Understanding Confidentiality

Privacy concerns are often at the forefront when someone has experienced sexual misconduct. It is useful to know the degree of confidentiality that individuals can expect from each of the University resources. University officials are trained in the importance of confidentiality and the protocols for maintaining that confidentiality. 

 

SHARE is strictly confidential and can be anonymous

Except in rare, extreme circumstances, SHARE staff will not reveal any information without explicit permission. (This level of confidentiality is also provided by other mental health providers, physicians, and clergy when consulted in their professional capacities.)

Information shared with Title IX Coordinators

As part of the University’s general monitoring process, all information about incidents of sexual misconduct are shared with the University Title IX Coordinator, who is charged with taking steps to end the sexual misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and repair the harms. Students in official roles—such as CCEs or freshman counselors— are also required to make such reports. If a Title IX Coordinator receives information about an incident of sexual misconduct, he or she may reach out to you to offer to explain options and accommodations, and to assess the situation. In cases of sexual assault or other criminal conduct, the Title IX Coordinator will share information with the YPD, and will advise you about the resources and assistance the police can provide.

If you decide to pursue remedies and/or a complaint, a few more people may become involved in your case, but your privacy will still be respected and safeguarded to the fullest extent possible. You can also ask that a complaint not be pursued, or that a complaint be pursued without revealing your name or other identifying details. Your request will be accommodated to the extent possible, but an anonymous complaint on its own cannot be the basis for disciplinary action, and your preferences must be balanced against the need to maintain campus safety. In situations where a confidentiality request limits an investigation or prevents the University from taking direct disciplinary action, it will take other reasonable steps to minimize the effects of the reported misconduct and to prevent its recurrence.

Information shared with YPD

The YPD may receive reports from a Title IX Coordinator, or directly from you. The YPD can offer confidential consultations regarding possible criminal investigation. They are subject to state requirements for investigating and responding to reports of crime, but ordinarily the decision about whether or not to press criminal charges is up to you. In cases of sexual misconduct, the YPD 16will share information with the Title IX Coordinator, and will advise you about the resources and assistance the University can provide.

The confidentiality of a police report shifts over time. Once a case is closed, it becomes a matter of public record. This does not mean it is widely released, but it will be available upon request. It is the practice to redact (black out) the names of victims, along with any other identifying information. So while it is not “confidential,” your name would not be public. 

Information shared with the broader community

Timely Warnings (aka “Messages from the Chief”)

Under the Clery Act, the University is responsible for issuing “timely warnings” in response to some reports. Only specific crimes, such as sexual assault, trigger a warning; the crime must have occurred within the officially-designated campus area; and there must be a serious or ongoing threat to the community. If you report an incident of misconduct that meets these strict criteria, a message will be sent out from the Yale Chief of Police. The warning message will contain a brief description of the crime, and may indicate the location where the incident occurred. It will not include any information that would identify you or other individuals involved. In all but exceptional circumstances, you would be informed in advance of distribution of the message.

Publications

The University issues regular publications—such as the semi-annual Report of Complaints of Sexual Misconduct and the annual Campus Safety Report—to inform the community and the public in general about complaints of sexual misconduct brought to the University’s attention. These reports are written with great care to preserve the privacy of the individuals involved by omitting names and providing only minimal descriptions or statistical summaries.