Reporting to Harvard Police

Members of the Harvard community are strongly encouraged to report instances of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking to HUPD, although you may choose not to make a report. On your request, other University officials will assist you in notifying HUPD and/or local police.

When you report an incident to HUPD, you will be provided with immediate physical protection and transportation to a medical facility if necessary. By reporting to HUPD, you are not committing to file charges or to testify in court. Individuals who report that they have experienced dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, whether on or off campus, will be provided with a written explanation of their rights and options as well as resources and services available both at Harvard and in the community. 

If you report an incident to HUPD:

  • HUPD’s Sensitive Crime Unit will be assigned to the case. All members of the Unit have been trained in the investigation of sexual offenses and other sensitive crimes and the impact of the crime on the victim.
  • A uniformed or non-uniformed officer, by request, will respond to you in person to help you obtain medical treatment, assure your safety, and obtain a description of the alleged perpetrator.
  • You will be interviewed. You may specifically request a female officer. A friend or counselor may be with you during the interview. All statements you make may be used during any subsequent legal proceedings. The officer will ask you for the location and time of the incident, a description of the alleged perpetrator, and a description of any injuries.
  • The police may request a medical examination (at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Rape Crisis Intervention Program, if appropriate) to ensure that you have not suffered physical injury and to complete a medical report that can be used in a court proceeding if you decide to press charges.
  • HUPD will maintain your identity in confidence. Although HUPD may circulate a “community advisory” about the incident in cases that present a serious or continuing threat to the Harvard community, HUPD withholds victims’ names as confidential. Every effort will be made to maintain confidentiality and to respect the legitimate privacy concerns of all involved individuals.

Criminal prosecution:

If you have experienced sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking and you want your assailant to be criminally prosecuted, you should notify HUPD immediately for assistance and guidance. Under Massachusetts law (M.G.L. chapter 258B), crime victims are entitled to the protections of the Massachusetts Victim Bill of RightsThe Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance  has created a guide for crime victims.

Do you want to report the incident to the police? While the University encourages reporting incidents of sexual violence to HUPD, the choice belongs to you.