What Are My Options?
If you are the victim of a crime, you have the option to report it to law enforcement. The information below outlines what will happen if you report the crime to law enforcment or if you don't, and some suggestions if you are not sure if you'd like to report or not.
I want to report.
When you report to law enforcement, a patrol officer will likely be the first point of contact. They will take general information about the incident and then forward the information to the Investigations team. The detectives and the Crime Victim Services Coordinator will then sit down with you, likely at another time, to discuss the incident in more detail as well as your options and rights. An investigation will then take place, which can include evidence collection, interviews with witnesses and an interview with the suspect. In most cases, you have the option to decide if you want the detectives to do a full investigation or if you want more time to think about what you want to do. You also have the option after an investigation is done to decide if you want to prosecute. The sooner evidence is collected and interviews are done, the better for future prosecution.
Once an investigation is completed, the investigators will present their case file to the Prosecutor's office. It is ultimately up to the prosecutor's office if charges are filed. The prosecutor must consider whether the case meets legal standards. In Ohio, the prosecutor will put the case before the Grand Jury to decide if and what charges can be filed. If a case goes to the Grand Jury, the victim and investigator will testify. This is different than a trial in that it is closed to everyone except the prosecutor, Grand Jury members and the person testifying. Sometimes even when the prosecutor believes a crime was committed, charges cannot be filed due to legal issues. This does not mean that something traumatic did not happen, only that the case can't move forward through the criminal justice system.
If the Grand Jury decides that charges can be filed, the next step is issuing a warrant for the arrest of the offender. Once the offender has been arrested, the criminal justice process starts. There will be an arraignment to determine bond and then pre-trials to prepare the attorneys for trial. This can be a long process and confusing to many. The Crime Victim Services Coordinator is always available to answer any questions you may have as well as notifying you of court dates and transporting and accompanying you to any court dates and meetings you need to attend.
I do not want to report.
If you do not want to make a police report, you still have options. As a student, staff or faculty of the University of Cincinnati, you can make a report to the Title IX office. Go here to see how that process works.
Although it is helpful for evidence collection, you do not have to make a police report right away. When you are ready to report, you can contact UC Police at 513-556-1111 or the Crime Victim Services Coordinator at 513-556-4905.
I don't know.
If you are unsure of what you want to do next, it may help to speak to someone about your rights and options before making a decision.
No matter if you decide to report or not report, or to proceed with prosecution or not, it is often helpful to speak to a counselor or some other confidential support resource who can help you navigate through the trauma that you have experienced.