Domestic Violence Policy

Statement of Purpose

Immaculata University is committed to creating and maintaining an educational, working, and living environment for all members of the campus community.  Immaculata is also committed to supporting any administrator, faculty member, student, staff or visitor who believes that he or she has experienced an incident of domestic violence through the appropriate provision of safety and support services.  Immaculata will respond to all reports in an integrated, consistent manner that treats each individual with dignity and respect and will take prompt responsive action to end the misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects.

Administrators, students, faculty members and staff are protected under this policy in connection with all the University’s administrative, academic, educational, extracurricular, athletic, and other programs whether those programs take place on campus or elsewhere.  In responding to off-campus events, the University will consider the effects of the off-campus conduct on an individual’s working, educational and living experience.

Definition of Domestic Violence (23 Pa.C.S. § 6102):

Domestic violence is a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by a current or former spouse of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic violence or family violence laws of Pennsylvania, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of Pennsylvania.

“Domestic violence” is currently not specifically defined by Pennsylvania law.  However, Pennsylvania law defines “Abuse” as “[t]he occurrence of one or more of the following acts between family or household members, sexual or intimate partners or persons who share biological parenthood:

1. Attempting to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury, serious bodily injury, rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, statutory sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault or incest with or without a deadly weapon.

2. Placing another in reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily injury.

3. The infliction of false imprisonment pursuant to 18 Pa. C.S. Sec. 2903 (relating to false imprisonment).

4. Physically or sexually abusing minor children, including such terms as defined in Chapter 63 (relating to child protective services).

5. Knowingly engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts toward another person, including following the person, without proper authority, under circumstances which place the person in reasonable fear of bodily injury.  The definition of this paragraph applies only to proceedings commenced under this title and is inapplicable to any criminal prosecutions commenced under Title 18 (relating to crimes and offenses).

“Adult.”  –An individual who is 18 years of age or older.

“Family or household members.”  –Spouses or persons who have been spouses, persons living as spouses or who lived as spouses, parents and children, other persons related by consanguinity or affinity, current or former sexual or intimate partners or persons who share biological parenthood.

“Minor.”  –An individual who is not an adult.

“Victim.”  –A person who is physically or sexually abused by a family or household member.  For purposes of section 6116 (relating to confidentiality), a victim is a person against whom abuse is committed who consults a domestic violence counselor or advocate for the purpose of securing advice, counseling or assistance.  The term shall also include persons who have a significant relationship with the victim and who seek advice, counseling or assistance from a domestic violence counselor or advocate regarding abuse of the victim.

Prohibition of Retaliation

The University will not engage in or tolerate retaliation against an individual who makes a report of domestic violence, serves as a witness, or provides information concerning an act of domestic violence.  Retaliation is a serious violation of this policy.  Any acts of retaliation or threatened retaliation should be reported immediately to the Department of Campus Safety and Protection, the Dean of Students, or the Director of Human Resources.  Any person found to have retaliated against another individual in violation of this policy will be subject to appropriate sanctions.  Individuals, who believe they have been subject to any acts of retaliation or threatened retaliation, should promptly report the same pursuant to the complaint procedure outlined in this policy.


Any administrator, faculty member, staff, or student who experiences or sees another member of the Immaculata community experiencing domestic violence and/or retaliation should report the behavior to a member of the Campus Safety and Protection Department, the Dean of Students or the Director of Human Resources.  If safety is an immediate concern, contact Campus Safety and Protection or the local police department for assistance.

Interim Protections

The University will take interim measures as necessary to prevent the complainant from being subjected to discrimination or harassment during the investigative and complaint process.  The University will take steps to ensure that any interim measures taken do not adversely affect the complainant and will provide written notice to a complainant of such options.  By way of example only, such changes may include, but are not limited to arranging for excused absences, extended periods of time to make up examinations, tutoring or changes in class schedule, placing the respondent on leave, make alternative living arrangements, or authorize other types of temporary measures to ensure the safety and well-being of the complainant and the campus community while the investigation and complaint process is pending, including but not limited to “no contact orders”.


The University provides support to victims of domestic violence through on and off-campus resources.  Caring professionals are available to discuss the individual’s options and to offer support, compassion and practical assistance.

Be aware of On-Campus Resources that can assist you:

  • IU Counseling Services, Bruder Center, 610 647-4400 ext 3478 or ext. 3506 (After 4:30 PM please contact IU Campus Safety and Protection and they will contact the on-call counselor for you)
  • IU Campus Safety and Protection ext. 5555 (on campus) or 610 854-2451 (24 hours, off campus)
  • IU Residence Life and Housing ext. 3130 (After 4:30 PM please contact IU Campus Safety and Protection and they will contact the on-call professional for you.)
  • IU Student Health Services ext. 3500 (After 4:30 PM please contact IU Campus Safety and Protection and they will contact a member of the Student Health Services staff for you)
  • Others on campus student feel comfortable with

Additionally, be aware of Off-Campus Resources that can assist you:

  • Crime Victim’s Center of Chester County (24-hour hotline) 610 692-7273.   Counselors on a hotline are specifically trained to help assault victims and to offer confidential support and information about legal, medical, and mental health resources.


In cases involving potential criminal conduct, the University will determine, consistent with state and local law, whether the appropriate law enforcement agency should be notified.  A complainant has the option to file a formal criminal complaint with the appropriate law enforcement agency, to pursue the University’s internal complaint process or to pursue both processes simultaneously.  If the complainant wishes, the University will provide assistance to the complainant in going to the law enforcement authorities.   The University will proceed with its own internal investigation even while law enforcement personnel are conducting their investigation.  The University may delay its investigation if directed by law enforcement based on the belief that the University’s investigation may impede the criminal investigation.

Disciplinary Proceedings and Sanctions

Any student, administrator, faculty member, or staff who, after appropriate investigation, has been found to have engaged in domestic violence consistent with this Policy (even if not unlawful) will be subject to appropriate disciplinary and/or corrective action, as defined in the Immaculata University Policy Manual Volume VI for students, Volume IV for faculty, Volume III for employees.  Sanctions include but are not limited to expulsion from the University or dismissal from employment.

Prevention and Awareness

Immaculata University is committed to the prevention of domestic violence through a variety of educational programs and awareness activities.  These include:

  1. Programming presented as part of New Student Orientation, Respect Week (during Dating and Domestic Violence Awareness Month) and Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
  2. Workshops and mandatory online education courses concerning sexual violence prevention, date rape, sexual assault, and bystander intervention.
  3. Educational material disseminated throughout campus regarding dating safety, emotional abuse, sexual violence, and date rape drugs.

Active Bystander

Active Bystanders play a critical role in the prevention of sexual violence and other sexual offenses.  These are individuals who observe violence or conditions that may perpetuate violence and follow the appropriate reporting procedures, such as, calling 911, informing campus safety and protection and/or University officials.  It is understandable that in many circumstances, the active bystander may be uncomfortable intervening or communicating concerns; however, conveying potential risks to individuals or the college community will help the University maintain a safe environment.  As a support to employees, the Office of the Dean of Students provides information on the role of active bystanders.  The RAINN website has other important information on the role bystanders can play in preventing and responding to acts of sexual violence.

Title IX Reporting

As stated in the University’s Notice of Non-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity, the University complies with Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972.  Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity.  Sexual harassment, which includes sexual assault and other sexual misconduct, is a form of sex discrimination.  The University’s commitment to prohibiting sex discrimination, sex-based harassment, and sexual assault/violence is set forth in a separate policy, Title IX Policy in Volume II of the University Policy Manual.  If a member of the University community feels that he/she has been the victim of sex discrimination, sex-based harassment, or sexual assault/violence, such individual should also report such incident to the University’s designated Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Coordinator.

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