Confidential Advocacy

Under Title IX regulations, the Campus Victim Services Coordinator (CVSC) is not required to report sexual assault incidences to school authorities. Students can meet with CVSC to receive emotional support; referrals to campus and community resources; administrative support throughout the reporting, investigation, and hearing process; psychoeducation on the impact of trauma and cycle of violence. Advocacy services by the CVSC are always trauma-informed, survivor-centered, empowerment-based, and available to any student in the campus community regardless of where and when an incident took place.

Safety Planning

According to Jill Davies, a safety plan is an individualized plan that victims/survivors develop to reduce the risks they face. These plans include strategies to reduce the risk of physical violence and other harm caused by a perpetrator and also include strategies to maintain basic human needs such as income, housing, health care, food, child care, and education.

Please see the following documents to assist you with safety planning. Working with a trained advocate such as the Campus Victim Services Coordinator will help you to develop a comprehensive safety plan.

A Guide to Safety Planning »

Safety Plan Worksheet »

Survivor Support Group

Support groups are available once a semester for a time period of 8-10 weeks for students who have experienced dating violence, and/or sexual violence. This group is focused on building healthy coping skills in order to better handle the effects of trauma. Survivors often report a feeling of isolation after their assault or abusive relationship. This group will help you to connect with other survivors who are often experiencing the same types of effects from their trauma. This weekly group meets in a private setting on campus for approximately 1.5 hours. After attending the support group, students will:

  • be able to identify three healthy coping skills.
  • be able to apply at least one healthy coping skill to their life.
  • be able to explain the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships.
  • indicate a decreased sense of isolation.

Please contact the Campus Victim Services coordinator to schedule an intake appointment.

Reporting and Confidentially Disclosing Sexual Violence: Know the Options

William Paterson University encourages survivors of sexual violence and dating/domestic violence to talk to someone about what happened – so survivors can get the support they need. Within WP, a survivor can speak with a knowledgeable employee and the University can respond appropriately. Different employees on campus have different abilities to maintain a survivor’s confidentiality.

  • Some are required to maintain near complete confidentiality; talking to them is sometimes called a “privileged communication.”
  • Other employees may talk to a survivor in confidence, and generally only report to the University that an incident occurred without revealing any personally identifying information. Disclosures to these employees will not trigger a University investigation into an incident against the survivor’s wishes.
  • Thirdly, some employees are required to report all the details of an incident (including the identities of both the survivor and alleged perpetrator) to the Title IX Coordinator. A report to these employees (called “responsible employees”) constitutes a report to the university – and generally obligates the university to investigate the incident and take appropriate steps to address the situation.

The Options

Privileged & Confidential Counselors

  • Professional Counselors
    Professional, licensed counselors who provide mental-health counseling to members of the school community (and including those who act in that role under the supervision of a licensed counselor) are not required to report any information about an incident to the Title IX Coordinator without a survivor’s permission. To speak to a professional counselor, please contact:
    Counseling, Health and Wellness Center
    Overlook South
    Between Matelson and White Hall
    Telephone: (973) 720-2257 or (973)720-2360
    Fax: (973)720-2632

  • Confidential Resources
    The Campus Victim Services coordinator and members of the staff of The Women’s Center can generally talk to a survivor without revealing any personally identifying information about an incident to the university. A survivor can seek assistance and support from these individuals without triggering a university investigation that could reveal the survivor’s identity or that the survivor has disclosed the incident. While maintaining a survivor’s confidentiality, these individuals or their office should report the nature, date, time, and general location of an incident to the Title IX Coordinator. This limited report – which includes no information that would directly or indirectly identify the survivor – helps keep the Title IX Coordinator informed of the general extent and nature of sexual violence on and off campus so the coordinator can track patterns, evaluate the scope of the problem, and formulate appropriate campus-wide responses. Before reporting any information to the Title IX Coordinator, these individuals will consult with the survivor to ensure that no personally identifying details are shared with the Title IX Coordinator. To speak to a confidential advocate, please contact:
    Campus Victim Services Coordinator
    Theresa A. Bivaletz, MSW, LSW
    The Women’s Center, Student Center Room 313
    Office: 973-720-2578
    Fax: 973-720-2077

    A survivor who speaks to a confidential resource must understand that, if the survivor wants to maintain confidentiality, the University will be unable to conduct an investigation into the particular incident or pursue disciplinary action against the alleged perpetrator. Even so, these counselors and advocates will still assist the survivor in receiving other necessary protection and support, such as victim advocacy, academic support or accommodations, disability, health or mental health services, and changes to living, working or course schedules. A survivor who at first requests confidentiality may later decide to file a complaint with the school or report the incident to local law enforcement, and thus have the incident fully investigated. These counselors and advocates will provide the survivor with assistance if the survivor wishes to do so.

    NOTE: If the University determines that the alleged perpetrator(s) pose a serious and immediate threat to the campus community, the Department of Public Safety may be called upon to issue a timely warning to the community. Any such warning should not include any information that identifies the survivor.

Non-Confidential Resources
A “responsible employee” is a university employee who has the duty to report incidents of sexual violence or other student misconduct, or who a student could reasonably believe has this authority or duty.
When a survivor tells a responsible employee about an incident of sexual violence, the survivor has the right to expect the University to take immediate and appropriate steps to investigate what happened and to resolve the matter promptly and equitably.

A responsible employee must report to the Title IX Coordinator all relevant details about the alleged sexual violence shared by the survivor and that the University will need to determine what happened – including the names of the survivor and alleged perpetrator(s), any witnesses, and any other relevant facts, including the date, time and specific location of the alleged incident.

To the extent possible, information reported to a responsible employee will be shared only with people responsible for handling the University’s response to the report. A responsible employee should not share information with law enforcement without the survivor’s consent or unless the survivor has also reported the incident to law enforcement.


*Please note that certain student employees (Resident Assistants, Peer Health Advocates, Peer Leaders, Student Patrol) are required to report incidents of sexual violence to their supervisors who fall into this category of “Non-Confidential Resources” and will be required to report to the Title IX Coordinator.

Title IX
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination in education programs and activities (such as housing, athletics, and employment) at universities that receive federal financial assistance. Sex discrimination includes sexual harassment and sexual violence. Title IX mandates the University to designate a Title IX Coordinator who oversees all Title IX complaints and meets with students as needed. To report an incident of sexual violence, please contact:
Title IX Coordinator
Ugonma Chukwunyere
College Hall, Room 120
Office: 973-720-2389

How to File a Criminal Complaint
If a student reports sexual violence and/or dating violence to the William Paterson University Police Department, the police will conduct an investigation and assist the survivor in filing criminal charges against the alleged perpetrator. If the incident occurred off campus, the University Police can assist the survivor in informing the appropriate municipal police department. University Police can also facilitate the request of a protective restraining order for domestic and dating violence incidents. If you wish to report an incident of sexual violence or dating violence, please contact the University Police at the number below, or go directly to the Campus Police station located on the campus of WPU.
William Paterson University Police Department
Emergencies: 911
Non-Emergencies: 973-720-2300