Whether you are here representing an academic department, a student group, an office on campus - or any other unit - this guidance is meant for you!
This set of tips is intended for anyone in the UC Berkeley community to use for the purposes of creating, updating, or revising websites with content related to sexual violence and sexual harassment (SVSH). Many UC Berkeley departments and groups host their own webpage(s) featuring information about SVSH prevention and response. As part of the UC Berkeley community, your website reflects the values and priorities of the campus in preventing and addressing SVSH. Our goal in sharing this guidance is to help site owners provide a consistent, streamlined, welcoming, and inclusive experience for visitors to their website.
The Coordinated Community Review Team (CCRT) of UC Berkeley created these tips after conducting a comprehensive audit of UC Berkeley-affiliated web pages containing SVSH content, and by creating this "hub" website, svsh.berkeley.edu. We will be updating this guidance often because best practices change frequently and quickly. Please check this page regularly for the most up-to-date guidance.
Where to begin
Start by figuring out which pages on your website have any information related to SVSH prevention at UC Berkeley. Once you have conducted an inventory of your SVSH-related content, perform a self assessment:
What is my department or group's role in preventing or responding to SVSH?
Every department or group can do its part to prevent harassment and support its community. All departments or groups with a web presence are encouraged to publish a values statement affirming a commitment to prevention and creating a respectful and inclusive environment. To direct visitors to more specific informaton regarding SVSH prevention or response, link to the appropriate website(s), including this one, svsh.berkeley.edu.
If the mission of your department or group has a direct role in campus efforts to prevent or address SVSH, publish original SVSH content that is specific to your work. For all other information, link to the appropriate website(s) or use websites such as svsh.berkeley.edu, care.berkeley.edu, and ophd.berkeley to anchor the format and content of SVSH information.
Is there information that is outdated or redundant?
Information about SVSH prevention and response policies/resources on campus is highly detailed and frequently changes. Unless a primary mission/function of your department or group involves SVSH prevention or response, we recommend your website have SVSH-related information on one webpage or in a single location on your site, to make it easier for people to find the information. Eliminate all redundant information or pages and link to the appropriate websites, rather than copying information to your own site. You may want to check websites such as svsh.berkeley.edu, care.berkeley.edu, and ophd.berkeley to assess if information is outdated.
Reach out to CCRT if you have questions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Information related to SVSH, including policies and procedures, change often. For content or documents your office does not own, link to the website of the office/group directly responsible for keeping this information up-to-date wherever possible. Do not upload copies of pdfs you do not own.
- Ensure your website meets the requirements of applicable laws, policies, and resolution agreements, such as the 2018 Resolution Agreement with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR).
- Do not paraphrase or interpret policies and procedures in your own words.
- Contact campus offices for assistance with revising or updating your website's information relating to SVSH.
Use the following pillars to assess, create, revise, or update the SVSH content on your website.
1. Trauma-informed elements
- Confidential support: Make sure your website lists PATH to Care as the primary/first campus point-of-contact for people who have experienced SVSH, especially before discussing reporting. Link to the PATH to Care Center's website: care.berkeley.edu. The Care Line number (510-643-2005) should be prominent and listed as 24/7 urgent confidential support.
- Crisis support: If you are listing information about resources, consider putting resources with 24/7 urgent support numbers at the top or making sure they stand out.
- Audience: Keep your audience in mind. PATH to Care serves current and former UC Berkeley students, staff, faculty, post-docs, visitors to campus, and anyone harmed by an affiliate of UC Berkeley.
- Leave site quickly: Add a “leave site quickly” button to help a person who may be monitored quickly move away from sensitive information to a commonly-used website, such as berkeley.edu or the Google homepage.
- Reporting obligations and confidentiality: Be clear about any reporting obligations members of your department or group have (including responsible employee obligations, mandated crime reporting, Clery data/campus security authority role) and/or any confidentiality you can provide.
- Choice and autonomy: Emphasize the survivor’s right to choose whether or not and how to report. Do not include language that either deters survivors from reporting, or pressures survivors to report. Under reporting information, you may include links to the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD) at ophd.berkeley.edu and the University of California Police Department (UCPD) at ucpd.berkeley.edu.
- Warnings: If your website links to videos or content that vividly depicts graphic descriptions of violence, consider including a warning which clearly labels the content (for example, "content warning: sexual assault.")
- Best practices: Follow best practices for accessible websites (some resources are below). If you use a platform like OpenBerkeley, many accessibility features are already built in.
- Headings: Use the headings functions (in sequential order, do not skip heading numbers). Don't use headings only because of the styling appearance. You can use optional styling instead.
- Alt Text: Use Alt Text on images and captions on videos.
Links: When linking to sites, use descriptive text to name where the link goes. For example, instead of saying “for more information, click here (link)” say “find more information on the SVSH website (link).”
Keyboard Usability: Content should be accessible using only a keyboard: start sentences or titles with important and/or intuitive words or phrases to make it easier to search on a keyboard alphabetically or skip (say “Contact Us” instead of “you can contact us.”)
Documents accessible using a screen-reader: Attach screen-reader accessible documents. To convert a Google document into an accessible PDF, first save the Google doc as a Word document, then save the Word document as a PDF, and select the version optimized for web accessibility when saving. Many platforms, including Google docs and Word, have accessibility features you may enable.
- Accommodations: On the main page and/or contact pages of your website, state how your department/group provides accommodations for equitable access to your services, events, or spaces. Include how to request accommodations and contact information, including a TTY phone number if you have one.
- Inclusive and welcoming: Consider if your website is inclusive and welcoming of a diversity of experience, campus affiliation, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ability, age, educational background, etc.
- Images: Images and phrases on your page can be opportunities to showcase inclusivity and respect for diversity. Assess who is depicted in the images on your website, and if there are inclusive statements or phrases that make sense for the mission or function of your office.
- Pronouns: Consider using the pronouns "they/them/their" when speaking generally about people instead of “he/him/his" or "she/her/hers.” Ask and respect people's pronouns when writing about them on your website. For example, "respond compassionately when someone you know tells you about their experience of SVSH."
- Understandable language: Language used on your site should be easy to understand, not legalistic or jargon-y.
4. Ease of navigation and finding information
Write concisely and simply: Navigating the site should be easy to understand; users should be able to find info quickly and easily. Avoid long lists of resources / links, which can be overwhelming.
Focus on your department/group: Avoid detailed descriptions of the functions of other departments/ resources. Instead, provide copy of publicly available information and/or include links to the appropriate websites or svsh.berkeley.edu.
Redundancy: Within your department website, consolidate SVSH to as few pages as possible (while still meeting your own needs and mandates) and minimize redundant content unless needed for a specific reason.
5. Consistency and appearance
Branding: Sites should be consistent with other Berkeley branded sites and/or sites within the Division: Use OpenBerkeley or another Berkeley branded platform to create your site.
Links to other sites: Consider linking directly to other sites such as svsh.berkeley.edu, care.berkeley.edu, and ophd.berkeley.edu to ensure your site has similar descriptions, appearance, themes, and tones as other sites pertaining to SVSH.
Broken links: Sites should have working links that direct to the correct resources. If your site has links, images, or information from websites no longer in active use, please replace the content with care.berkeley.edu or svsh.berkeley.edu.
Comprehensive information: If your site needs to publish content on SVSH, remember to include information that is less commonly found (i.e prevention; respondent services).
Community: Emphasize the teamwork among campus and community partners in our prevention and response efforts.
Using existing sites: Evaluate your content against the current campus SVSH policy and the svsh.berkeley.edu website for consistency and accuracy. If the svsh.berkeley.edu website needs to be changed, please let us know by emailing email@example.com.