Sexual Violence Response and Prevention

Florida Coastal School of Law (“Coastal Law”) is invested in creating a safe and positive environment for all community members. This includes the promotion of healthy relationships and sexual behavior. As an institution, Coastal Law prohibits the offenses of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, rape, and acquaintance rape. The school is committed to providing continuing education in the form of primary prevention and ongoing awareness for our community, in addition to support for victims.

In support of, and in compliance with, Title IX, the Violence against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA), and the Campus Sexual Violence Act (Campus SaVE), Coastal Law provides the following information for our campus community:

Definitions in the State of Florida

Consent: “Consent” means intelligent, knowing, and voluntary consent and does not include coerced submission. “Consent” shall not be deemed or construed to mean the failure by the alleged victim to offer physical resistance to the offender.

Dating Violence: “Dating violence” means violence between individuals who have or have had a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the consideration of the following factors:

  1. A dating relationship must have existed within the past 6 months;
  2. The nature of the relationship must have been characterized by the expectation of affection or sexual involvement between the parties; and
  3. The frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship must have included that the persons have been involved over time and on a continuous basis during the course of the relationship.

Domestic Violence: “Domestic violence” means any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.

Rape, Sexual Assault, and Sexual Battery: These terms are interchangeable in the state of Florida, although Florida statute references the term as “sexual battery”. This means oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object; however, sexual battery does not include an act done for a bona fide medical purpose. Sexual battery includes, but is not limited to, gang rape, acquaintance rape, date rape, marital rape, and rape by a stranger.  

Stalking: A person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person

Bystander Intervention

Together, we can work to change the pattern of sexual and dating violence. Being a bystander or witness to a potential sexual assault is a challenging situation. By stepping in or taking action, bystanders have the opportunity to change the course of events. Here are some tips for bystander intervention:

  • Be alert: Use your instinct to decide when a situation might not be right.
  • Safety: Assess if you are able to keep yourself safe by intervening in a situation
  • Offer help: It’s ok if you are turned down, but simply offering help can change the dynamics of a situation.
  • De-escalate: Remain calm and respectful and attempt to divert the situation. Avoid anger or aggression which can cause a situation to escalate
  • Separation: Try to create a diversion or suggest an alternative for the involved individuals
  • Get help: Call the police or others if you feel the situation needs assistance.

Signs of a Healthy Relationship

  • Speaking Up. In a healthy relationship, if something is bothering you, you can talk about it instead of holding it in.
  • Respecting Your Partner. Your partner's wishes and feelings have value. Let your significant other know you are making an effort to keep their ideas in mind. Mutual respect is essential in maintaining healthy relationships.
  • Compromising. Disagreements are a natural part of healthy relationships, but it’s important that you find a way to compromise if you disagree on something. Try to solve conflicts in a fair and rational way.
  • Being Supportive. Offer reassurance and encouragement to your partner. Also, let your partner know when you need their support. Healthy relationships are about building each other up, not putting each other down.
  • Respecting Each Other’s Privacy. Just because you’re in a relationship, doesn’t mean you have to share everything and constantly be together. Healthy relationships require space for you to be able to:
      • Go out with your friends without your partner.
      • Participate in activities and hobbies you like.
      • Not have to share passwords to your email, social media accounts or phone.
      • Respect each other’s individual likes and needs.
 Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship
    • Controlling behavior (yelling, shouting, throwing, smashing, intimidating, minimizing, denying and blaming)
    • Making light of the abuse and not taking your concerns about it seriously
    • Continually criticizing you or calling you names, using gestures, looks or actions to intimidate
    • Emotionally degrading you in private, but acting charming in public
    • Humiliating you in private or public
    • Withholding approval, appreciation, or affection as punishment
    • Attempting to convince you that no one will believe you are being abused
    • Intense jealousy of friends, family, or other outside social contact
    • Threatening to leave or to harm children, pets or other loved ones
    • Interrogating you about time spent apart from the relationship
    • Feeling threatened and intensifying the abuse if you begin to move toward autonomy or independence, e.g., getting a better job, going back to school, making new friends, seeking counseling
    • Demanding or coercing sex when you are not interested
    • Financial control, borrowing money without repaying it, or taking things without asking and not returning them
    • Physical abuse or the threat of physical harm

Avoiding Potential Attacks

  1. Recognize when a situation presents as potentially unsafe
  2. Remove yourself from the situation if possible
  3. Get help and/or notify authorities

Procedures for Victims

  • Victims should seek medical attention immediately by proceeding to the nearest hospital. A rape kit should be completed at your local hospital.
  • Victims are reminded of the importance of preserving evidence as it may be necessary to support the investigations of law enforcement or to obtain a protective order. This may include clothing, as it could be used as evidence for prosecution. Place each item of clothing in a separate paper bag for police. Refrain from activities such as washing, bathing or douching until an exam is completed.
  • Victims are able to report alleged offenses to local law enforcement, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
  • Alleged offenses can be reported to the Office of Student Affairs or the Coastal Law Security Office. Victims are able to be assisted by the Office of Student Affairs in notifying law enforcement, providing guidance in seeking medical attention, or other support as needed.
  • Victims also have the right to decline to notify authorities.
  • Coastal Law will work with victims to enforce orders of protection or other similar lawful orders to the extent possible.
  • A victim’s name and identifying information will be withheld from the public and press in accordance with the Florida Public Records Law.

Coastal Law Response to Sexual Violence

  • As stated previously, Coastal Law prohibits any type of sexual violence by and against members of the school community. Any student behavior that involves sexual violence (sexual battery, sexual assault, rape), domestic violence, dating violence or stalking of another person will not be tolerated. Each of these acts is a violation of the school’s Student Code of Conduct and may result in sanctions up to and including expulsion. 
  • To file a complaint against a student for alleged sexual violence, a victim should meet with the Associate Dean of Student Affairs or designee soon after the alleged offense. After gaining the victim’s report, the dean will initiate an investigation as the first step in addressing the complaint.
  • Specialized procedures for the investigation and hearing of cases of alleged sexual violence will be followed, as indicated in the Student Code of Conduct.
  • The Office of Student Affairs will work with other departments to provide assistance to student victims in any necessary changes to academic or school-related work situations and schedules. In addition, the Office of Student Affairs will provide advice and support for student victims regarding living situations, as needed. Likewise, the Office of Human Resources will provide assistance to victims who are employees regarding work situations and schedules.

Coastal Law Title IX Coordinator

Thomas E. Taggart
Associate Dean for Student Affairs
Deans’ Suite – 3rd Floor

Coastal Law’s Title IX Coordinator is responsible for overseeing the school’s response to Title IX reports and complaints of sexual discrimination and harassment.  As such, all complaints of sexual discrimination or harassment should be immediately reported to the Title IX Coordinator.

Support for Victims and Education on Relationships and Sexual Violence

Coastal Law Office of Student Affairs
Deans’ Suite – 3rd Floor

Coastal Law Counseling and Wellness Center
Room 527 - 5th Floor

National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

Women’s Center of Jacksonville and Rape Recovery Team
5644 Colcord Avenue, Jacksonville, Florida 32211
904.722.3000 | Rape Crisis Hotline: 904.721.7273

Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Victim Services Coordinator
Police Memorial Building
501 E. Bay Street, Jacksonville, FL 32202
(904) 630-1764

Florida Council Against Sexual Violence

RAINN – Rape Abuse & Incest National Network

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