111
  • PAAR is available 24/7 to respond to any emergency room in Allegheny County. Medical advocates provide in-person support and information to victims during the medical exam and initial police interview. To request medical advocacy services, contact PAAR’s Helpline.


Question: What options do I have if I choose to go to the hospital?

Answer: You have the option to receive immediate attention and care including checking for injuries. You could also choose to complete a sexual assault exam for the collection of evidence. You have the option to report to the police – You can receive care and complete the evidence collection whether you report to police or not.
Medical personnel might ask a few questions in order to provide the best possible care. It is important to mention any pain, injuries, or other concerns you might have. You have the right to choose what care you receive and the right to refuse care, including the sexual assault exam, when you go to the hospital.

Question: What is a ‘rape kit’?

Answer: A sexual assault exam (sometimes called the “kit”) is a medical exam and collection of forensic evidence. It attempts to collect evidence to use in the prosecution of a sexual assault. You can complete the exam/have evidence collected without reporting the incident to police.

The sooner you get to the hospital after an assault, the more options are available to you. It is recommended that you go to the hospital within 7 days of the incident. Try not to bathe, shower, brush your teeth, or go to the bathroom. This is important for preserving evidence. If you already have, it is still possible to collect evidence.
If possible, do not change your clothes. If you already have, put your clothes in a clean paper bag and bring them with you to the hospital.


Sexual Assault Testing and Evidence Collection Act 

PA ACT 27 was enacted in 2015 and requires a comprehensive and precise process for the testing of evidence and notification of victims and qualifies PA for federal funding to test backlogged or untested forensic exam kits. Includes:

  • Requires the Department of Health to designate laboratories approved to receive and test sexual assault evidence.
  • Directs law enforcement to take possession of evidence within 72 hours of receiving notice from health care facilities.
  • Directs local authorities to submit evidence within 15 days to an approved laboratory, which would have to complete testing within six months.
  • Mandates annual reports on testing backlogs and permits authorities to upload testing results into databases to help solve related sexual assault cases.
  • Requires notification to victims or surviving family when DNA testing has been completed.
  • Allows for kits and evidence to be held for no less than two years if the victim is not ready to move forward with prosecution or has given the evidence anonymously.
  • Requires that victims are informed of timelines and testing results. 
  • Allows victims time to decide about their options in pursuing evidence testing and investigation. 

For more information: Visit Pennsylvania General Assembly's website and type “2015HB272” in the search box.
For more information about crime victims rights in PA: Office of Victim Advocate

Warning Signs that someone you know may have experienced sexual assault: Read Rainn's article. 

Additional information from Rainn

Self-Care (Adapted from: Love is Respect) 


  • Seek Out Supportive People: A caring presence such as a trusted friend or family member can help create a calm atmosphere to think through difficult situations. A supportive person listens with empathy. They also can help you discuss potential options. A supportive person does not tell you what to do or blame you for the problem.
  • Identify and Work Towards Achievable Goals: An achievable goal might be calling a local resource and seeing what services are available in your area or talking to an advocate. Remember that you don’t have to do anything you aren’t comfortable with right now but taking small steps can help maximize your options in the future.
  • Create a Peaceful Space for Yourself: Designating a physical place where your mind can relax and feel safe can be good option when working through difficult emotions that can arise when dealing with abuse. This can be a room in your house, a spot under your favorite tree, a comfy chair by a window or in a room with low lights.
  • Remind Yourself of Your Great Value: You are important and special, and recognizing and reminding yourself of this reality is so beneficial for your emotional health. It is never your fault when someone chooses to be abusive to you, and it has no reflection on the great value you have as person.
  • Remember That You Deserve to Be Kind to Yourself: Taking time to practice self-care every day, even if it is only for a few minutes, really creates space for peace and emotional safety. It’s healthy to give yourself emotional breaks and step back from your situation sometimes. Mindfulness or breathing exercises can help keep you centered. In the end, this can help you make the decisions that are best for you.


Helping a Loved One (Adapted from: PAAR Healing Manual)

As friends and family members, you can help someone who has experienced harm. Try to remember:
Listen and be supportive. Provide comfort and support through listening without judgment and without asking ‘why’ questions. Even when you don’t understand or agree with how they are handling the situation, don’t judge. Your support can help reassure them and validate their feelings and reactions. You can do this by:
  • Using supportive language:
    • “I am so sorry to hear that happened to you.”
    • “I am glad you felt you could share this with me.”
    • “Please know I am here.”
    • “I believe you and I want to help.”
    • “Do you know what might feel helpful?”
    •  “Wow, that sounds really hard.”
    • “It took a lot of courage and strength for you to share that with me.”
    • “I know other people who have experienced sexual violence and abuse, and what you are sharing with me is not at all uncommon.”
    • “Your feelings are normal.”
  • Help build up their self-esteem. Avoid blaming or belittling comments.
  • Listen, Don’t Push
    • Let them talk. Allow them to express feelings in their own time. Do not push the victim to talk or share. Let them know you are there to listen when they are ready.
  • Believe them – If they tell you about a situation that caused them harm, this means they trust you. Validating their experience can be an important step in keeping the lines of communication open and in helping them to recover from harm.
    • “I believe you and I am sorry that happened to you.”
    • “It took a lot of courage for you to share that with me."
  • Empower through helping them to think through their options. Allow the victim to make choices and resist telling them what to do. All power and control were taken from the victim during the assault and making decisions can give back a feeling of control.
    • “Do you know what might feel helpful?”
    • “You get to decide with whom to share this.”
  • Educate yourself and share information and resources with them. Learn more about common reactions to sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking so you can better understand your loved one. Start with the resources on this website. PAAR, Women’s Center and Shelter, and Center for Victims are a good start.
  • Connect them to resources and information in their area. Chat with a peer advocate to find information to share.
  • Don’t post information about your loved one on social media. Never reveal their current location, where they have been, or where they will plan to hang out. It’s possible that someone will use your post to find them. Learn more about digital safety in the safety planning section.
  • Help them implement their safety plan – offer to walk them to their car, check in on them, make sure they get home safely.
  • Sometimes they will not want to talk or may not feel anything is wrong. In these cases, let them know you are there for them when they need you.

If You Harmed Someone

If you are concerned you may have harmed someone, support is available.

Health and Counseling Services

To request a routine appointment, please call 412.578.6474 or by email with your information for a return call. If you are in crisis and need urgent attention, please call 412.578.6007 for Campus Police or 1.888.7.YOU.CAN (1.888.796.8226) for Resolve Crisis Services.

Telehealth services are available through several sources, including Health and Counseling Services and possibly your health insurance plan. If you would like assistance getting connected to telehealth services, you may contact Health and Counseling Services or your insurance plan.

Women’s Center and Shelter, MENS Group

Phone: 412-687-8017 x340
If you think you are abusing your partner or may possess abusive tendencies, the MENS Group is here to help. As part of Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, one of the nation’s first women’s shelters, the MENS Group offers counseling and support to help men understand their situation and gain control of their feelings.

Persad Center, Inc.

Phone: 412.441.9786; 
Persad Center, Inc. is the nation’s second oldest licensed mental health center specifically created to serve the LGBTQ+ community. Domestic violence occurs in about 1 out of 4 relationships. Same-sex couples experience the same rate of violence in their relationships. Persad Center’s Battering Intervention Program seeks to help individuals who are involved in these relationships to end the violence. Persad Center helps individuals to examine the negative patterns in their relationships, how to spot the triggers for violence, and teaches skills to stop the cycles of abuse. Participants in our program are taught to recognize and communicate their thoughts and feelings more effectively. This program will help you to fulfill your requirements for the court as well.
If you have been arrested during a same-sex domestic violence incident, we can help. Persad offers a program that helps you to examine your violent reactions, your triggers and feelings, and helps you to learn new behaviors.

Legal Advice

Employee & Student Resources

Sexual Assault and Exploitation (Rainn)

Sexual violence (which includes sexual assault and exploitation) on campus is pervasive.
  • Among undergraduate students, 23.1% of females and 5.4% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.
  • 4.2% of students have experienced stalking since entering college.
  • 21% of TGQN (transgender, genderqueer, nonconforming) college students have been sexually assaulted, compared to 18% of non-TGQN females, and 4% of non-TGQN males.
Sexual Violence May Occur at a Higher Rate at Certain Times of the Year
  • More than 50% of college sexual assaults occur in either August, September, October, or November.
  • Students are at an increased risk during the first few months of their first and second semesters in college.
Sexual Assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without consent.
This includes: 
  • Non-Consensual Sexual Contact: 
    • any intentional sexual touching, 
    • however slight, 
    • with any object, 
    • by a person upon another person, 
    • that is without consent and/or by force. 
    • Intentional contact with the breasts, buttock, groin, or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts, or making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts. 
    • Any other intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner.    
  • Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse is:   
    • Any sexual penetration of vagina or anus with any object 
    • Any oral contact between mouth and genitals 
    • however slight, 
    • by a person upon another person, 
    • that is without consent and/or by force. 
  • is clear, knowing and voluntary permission given prior to and during the interaction. Consent can be given by word or action, but non-verbal consent is not as clear as talking about what you want and what you don’t.  
  • Consent to some form of interaction cannot be automatically taken as consent to any other form.  
  • Previous consent does not imply consent in the future.  
  • Silence or passivity -- without actions demonstrating permission -- cannot be assumed to show consent.  
  • Consent, once given, can be withdrawn at any time. There must be a clear indication that consent is being withdrawn. 
  • Under this policy, “No” always means “No.”. Anything but a clear, knowing and voluntary consent to any interaction is equivalent to a “no.” 
  • Individuals who consent to interaction must be able to understand what they are doing. When alcohol or other drugs are being used, a person will be considered unable to give valid consent if they cannot fully understand the details of an interaction including a sexual interaction (who, what, when, where, why, or how) because they lack the capacity to reasonably understand the situation. 
  • Use of alcohol or other drugs by any of the parties should not function to excuse any behavior that violates this policy 
Sexual Exploitation 
Sexual exploitation occurs when one person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for their own advantage Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to: 
  • Invasion of sexual privacy; 
  • Dissemination of intimate images (i.e. revenge porn) 
  • Taking sexualized photographs without permission 
  • Prostituting another person; 
  • Non-consensual digital, video, or audio recording of nudity or sexual activity; 
  • Unauthorized sharing or distribution of digital, video, or audio recording of nudity or sexual activity; 
  • Engaging in voyeurism; 
  • Going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as allowing someone to hide in the closet to watch consensual sex); 
  • Knowingly exposing someone to or transmitting an STI, STD or HIV to another person; DO we need to include something about COVID as it is now thought to be transmitted through sexual activity?
  • Intentionally or recklessly exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances; inducing another to expose their genitals; 
  • Sexually-based stalking and/or bullying may also be forms of sexual exploitation 

Dating Violence and Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence can occur between any current or former partners. Partners could be or have been married, living together, in a romantic relationship, or have a child together. 

Dating Violence can occur within a romantic relationship, no matter the length or degree of intimacy. 

Domestic Violence and Dating Violence are both defined as a pattern of abusive behavior in a relationship that is used by one partner to maintain power and control over another current or former intimate partner.   This includes any behavior that intimidates, manipulates, humiliates, isolates, frightens, terrorizes, coerces, threatens, hurts, injures, or wounds someone.  

Domestic Violence and Dating Violence tend to escalate in frequency and severity over time. A person tends to not be abusive continuously; rather, it often happens in a cycle where tension builds, an incident can occur, and then a honeymoon phase may exist.  
Abuse and Violence Cycle

Types of Abuse
Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, psychological and emotional, economic and academic, or digital actions or threats of actions that influence another person. Physical abuse does not need to be present for a relationship to be abusive. In an unhealthy and abusive relationship, the types of abuse contribute to one person’s world getting larger while the other partner’s world continues to become smaller.

  • Physical Abuse:
    • hitting, grabbing, pushing, punching, pinning someone down 
    • attempting to strangle or choke, 
    • throwing objects and punching walls 
    • threats of using physical force against you or loved ones.
  • Psychological and emotional abuse:  
    • isolating a person from family and friends (through monitoring whereabouts, causing rifts, using excessive jealousy),  
    • making a person feel bad about themselves,  
    • humiliating someone,  
    • gaslighting – changing the way someone thinks about themself 
    • making someone feel guilty,  
    • constant criticism and put downs, 
  • controlling thr way one dresses, who one sees and where one goes, 
    • threatening to take children away for leaving the relationship. 
    • Threatening to expose your secrets such as your sexual orientation or immigration status.
    • Threatening to commit suicide to keep you from breaking up with them.
    • Threatening to harm you, your pet or people you care about.
  • Economic abuse:    
    • Controlling your finances 
    • Maxing credit cards
    • Driving your credit down
    • Giving you presents and/or paying for things like dinner and expecting you to somehow return the favor
  • Academic abuse:
    • Preventing you from studying or completing assignments
    • Belittling or making you feel bad about your academic choices or performance
    • Pressuring you to spend time with them rather than on your education
  • Sexual abuse:  
    • manipulating one to engage in sexual activity through guilt, lies, and pressure,  
    • forcing or intimidating someone to have sexual relations,  
    • tampering with contraception,  
    • making a person feel bad about themselves sexually and their sexual decisions.   
  • Digital abuse: 
    • Using of technology, such as smartphones, the internet, or social media to intimate, harass, threaten, or isolate a victim. 
    • Tracking where someone goes through their phones and social media posts 
    • Spreading rumors over social media
    • Constantly attempting to contact you 
    • Derogatory comments to your posts 
    • Sends you unwanted, explicit pictures and/or pressures you to send explicit video or sexts
    • Uses any kind of technology to monitor you
    • Uses your phone or social media to check up on you

Safety Planning

(Adapted from: "Stalking Safety Strategies," SPARC)

A safety plan is a personalized tool that can help you stay safe if you are or have experienced stalking, dating violence, domestic violence, and sexual assault. A specialist from Women’s Center & Shelter or PAAR can help you devise your own plan. Some aspects to consider are the following:
  • Trust your instincts – do not doubt yourself.
  • If you are experiencing domestic or dating violence and continue to be in the relationship, consider the following safety strategies:
    • If an incident occurs, where could you go? What would be the best way to get there?
    • If you are worried that an incident may occur, can a trusted person check in on you? Do you have a codeword you can use to indicate you are in trouble?
    • Do you feel you need to pack a bag with important documents, money, medications, etc. in case you need to leave? If so, where can you safely store it?
    • Do you have a safety app that can help you?
    • Is there a safe way you can reach out to a service organization?
    • Can you adjust privacy settings on your devices to ensure you are not being tracked through GPS or Spyware?
  • If you are experiencing stalking, have ended a relationship and are concerned about your safety, or have been sexually assaulted and are concerned about your safety, consider the following:
    • Do you need to cut off contact with the person? Is it practical for you to cut off contact with the person?
      • Remember that any contact, even negative contact, can be misinterpreted as encouragement.
      • Do you feel you need one conversation to make it clear that you do not want any contact? If that is the case, consider making it brief and not leaving it open for discussion. For example, “Do not call, stop by, text, or contact me in any way whatsoever.” or “I am ending this relationship. I am not going to change my mind. Do not contact me again. I do not want to have any communication with you, in any form. If you try to contact me, I will call the police/take legal action.”
      • Sometimes, it may not be possible to cut off all contact. In these cases, consider consulting a professional to help you be safe.
  • Sometimes, a person may use third parties to keep in contact with you. In these cases, consider asking those people not to relay any information back to the individual, even in causal conversation.
  • Social Media can play a role in continuing to cause harm to an individual who has experienced or is experiencing sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, or stalking. Consider:
    • Do you need to block the person on social messaging?
    • Would it be safer if you avoided tagging yourself or identifying your location on social media?
    • Can you ask your friends to not post details about your life or tagging you on their pages?
    • Have you turned off location tracker on your apps?
  • Can you adjust privacy settings on your devices to ensure you are not being tracked through GPS or Spyware?
  • Should you do an internet search on yourself to ensure that rumors, photos, etc. are not being posted?
  • Are you concerned you have been hacked? Do you need to update passwords and change security questions? Do you need a new device?
  • If you have a protection order, keep a copy with you. Also, provide Carlow Police and Student Affairs with a copy.
  • Do you think you are being followed? Would it help to vary your daily routes, method of transportation, or your routine? Can you have someone walk you to your car or the bus?
  • Would you feel safer telling friends and family where you are going?
  • Can you tell friends and family what they should do if they are contacted by the person?
  • Who should you inform about the problem (neighbors/building manager/school officials/Carlow police)? Can you provide these people with a photo or license plate number and notify you if they see the person?
  • No matter your relationship with the person harming you, it can be a good idea to keep a record of incidents that have occurred, even if you do not plan on contacting the police. This can enable you to identify patterns in behavior. It can also be helpful if you need to obtain a protection order to keep the person away from you, if you file a complaint with the school, or if you may face child custody issues. You can do the following:
    • Keep a journal that specifies what happened and the date/time/location. Journal anything that bothers you, big or small.
    • Keep text messages, phone records, screen shots of social media posts.
    • Tell someone you trust

Red Flags

There is no one typical, detectable personality of an abuser. However, they do often display common characteristics.
  • An abuser often denies the existence or minimizes the seriousness of the violence and its effect on the victim and other family members.
  • An abuser objectifies the victim and often sees them as their property or sexual objects.
  • An abuser has low self-esteem and feels powerless and ineffective in the world. He or she may appear successful, but internally, they feel inadequate.
  • An abuser externalizes the causes of their behavior. They blame their violence on circumstances such as stress, their partner's behavior, a "bad day," on alcohol, drugs, or other factors.
  • An abuser may be pleasant and charming between periods of violence and is often seen as a "nice person" to others outside the relationship.
  • Sense of entitlement: feels he/she has the right to dictate your behavior, privileges, or responses and opinions.
  • Believes in stereotypical ideas about roles of women and men in relationships.

Power and Control Wheel

Abuse is a pattern of behavior that allows one person in a relationship to gain power and control over the other. 
Power and Abuse Wheel

This wheel describes the way social privilege can be used to control someone. In this case, the wheel illustrates male privilege, because, in a male/female relationship, stereotypical ideas of the roles of women and men can be used to control someone. Females, too, can use stereotypes about men to control them. For instance, they can put down their partner for not being a ‘real man’. 

LGBTQ+ Relationships
In LGBTQ+ relationships heterosexual privilege and homophobia can be used to control partners. Behaviors can include threatening to out someone; blaming one’s own violence on oppression; exploiting partner’s insecurities about transitioning; using anti-LGBTQ+ remarks to put them down. 

Immigrant Relationships
Immigrants can face unique challenges in our society, and these challenges can be exploited in abusive relationships. Immigrants may already be separated from loved ones geographically, which can make it easier to isolate them. Language barriers can be exploited to further isolation. If one does not have an American driver’s license, they may become more dependent on a person who is abusive. An abusive behavior may include hiding or stealing one’s Greencard or passport or threatening to call immigration on someone. 

Women of Color
Oppression is the systemic mistreatment of a defined group of people that is reinforced by society. This system of advantage enables privileged groups to exert control over targeted groups by limiting their rights, freedom, and access to necessary resources and social power.
Some examples of the effect of state intervention on abused women of color include:

  1. The arrest of those very same women for experiencing relationship abuse, even when they were using self-defense
  2. Unwarranted removal by the state of children from women who have been abused
  3. Prosecution of battered women involved in criminal conduct (which is often part of the abuse by the abusive partner)
Source: Sokoloff (2005) Examining the Intersections of Race, Class & Gender


The effects of experiencing sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking can be wide-ranging.
They can include, but are not limited to:
  • difficulty concentrating
  • difficulty sleeping
  • nightmares
  • feeling like you are reliving the experience
  • chronic pain
  • headaches
  • feeling ‘jumpy’ or anxious
  • feeling numb
  • low energy
  • stomach problems
  • feeling irritable
  • losing interest in things you valued
These effects can be short-term or long-term.

Getting support can help minimize the impact of SADDVS. Several free and confidential resources are available with links and information provided under Get Help & Support.


Stalking is pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.  

Stalking can include: 

  • Repeated and unwanted attempts to contact an individual through text or voice message, email or social media. This can include attempts to contact an individual through a third-party. 
  • Repeatedly following or watching an individual 
  • Repeatedly appearing at one’s home, friends, classes and other venues to attempt to interact with the person 
  • Frightening communications,  
  • Direct or indirect threats. 
  • Harassment through the internet. 
Stalking is dangerous and can often cause severe and long-lasting emotional and psychological harm to victims.  Stalking often escalates over time. Stalking can occur with domestic violence. When stalking occurs in domestic violence, it can increase the risk of homicide.  Stalking can lead to sexual assault and even homicide.  

Additional resources, facts and statistics

SAFE Campus

Project SAFE

It is the role of every student, faculty, staff and visitor to strive to make Carlow a safer place. Unfortunately, every year violence occurs, and somebody could have helped stop it. Stopping violence isn’t just about intervening when you see it, but also about making Carlow a better place, and sending out the message that such violence will not be tolerated.

Carlow University has launched Project SAFE in order to address sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. During the 2019-20 academic year, we received a three-year grant from the Office on Violence against Women through the Department of Justice to develop comprehensive prevention and intervention efforts.

Currently, we are:

  • Creating a Coordinated Community Response to sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.
    • We have assembled a team of faculty and staff across the university.
    • We are in the process of creating a SAFE Student Group. If you are interested in working on sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, please contact Erin Tunney to join this group
  • Developing a Comprehensive Prevention Program for students, faculty and staff. This program will educate all members of the community on these forms of violence, what they can do to prevent behaviors that promote these forms of violence, and how community members can intervene skillfully to prevent incidents.
  • Enhancing Services for Those who have Experienced Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence or Stalking. We are partnering with Health and Counseling, Pittsburgh Action Against Rape (PAAR), Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine (AYAM) and Women’s Center and Shelter (WC&S).
  • Partnering with Law Enforcement: Carlow Police and Pittsburgh Bureau Police are partners in this project. We are developing trainings required for all Carlow Police and working to build relationships between the police and the community.
  • Partnering with Title IX and Student Conduct Team: We are working to ensure all conduct staff are fully trained on these issues and that policies and practices are in line with best practices.

How can we create a SAFE Community?

Though recognizing violence and intervening safely can help stop it, there is also many other ways to make the Carlow Community a safer place. To promote a safe and respectful community for all:
  • Educate yourself.
  • Speak out against gender stereotypes.
  • Challenge sexist, racist and homophobic jokes, rumors, comments and emails.
  • Reflect on your own behaviors, and make sure you do not degrade others.
  • Believe and support survivors of sexual violence.
  • Attend training, workshops, and rallies that challenge oppression.
  • Attend trainings, workshops, and rallies that seek to end sexual and gender-based violence.
  • Join Student Groups who focus on ending power-based violence.
  • Join the SAFE student Group.
For more information, please contact Project Coordinator, Erin Tunney, PhD

Understanding consent is an important part of creating a safer community when it comes to sexual violence. Unfortunately, just knowing that No means No is not enough. Truly having consent within a relationship takes work and requires everyone to understand various dynamics of power as well as have an open communication skills and practice. One thing that often gets overlooked is the intersection between trauma and consent. Without deeply knowing someone’s history, it is impossible to understand if someone reaction to intimacy is true consent. 
True consent is built of a framework: 
  • Freely Given: Often people assume this only mean force. But it means so much more. In this freely given means that this is something that all parties want to happen and free form manipulation, coercion, pressure, and takes into consideration power over other people. If someone guilts someone into having sex with them, then it is not truly freely given
  • Reversable: Reversable means that at anytime anyone can change their mind on any part that is happening. This means that if someone is Ok with one part of intimacy and then decides later they are not, they can say so and all parties involved stop. This also means that even if sexual act has started, communication shouldn’t stop, “it is ok to check in to make sure that at this moment, the act is still consensual. If at any time anybody no longer is comfortable with something, it is your responsibility to stop.
  • Informed: Informed means that everybody has all the information about what is happening. You know what risks you are taking by engaging in an act as well as what safety measures are being taken by the other party. This also requires some conversation and open communication before and during any sexual act. If the all parties agree on one thing, but something else occurs then that is not true consent.
  • Enthusiastic: This means that all parties taking place in the act are excited for it to happen. If someone is’nt looking forward to the act, or if they have been pressured to say yes through guilt or through fear (say of breaking up) then this is not true consent and
  • Specific: Consent can be given for some actions and not for others. It is important to know exactly what your partner is ok with and for you not to assume that being ok with one thing, means they are ok with everything. Open communication and verbally confirming can be a good way to make sure.
Having a conversation about consent doesn’t have to be unsexy or kill the mood. Having open conversations is an important way to make sure you and your partner are safe and will in the end create a better relationship.

Men are Allies, What Men Can Do

"Research: Prevalence of Violence Against Women and Girls," Engaging Men & Youth to Prevent Violence Against Women

There are many men’s organizations that are powerfully contributing to the movement to end gender violence. Check out these national men’s organizations that support the feminist movement to end violence against women:

  1. Approach gender violence as a Men’s issue involving men of all ages and socioeconomic, racial and ethnic backgrounds. View men not only as perpetrators or possible offenders, but as empowered bystanders who can confront abusive peers.
  2. If a brother, friend, classmate, or teammate is abusing his female partner — or is disrespectful or abusive to girls and women in general — don’t look the other way. If you feel comfortable doing so, try to talk to him about it. Urge him to seek help. Or if you don’t know what to do, consult a friend, a parent, a professor, or a counselor. Don't remain silent.
  3. Have the courage to look inward. Question your own attitudes. Don’t be defensive when something you do or say ends up hurting someone else. Try hard to understand how your own attitudes and actions might inadvertently perpetuate sexism and violence, and work toward changing them.
  4. If you suspect that a woman close to you is being abused or has been sexually assaulted, gently ask if you can help. Refer them to Center for Victims, PAAR, or Women’s Center and Shelter.
  5. If you are emotionally, psychologically, physically, or sexually abusive to women, or have been in the past, seek professional help now.
  6. Be an ally to women who are working to end all forms of gender violence. Support the work of campus-based women’s centers. Raise money for victim service agencies. If you belong to a team or fraternity, or another student group, organize a fundraiser.
  7. Recognize and speak out against homophobia and gay-bashing. Discrimination and violence against LGBTQ people are wrong in and of themselves. This abuse also has direct links to sexism (e.g. the sexual orientation of men who speak out against sexism is often questioned, a conscious or unconscious strategy intended to silence them. This is a key reason few men do so).
  8. Attend programs, take courses, watch films, and read articles and books about multicultural masculinities, gender inequality, and the root causes of gender violence. Educate yourself and others about how larger social forces affect the conflicts between individual men and women.
  9. Don’t fund sexism. Refuse to purchase any magazine, rent any video, subscribe to any Web site, or buy any music that portrays girls or women in a sexually degrading or abusive manner. Speak out about cyber-sexism and misogynist attacks against women on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Protest sexism in new and old media.
  10. Mentor and teach young boys about how to be men in ways that don’t involve degrading or abusing girls and women (or men). Volunteer to work with gender violence prevention programs, including anti-sexist men’s programs. Lead by example.