As members of the University of New Hampshire community who have experienced interpersonal violence, survivors have several options, including seeking a criminal investigation, pursuing an institutional disciplinary process, or focusing on support and recovery. SHARPP recognizes the deeply personal decision that each survivor must make and supports every survivor in making the choice that is best for them. SHARPP staff and Peer Advocates are confidential, and any information shared with SHARPP is not considered "reporting."
Survivors may choose to take action through the University, law enforcement, both, or neither, and taking action through one system may have no impact on your ability to pursue to the other option. Survivors may choose to report to UNH for a variety of reasons; for instance, in order to access resources and supportive measures even if they do not choose to pursue a formal process. When making a report, students may wish for there to be a formal process related to the concern. Regardless of whether a student requests a formal disciplinary process or they wish only to notify the school, they are entitled to receive supportive measures from UNH. Below is a comparison of the processes available through the criminal justice system and the University's disciplinary system. After reviewing, you can click the button below to download a copy for yourself.
Reporting to Law Enforcement
Reporting to the University
|Typically, someone reports a concern to law enforcement because there is a violation of law that they would like to see be criminally investigated, or because they need immediate assistance.||UNH community members may report to UNH for a variety of reasons, including wanting UNH to be aware of a concern, wanting to discuss support available, or wanting UNH to formally investigate a situation.|
|Violation Type||Responds to and investigates behavior that is against the law in the state of New Hampshire.||Responds to and can investigate behavior that is against UNH policies.|
|Process Type||Criminal legal process||Administrative process|
|Guiding Regulations||Follows protocols set by the NH Attorney General's Office.||Follows protocols set by state and federal laws, as well as university policy.|
|Beginning Steps to Formal Process||
For sexual violence, requires the survivor to participate in a minimal facts interview to collect basic information. This is followed by a longer audio- and video-recorded interview to capture the survivor's experience. The initial minimal facts interview is conducted by a law enforcement officer, while the in-depth recorded interview is conducted by specially trained non-law enforcement personnel at the County Attorney's Office.
For relationship abuse, law enforcement may be obligated to pursue a criminal process despite the wishes of the survivor.
For all experiences of violence, if a survivor wishes to pursue a formal process, typically they must submit a formal written complaint requesting UNH to begin an investigation. Survivors are entitled to supportive measures without a formal complaint being submitted, and are able to access supportive measures throughout a university investigation as well.
In rare instances, the Title IX Coordinator may initiate a formal complaint without participation of the impacted person(s).
|Statute of Limitations||
For sexual assault experienced by someone over the age of 18, the person has 6 years to report it to law enforcement. If it happened to someone under the age of 18, it can be reported until that person is 40 years old. (Note: this is the case in New Hampshire and may be different if the assault occurred outside of New Hampshire.)
Other forms of violence can be reported for at least one year and may vary depending on the experience and behavior.
There are no time constraints on how long a survivor has after an incident occurred to file a complaint with the university; however, the passage of time may limit the evidence available.
The status of the accused at the time of the complaint can also affect the options available for response.
|Scope of Investigation||Investigation will likely involve interviewing others with information about the incident such as friends, family, and the person accused.||Investigation will likely involve interviewing others with information about the incident such as friends, family, and the person accused.|
|Investigator||Investigation is conducted by trained law enforcement personnel.||Investigation is conducted by trained university personnel or a trained contracted investigator who is not law enforcement.|
Can collect evidence such as text messages, medical evidence, social media posts, clothing, or other relevant items.
Has the ability to issue subpoenas and require evidence to be released.
Can collect evidence such as text messages, social media posts, video recordings, journals, or other relevant information.
Can utilize evidence provided that was collected by others such as police reports, medical evidence, and photographs. Does not have the ability to subpoena or require evidence to be submitted.
|Resolution Format||Decision to proceed with criminal charges is made by the County Attorney's Office and may be resolved in court, or if appropriate, through other channels such as mediation or arbitration.||Formal processes may be resolved through a hearing (decision made by a panel of UNH students, faculty, and staff), or through administrative processes depending on circumstances.|
|Standard of Evidence||Decision of guilt is determined by a jury based on beyond a reasonable doubt standard of evidence (99.9+% likely)||When a hearing is held, the decision of responsibility is made by a trained panel of 3 UNH community members based on a preponderance of evidence standard (50.01+%)|
|Possible Outcomes||If charged and convicted, can result in criminal outcomes such as fines, incarceration, probation, and counseling.||
For students found responsible, can result in UNH outcomes such as probation, a period of suspension from the University, or expulsion.
For employees determined to have violated UNH's sexual misconduct policies, potential outcomes can include verbal or written reprimand, reassignment of duties, suspension, or termination of employment.
To speak with a SHARPP advocate you can:
- Call the 24/7 helpline at (603) 862-7233
- Visit the SHARPP office Monday–Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Wolff House (green building next to Health and Wellness)
- Chat with an advocate online Monday–Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Text with an advocate at (603) 606-9393 Monday–Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
To initiate a criminal process or seek additional information you can:
- For incidents happening on UNH property contact UNH Police at (603) 862-1427
- For incidents occurring in Durham but off of UNH property contact Durham Police at (603) 868-2324
- If it occurred outside of the UNH community but you are unsure of who to contact, SHARPP and UNH Police can help identify the correct law enforcement agency to contact.