Special Victim Services

Providing Information & Assistance to the Campus

The Department of Public Safety (DPS) is dedicated to assisting in the reduction of incidents of interpersonal violence. We are dedicated to responding to and investigating sexual assaults, domestic/partner violence, and stalking. Our goal is to increase the likelihood that incidents of interpersonal violence are reported to DPS, enhance our response to survivors and hold offenders accountable. Our officers will connect victims and survivors with a variety of campus and local community resources, including safety planning, medical assistance and accommodations for housing, academics, transportation, and work.

Interpersonal Violence
Special Victims Services (SVS) enhances DPS’ response to interpersonal violence crimes which include: sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking. We are trained to respond to and investigate all types of crimes including interpersonal violence crimes.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is defined under Michigan Law as unconsented sexual contact or sexual penetration. See Michigan Law (MCL 750.520 a-f):

  • 750.520a Definitions
  • 750.520b Criminal sexual conduct in the first degree
  • 750.520c Criminal sexual conduct in the second degree
  • 750.520d Criminal sexual conduct in the third degree
  • 750.520e Criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree
  • 750.520f Second Offense Penalty

Evidence Considerations
Sexual assault is a crime and survivors of sexual assault are entitled to have a free sexual assault medical examination and evidence collection kit (within 120 hours of the assault) completed by a trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) with no cost to the survivor. YWCA of Greater Flint, Hurley Medical Center and other area hospitals offer these examinations with no obligation to file a police report. SANE nurses can also provide information and treatment for STDs, pregnancy and other medical needs. The evidence kit will be retained by the site collector for at least one year unless the survivor chooses to file a police report and releases the evidence to the police agency with jurisdiction.

There are many other forms of evidence that DPS may attempt to collect and preserve in a criminal case.

DPS is committed to providing sexual assault survivors with as many options as allowable under the law for reporting, investigating and prosecuting sexual assault crimes. Domestic Violence, juvenile assaults and ongoing public safety concerns are the most common reasons DPS would investigate and proceed with prosecution without survivors consent.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a crime. Michigan Law (MCL 750.81) requires law enforcement agencies with information about a domestic violence incident to respond to, investigate and make an arrest of the offender when probable cause exists to do so. Survivors do not “press charges” under state law the State of Michigan is the complainant.

DPS will assist survivors of domestic violence with filing reports, obtaining medical treatment, safety planning and applying for a Personal Protection Order. We also will provide referrals for other assistance within the community, including advocacy referrals to YWCA of Greater Flint, as well as consideration of accommodations for housing, academics, transportation and work.


Stalking is defined as a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment made against the expressed wishes of another individual, which causes that individual to feel emotional distress including fear, harassment, intimidation or apprehension.

Michigan State Law (MCL 750.411h)
DPS will assist survivors in notifying the suspect to have no further contact with the survivor, applying for a Personal Protection Order and safety planning. DPS refers all survivors of interpersonal crimes to UM-Flint’s Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS), Center for Gender & Sexuality (CGS), and YWCA of Greater Flint for support, counseling and/or advocacy.

For more information about stalking, including resources and prevention strategies, click here.

Reporting Options

If you or someone you know may be a victim of crime, seek help as soon as possible by contacting DPS. DPS takes all reports seriously and completes full investigations by our officers / investigators, who are on duty 24/7. DPS also can assist or connect all students, faculty and staff with resources to apply for a Personal Protection Order to help stop the contacts.

Individuals reporting sexual misconduct or assault, interpersonal violence and stalking have reporting options. Individuals may report to law enforcement, DPS, to both or neither, the individual chooses. Learn more about the university’s non-criminal reporting process here.

Response Resources – Recommended Actions for Survivors

  • Remember you are not to blame for what happened to you, no matter the circumstances.
  • Consider reporting the assault to the police department in the jurisdiction where the event took place. DPS will assist campus members with law enforcement agencies if needed.
  • Know your options. Call an advocate on the YWCA of Greater Flint’s 24-hour crisis line at (810) 238-7233 for immediate support and/or to discuss medical and reporting options.
  • If a sexual assault is, or may be involved, request a free medical examination at the YWCA of Greater Flint, Hurley Medical Center or your local hospital emergency room. This exam will be provided to you at no cost and no charge to insurance without your permission.
  • Tell someone you trust. Domestic/dating violence, sexual assaults and stalkings are an enormous burden to bear alone. Talking to a supportive friend or family member often can be helpful. UM-Flint Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) staff also is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to speak with you and provide you with support. UM-Flint Center for Gender & Sexuality (CGS) has an advocate who can help you navigate the academic, legal, medical, and housing resources available to you as a UM-Flint community member.

Recommended Actions for Supporters of Survivors Following an Assault

  • Let the survivor know right away if you have any mandated responsibility to report the crime so they can make informed decisions about whether and how much information to share with you.
  • Listen to what the survivor is telling you without interruption. Allow the survivor to lead the conversation and share as little or as much as they choose.
  • Believe that the survivor is telling you what they feel happened. Refrain from asking questions that focus on the survivor’s actions, choices, appearance, prior experience, etc. since the assault was the choice of the perpetrator and not the survivor.
  • Support the survivor in whatever way is requested, to the degree you are able. Respect the decisions that the survivor makes, even if you don’t agree with them. Do not take it personally if the survivor does not want your help.
  • Refer and connect the survivor to trained professionals for comprehensive crisis intervention, advocacy, and support.

University Sexual Misconduct Reporting & Resources
Learn more about reporting and resources here:

  • University Reporting and Process
  • Education and Training
  • Faculty and Staff Resources
  • Student Resources
  • Interim Policy on Sexual and Gender-based Misconduct
  • Our Community Matters (resources and information)

Crime Victims’ Rights

The Division of Victim Services (DVS) provides one voice advocating for and responding to all victims of crime in Michigan. DVS funds programs that provide comprehensive services to Michigan crime victims, including compensation for injury, counseling, victim advocacy through prosecutors’ offices and non-profit organizations, victims’ rights services, and victim notification through MI-VINE.

MI-VINE (800) 770-7657
MI-VINE is a free, confidential 24-hour service that provides timely access to offender data for crime victims, their families, and the general public. VINE – which stands for Victim Information and Notification Everyday – allows crime victims to receive notice of the custody status of an offender and provides access to reliable information about criminal cases.

Users can register to be notified of changes in the offender’s status, such as release, transfer, or escape. This service is available 24 hours a day online, over the phone, or by email. Visit MI-VINE to register.

The Division also includes the governor-appointed Michigan Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention and Treatment Board and the Michigan Crime Victim Services Commission. The Board advises the governor and legislature on issues surrounding domestic and sexual violence, child sexual abuse, and stalking, while the Commission oversees crime victim rights and compensation in Michigan.

Access to information in a variety of applicable areas may be obtained by visiting the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Crime Victim Services

  • The Michigan Crime Victim Services Commission (CVSC) is a state agency within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. CVSC is in charge of funding and services for victims of a physical crime.
  • CVSC has four programs that serve and support crime victims including: Compensation, Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (S.A.F.E), Victim Rights and Crime Victim Assistance (VOCA). No state or federal tax dollars are used to support these programs.
  • If you have been physically injured in a violent crime or if you are an organization that helps crime victims, call (517) 373-7373. Victims only may call (877) 251-7373.

Victim Information

  • You may be eligible for crime victims compensation benefits. To apply, fill out an application from the Michigan Crime Victim Services Commission (CVSC).
  • If you would like to be notified of an arrest in your case, or the release of the person arrested or both, you should call DPS and inform them.
  • If you are not notified of an arrest in your case, you may call this same number for the status of the case.
  • You can contact the Genesee County Prosecutor’s Office to obtain information about victims rights.

Crime Victim Services Commission (CVSC) can be reached at (517) 373-7373 (Crime Victims Rights Act, MCL 780.751)

Crime Victim Compensation

The Crime Victims Compensation Act-PA 223 of 1976 (MCL 18.351) created the Michigan Crime Victim Services Commission (CVSC) to provide reimbursement expenses to innocent crime victims who suffer personal injury. Michigan became the 17th state to offer this program. The act was amended six times between 1985 and 1996 to expand basic program eligibility and coverage for victims. Crime Victim Services can provide innocent victims and their families with up to $25,000 in financial assistance for expenses accrued as a result of a violent crime.

Criminal Justice Process Explained

The Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence has prepared a guide to assist with providing a collection of information around the areas of sexual assault, dating/domestic violence and stalking. The below explanations are an excerpt. The complete guide, survivor advocacy, and provider resources may be found here.

Filing a Police Report

With accurate information about the law, and support from friends and family, many survivors choose to report the crime and participate in a criminal case against the perpetrator. It is not an easy process for survivors, but some have found it to be helpful in their journey to healing. If you decide to speak to the police, you can have a friend or advocate present to support you. You may want to write down everything you can remember about the assault and the perpetrator prior to filing a report. This will help you when you meet with a police officer. The police will interview you about what happened. Some questions might seem personal or embarrassing but it is important for the police to get as much information as possible.

After the police report is made, a detective will be assigned to investigate the crime and submit the case to the prosecutor’s office. The decision to prosecute rests with the prosecuting attorney. This decision is based on the evidence that is available to the prosecutor. Sometimes cases are not prosecuted. This is not because the prosecutor is skeptical; it is because it is believed that there is not enough evidence to prove to a jury or a judge that the defendant is guilty.

The Court System

There are two basic types of cases that go to court: criminal and civil.

A criminal case is one in which the State of Michigan is seeking to punish a person who has committed a crime. A crime is an act committed in violation of the law, punishable by imprisonment or fines. In a criminal court case, the prosecuting attorney – acting on behalf of “the people” – brings charges against the individual accused of perpetrating the crime (the defendant). For example, the survivor of a sexual assault is considered a witness to the crime, not a party in the criminal case. Criminal sexual conduct or rape is a criminal offense.

The civil justice system involves any case that is not a criminal prosecution. Civil cases involve one person (the plaintiff), bringing a legal action against another person (the defendant). Divorce, custody, personal protection orders and torts are examples of civil matters. Survivors of sexual assault have successfully sued perpetrators for emotional distress, physical injury costs and other monetary damages.

Your Role in the Criminal Justice Process

You are a witness in the state’s case against the assailant. You will be subpoenaed to testify during the criminal process. The prosecuting attorney will present the case on behalf of the “people of the State of Michigan” and does not represent you specifically. As the victim of a crime, however, you have certain rights. You can contact the prosecuting attorney’s office to find out which prosecutor is working on the case. You can contact the attorney with any questions you have about the criminal case. An advocate at the YWCA of Greater Flint can help you with this and any other aspect of your case or the criminal justice system.

Michigan has several laws that are designed to make participation in the prosecution of the assailant easier for the victim.

  1. The defense attorney cannot bring up your sexual history as evidence in the criminal trial unless there was a previous sexual relationship between you and the assailant, or if there was specific sexual activity that could account for the presence of semen, disease, disfigurement or other injury. In these exceptions, the defense must specifically request access to this evidence and the judge can use discretion in limiting this type of evidence. [MCL 750.520j]. This is known as the rape shield law.
  2. The prosecutor does not need to prove that you resisted. [MCL 750.520i].
  3. Your testimony does not need to be corroborated or supported by other witnesses. [MCL 750.520h].
  4. A law enforcement officer cannot ask or require you to take a polygraph test. [MCL 776.21].
  5. The law does not specify the sexes or limit the relationship of the parties involved. It is possible to bring criminal sexual conduct, domestic/dating violence/stalking charges against a same-sex assailant or an assailant to whom you are or have been married to or involved with in previous consensual sexual activity.

Stages in the Criminal Process

Warrant Request and Authorization: The detective/officer assigned to your case will forward a report to the prosecuting attorney’s office. The prosecutor may want to interview you. Because sexual assault is a crime against the citizens of Michigan, the prosecutor represents the people of the State of Michigan and not you specifically. The prosecutor will make the decision about whether or not to prosecute. If you haven’t heard from the prosecutor, you can call the prosecuting attorney’s office and ask to speak with him/her. If the decision to prosecute is made, there 25 will be an arrest warrant issued or a notice to appear in court for the defendant (perpetrator).

Arraignment in District Court: The district court judge will read the charges and the defendant will be given the opportunity to plead. Bond will be set at this time. Bond is an amount of money that needs to be paid to ensure that the perpetrator will show up for court again. Sometimes no bond or a very high bond is set so that the perpetrator is forced to stay in jail. If the defendant is released, the judge may order conditions of bond. The prosecuting attorney may request a condition of bond that orders the defendant not to come near you or contact you. You can talk with the prosecutor and have him/ her request this type of bond condition, usually referred to as a “no contact condition.” The victim may submit an affidavit (sworn statement) asserting acts or threats of physical violence or intimidation by the defendant against the victim or the victim’s immediate family. The prosecutor may initiate Bond Revocation proceedings. The local police may arrest the perpetrator if he/she violates a protective condition of bond. If you are experiencing harassment, intimidation or threats by the perpetrator, contact the local police and notify the prosecutor assigned to the case.

Preliminary Exam: This is a formal hearing in front of the district court judge. The prosecutor will try to prove that a crime took place, that it took place in your county, and that the perpetrator is a likely suspect. In order for the case to continue, the prosecutor must prove that there is probable cause to believe that the crime took place and the accused committed it. You will be required to testify. At the beginning of your testimony, you will have to look at the perpetrator and identify him/her for the court. The prosecutor and the defendant’s attorney will ask you questions. The case may be dismissed at this point or bound over to circuit court for trial. Sometimes the defendant may waive the right to a preliminary exam and the case will go straight to circuit court.

Plea Bargaining: The prosecutor and the defense attorney may negotiate about the degree and type of the final charge. This is called plea bargaining. The defendant may agree to plead guilty to a lesser charge to avoid a more severe punishment. A plea may be entered to the judge at any time during the court process. The judge does not have to accept the plea, but usually will if the defendant, the defendant’s attorney, and the prosecutor agree. The prosecutor should discuss any pleas with you. If you feel strongly about the plea, speak to the prosecutor and let your opinions be known.

Arraignment in Circuit Court: The charges will be read to the defendant in circuit court. The defendant will be again given the opportunity to plead. If the defendant pleads guilty or no contest, a sentencing date will be set. If the defendant pleads not guilty, a trial date will be set.

Pretrial Conference and Motions: The court may hear motions to determine what evidence will be admitted. The defense attorney and the prosecutor may discuss a plea bargain.

Trial: The prosecutor will try to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. The victim has the right to be present throughout the entire trial of the defendant, unless the victim is going to be called as a witness. If the victim is called as a witness, the court may for good cause, order the victim to be sequestered until the victim first testifies. As the accused, the defendant has the right to stay in the courtroom throughout the entire trial. The trial could take several days to complete. If the defendant is convicted, a sentencing date will be set.

Sentencing: If the defendant is convicted or pleads guilty or no contest, the probation department will make a sentencing recommendation to the judge. You have the right to submit or make a written or oral impact statement to the probation officer for use in preparing the presentence investigation report. [MCL 780.824]. A written statement turned in before the sentencing date will become part of the file. This means that the defense attorney will have access to it and may share it with the perpetrator. If you so choose, you have the right to make your oral statement at the time of the sentencing proceedings (even if you do not complete a written statement).

Your Victim Impact Statement may include but is not limited to the following: nature of any physical, psychological or emotional harm suffered; explanation of any economic loss or property damage; opinion of the need for or extent of restitution; and a recommendation for the defendant’s sentence. [MCL 780.823].

The victim also has the right to make an oral impact statement at sentencing. If you are physically or emotionally unable to make the oral impact statement, you may designate any other person 18 years or older to make the statement on your behalf. The court shall consider the victim’s statement when imposing sentence on the defendant. [MCL 780.825].

Appeal: The defendant has the right to appeal the decision. Upon the victim’s request, the prosecuting attorney shall notify the victim of the following:

That the defendant filed an appeal of his or her conviction or sentence or the prosecuting attorney filed an appeal;

  • Whether the defendant has been ordered released on bail or other recognizance pending the outcome of the appeal within 24 hours of receiving notice;
  • The time and place of appellate court proceedings within 24 hours of notification;
  • The result of the appeal.
  • The prosecuting attorney shall provide the victim with a brief explanation of the appeal process. If the case is returned to trial or a new trial is ordered, the victim has the same rights as previously requested. [MCL.780.828].

Sexual Assault Prevention & Education

The University of Michigan-Flint provides comprehensive prevention and awareness education to all incoming students, staff and faculty on domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. These primary prevention programs include bystander education information, information on consent, applicable state and local laws and campus policies, and risk reduction strategies for individuals and communities.

Prior to arrival on campus, students complete a sexual assault education module, an online educational requirement for all incoming graduate students that addresses relationship violence, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and stalking. The campus sexual assault prevention module is facilited by University Student Affairs. In-person programming is made available annually in September/October to all incoming students.

Training includes:

  • primary prevention information addressing sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking
  • bystander intervention education
  • sexual harassment information, including workplace harassment
  • definition of consent for University of Michigan and relevant information on consent in the state of Michigan
  • State law pertaining to dating and domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking
  • information on risk reduction
  • information on resources available on campus to address these issues
  • information on campus expectations and values

Workshops are offered, and designed, to promote healthy relationships and building students’ skills in communicating about interests, needs, and desires in sexual or intimate relationships. Additionally students, faculty and staff are offered opportunities to participate in a bystander education program that reinforces bystander intervention skills.

Beginning in Fall 2018, first year and transfer students began to receive a peer-delivered, interactive sexual violence prevention (including bystander education) workshop in the first semester on campus. This workshop is designed to promote healthy relationships and building students’ skills in communicating about interests, needs and desires in sexual or intimate relationships.

A new online module for faculty and staff provides information about maintaining a respectful, inclusive and equitable working and learning environment free from sexual harassment and misconduct. “Cultivating a Culture of Respect: Sexual Harassment & Misconduct Awareness” is mandatory for all UM-Flint employees.

Ongoing Education & Awareness Programs

Throughout the year, the UM-Flint’s Center for Gender & Sexuality (CGS) professional staff make available and provide culturally relevant professional training and educational and awareness programming to faculty, professional staff, and student staff, and students on a variety of issues related to sexual assault, intimate partner violence, sexual harassment, and stalking. CGS’s volunteer groups and professional staff deliver a wide range of culturally relevant educational programming and skills-training workshops for the entire campus community. Programming and workshops available includes, in part, Bystander Intervention Education, Sexual Violence Certificate Program, Leadership and Healthy Masculinity Certificate Program, Peer Education Series, Women Crush Wednesdays, Queer Thursdays, The Clothesline Project, Family Fun Events, etc.

The Institutional Equity Speciality may provide ongoing training and education to University of Michigan faculty, professional staff and students on issues related to sexual misconduct and stalking, and staff reporting responsibilities.