Frequently Asked Questions

Support Questions

I've experienced harm related to SVSH - where can I get support?

What happened to you is not your fault, and you have a right to confidential support. The PATH to Care Center is supportive first point of contact, as a confidential advocate can inform you of other on and off campus resources as well as of reporting options if you are interested. To reach PATH to Care, call 510-642-1988 to make an appointment, or, for 24/7 urgent support, call the Care Line at 510-643-2005.

See our Survivor Support Resources page for more information.

I'm a family member, friend, or colleague of a survivor- where can I get support?

The PATH to Care Center offers free services to any member of the UC Berkeley community who is impacted by sexual violence or harassment, or to those supporting community members who are impacted. If you are unsure of how to support someone in crisis, you can call PATH to Care's 24/7 CARE line at 510 643-2005. If you are supporting someone long term and want to be the best resource you can be, you can set up an appointment with a confidential advocate at 510 642-1988.  UHS Social Services and Counseling and Psychological Services can also provide confidential support to students; Be Well at Work/Employee Assistance can provide confidential support to staff and faculty.

Can faculty and staff use the PATH to Care Center?

Yes! The PATH to Care Center serves students, faculty, and staff who have been impacted by sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating/relationship violence, or stalking. The PATH to Care Center also serves anyone who has been harmed by a Berkeley affiliate, as well as anyone supporting someone in these groups.

What happens when someone calls the Care Line?

When someone calls the Care Line, an advocate will listen to the experiences of the person seeking support in a safe, affirming, and nonjudgmental way. The advocate can provide options, rights, resources, and referrals, including referrals to the Tang University Health Center and other medical/counseling services.

Advocates can also provide ongoing, supportive follow-up services. The Care Line can be used to:

  • Give survivors a way to immediately connect with support
  • Provide time-sensitive information about reporting, medical care, and other safety resources
  • Arrange accompaniment by an advocate to places such as medical care, forensic evidence exam, university reporting, and law enforcement reporting

Find more information about the Care Line on our 24/7 Urgent Support Care Line page.

What and who is a confidential resource?

Confidential resources exist in order to provide a safe space for individuals to discuss their options, learn about resources, and discuss any concerns before deciding to take next steps. Unless there is imminent risk of serious harm, confidential resources cannot share information without your express consent, and receiving support from a confidential resource does not trigger a report to the university. Any information shared with confidential resources is not considered an official report to the university. The information shared with a confidential resource will not result in any action by the University to resolve concerns unless a formal report is received by the university.

Confidential (non-reporting) resources include:

*Note: Ombuds Offices do not offer legal advice or mental health counseling. They do not have any formal authority to render decisions about issues brought to the office and do not participate in formal hearings or other formal processes. State-certified crisis counselors and advocates are also available through off-campus community resources such as BAWAR and the Family Violence Law Center.

Where is the PATH to Care Center located?

The PATH to Care Center is in a confidential location, in order to protect the safety of people accessing support. It is centrally located on campus, and the specific location will be disclosed to those who first connect with an advocate over the phone. The best way to reach the PATH to Care Center is by calling 510-642-1988 to make an appointment, or 510-643-2005 for 24/7 urgent support through the Care Line.

Definitions and Terms Questions

What is SVSH?

The University of California uses the acronym SVSH, which stands for sexual violence and sexual harassment. SVSH is an umbrella term to include a range of conduct that is prohibited by the UC Policy on SVSH, including dating, domestic, and intimate partner violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, and sexual exploitation. Not all forms of harm may be included in SVSH. There are confidential supportive services available to you, even if you do not feel that your experience of harm is encompassed within the acronym "SVSH".

To find more information about the UC Policy definitions of consent and prohibited forms of conduct such as sexual assault and sexual harassment, please see Definitions section of the Systemwide UC Policy on SVSH.

Why do people use the word "survivor"?

Only a person who has been harmed can choose the terms, if any, they want to use when speaking about their experience. On this site, we use the word "survivor" to refer or speak to people who have experienced any form of harm related to sexual violence and sexual harassment. We use "survivor" rather than "victim" in recognition and respect of those who have experienced violence and feel "survivor" signifies empowerment and strength.

If you are supporting someone who has experienced sexual violence or harassment, it can sometimes be difficult to know what to say. In general, it can feel supportive and empowering to use the same words the person uses to describe their experience, instead of labeling the person or their experience without their consent.

What is relationship violence?

On this website, "relationship violence" is a term used to refer to prohibited conduct including intimate partner violence, dating violence, and domestic violence. Find definitions of this term in the UC Policy on SVSH.

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Helping someone else

Urgent 24/7 Support Care Line: 510-643-2005

Confidential, free, urgent support for harm related to sexual violence

Reporting to UC Berkeley

Administrative reporting to the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD)

Questions about Reporting

For more information about reporting, see our Reporting Options page.

How do I report an incident of sexual violence, sexual harassment, or related misconduct?

Anyone who has experienced sexual violence or harassment has the option to report through the university at the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD), to the police, or not at all.

However, if you are an employee and are made aware of an incident, you may be obligated to report to OPHD (see the Responsible Employees page for specifics). To report an incident to OPHD, you can either email ask_ophd@berkeley.edu(link sends e-mail) or call 510- 643-7985. If you wish to report to the UC Police, call (510) 642-3333. If you wish to report to make a report in another location, dial 911 or contact UCPD for assistance coordinating the appropriate law enforcement agency. 

It is recommended that anyone considering these options meets with a PATH to Care Confidential Advocate to learn about these processes and get support through whichever path is chosen. 

Can a survivor report to both the university and the police?

Yes, the university process and the criminal legal process for responding to complaints of SVSH are separate and distinct. Survivors of harm related to SVSH have the right to report to both the university and the police, and may find it helpful to speak with a confidential advocate at the PATH to Care Center who can help coordinate reporting to both authorities. For more information about reporting, see our Reporting Options page. 

PATH to Care Center (Confidential)

For urgent confidential support, call the Care Line: 520-643-2005 | To make an appointment, call the main office line: 510-642-1988 | Website: care.berkeley.edu

What happens when a person contacts OPHD to report sexual harassment, sexual violence, or other prohibited behavior?

If a Responsible Employee contacts the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD) to report an allegation of SVSH, OPHD will contact the person who is alleged to have been harmed (complainant) via email or phone to connect them with the PATH to Care Center and/or other confidential campus resources for support, as well as determine whether interim remedies are appropriate. OPHD will inform the person who was harmed of their rights and options to report.

If the person who was harmed (complainant) contacts OPHD to make a report, OPHD will offer to connect them with confidential resources such as the PATH to Care Center (if they are not already connected), and schedule a meeting between the complainant and a Complaint Resolution Officer. In consultation with the complainant, OPHD will decide on next steps, including whether to pursue alternative resolution or launch a formal investigation.

UC Berkeley Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (Reporting Resource) 

Email: ask_ophd@berkeley.edu(link sends e-mail) | Phone: 510-643-7985 | ophd.berkeley.edu

What happens after someone reports to the university?

OPHD will connect complainants with the PATH to Care Center and/or other confidential campus resources for support as well as determine whether interim remedies are appropriate. In consultation with the complainant, OPHD will decide on next steps, including whether to pursue alternative resolution or launch a formal investigation.

What happens during the university's formal investigation?

The Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD) is a neutral, fact-finding body. If OPHD launches a formal investigation, its trained investigators (called Complaint Resolution Officers or CROs) will interview relevant people, including the complainant, the respondent, and witnesses identified in the course of the investigation. OPHD cannot compel a person to cooperate with an investigation. OPHD writes a report at the conclusion of an investigation.

UC Berkeley Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (Reporting Resource) 

Email: ask_ophd@berkeley.edu(link sends e-mail) | Phone: 510-643-7985 | ophd.berkeley.edu

What is the outcome of an OPHD investigation?

Upon completing a formal investigation, the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD) issues a report on the findings of their investigation to the appropriate adjudication body. 

See the UC Policy on SVSH to learn more about SVSH investigation and adjudication processes. For questions, contact OPHD (reporting resource) or the PATH to Care Center (confidential resource).

How long do the university investigation and adjudication processes take?

See the UC Policy on SVSH to learn more about the timeframes of SVSH investigation and adjudication processes. For questions about timeframes, contact: 

UC Berkeley Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (Reporting Resource) 

Email: ask_ophd@berkeley.edu(link sends e-mail) | Phone: 510-643-7985 | ophd.berkeley.edu

Who is a complainant and who is a respondent?

In brief, a complainant is anyone who is the alleged subject of conduct prohibited by the UC Policy on SVSH, including retaliation. A respondent is any person who is alleged to have engaged in Prohibited Conduct and about whom a report of sexual violence, sexual harassment, other prohibited behavior, or retaliation is made. For more information, see the Definitions sections of the UC Policy on SVSH.

UC Berkeley Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (Reporting Resource) 

Email: ask_ophd@berkeley.edu(link sends e-mail) | Phone: 510-643-7985 | ophd.berkeley.edu

Can complainants and respondents bring someone with them to meetings during the investigation?

Yes, all those participating in the University investigation process for SVSH cases have the right to bring an emotional support person and an advisor with them.  

According to the UC Policy on SVSH: "An advisor includes any individual except a potential witness who provides the Complainant or Respondent with support, guidance, or advice (including attorneys). The institution cannot limit the choice of an advisor, but may restrict the extent to which the advisor can participate in the proceedings as long as the restrictions apply equally to Complainants and Respondents." 

In addition, both parties have the right to bring an emotional support person with them. For questions about bringing an emotional support person, please contact the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination. 

UC Berkeley Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (Reporting Resource) 

Email: ask_ophd@berkeley.edu(link sends e-mail) | Phone: 510-643-7985 | ophd.berkeley.edu

Read more in the Definitions section of the UC Policy on SVSH(link is external).

What is an alternative resolution?

Cases that do not go to formal investigation may instead resolve through informal or Alternative Resolution. For more information, contact OPHD

UC Berkeley Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (Reporting Resource) 

Email: ask_ophd@berkeley.edu(link sends e-mail) | Phone: 510-643-7985 | ophd.berkeley.edu

Read more in the Definitions section of the UC Policy on SVSH(link is external).

Questions about svsh.berkeley.edu

Who maintains this website?

This website (svsh.berkeley.edu) is maintained by the Coordinated Community Review Team (CCRT) of UC Berkeley, with support from the office of the Special Faculty Advisor to the Chancellor on SVSH. This website replaced svshadvisor.berkeley.edu as a one-stop hub for SVSH information at UC Berkeley.

The network of resources at UC Berkeley is vast and we are always working to keep information up-to-date. If you find outdated information or broken links on svsh.berkeley.edu, please report them to the office of the Special Faculty Advisor to the Chancellor on SVSH (form coming soon). On this site, we link to the websites of units both on campus and off, and each of those units operate and update their own website. If you find outdated information or broken links on another website, please contact the site owner directly.

What are Leave Site Quickly buttons?

In accordance with best practices for websites containing information for survivors about SVSH, this website features Leave Site Quickly buttons (usually on the top and bottom of every page). Some common abusive or controlling behaviors include monitoring the target's online activity. Leave Site Quickly buttons give users who are concerned about someone monitoring their online activity a way to quickly exit to another page. Clicking this button brings you to a commonly-used external page, it does NOT erase browsing history. 

Questions about Responsible Employee obligations

For answers to frequently asked questions about Responsible Employees' obligations, please see our How to be a Responsible Employee page.