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Getting Help

Calling the police

If you decide that you want to hold an individual accountable for committing a crime against you, it is imperative that you contact a Police Department to file a police report. In addition, it is also essential that you preserve any evidence which could assist in the prosecution of the defendant. The more evidence provided to the police, the more likely the district attorney’s office will be able to hold the defendant accountable for his or her behavior. Once you make contact with the police department, an officer will contact the Vanderbilt University Victim Services Coordinator, who will act as a liaison between you, the victim, and any legal, medical, or counseling services you wish to utilize during the course of your recovery from being victimized.

Police response

Typically the Vanderbilt University Police Department will send one or two officers in response to your call. The police officer or officers will request information from you to complete a police report. They may also gather various types of evidence (i.e. clothes, a weapon, etc.), and assist you in getting the medical and emotional support services that you may need.

Unsure about reporting

If you are unsure about reporting an incident to the police, it may be beneficial for you to discuss your concerns with the Victim Services Coordinator. You also have the option of calling a crisis hotline, which provides you with complete anonymity. A crisis hotline counselor can provide you with information and support, which may help you to decide to file a police report. A crisis hotline counselor is also able to provide you with further victim services resources. Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) is a national victim services organization. RAINN provides persons with a national hotline that provides victims with crisis counselors who can be reached at 1-800-656-HOPE.

Reasons for reporting

There are a variety of reasons that you should consider reporting a crime that has been committed against you. Reasons for reporting include the following: to regain your sense of personal power and control, to document the crime that was committed against you, to preserve evidence of the crime, and to protect others from being victims of the same crime.

Having someone accompany you

Once you decide to file a police report, please know that you do not have to do so alone. With the help of a family member, a friend, or the Vanderbilt University Victim Services Coordinator, you can receive the emotional support you need in order to remain in control of your personal power when reporting a crime that has been committed against you.

Making a delayed report

Many victims of crime do not immediately report the incident. It is important to remember that making a delayed report is better than not making a report at all. However, the longer you wait to file a formal report with the Vanderbilt University Police Department, the harder it may become for the district attorney’s office to prosecute your case.

Remembering more details

If you remember more details after you make the initial police report, you can contact the Vanderbilt University Police Department to provide them with the additional information.

Filing a police report with another agency

Should you file a police report with another agency, you are still entitled to seek the assistance of the Vanderbilt University Victim Services Coordinator.