Frequently Asked Questions
Why would I call the Office of Victim Services?
Here is what we know from serving students for over 22 years. Whether one is the direct victim of a crime, the roommate, the best friend, the boyfriend called immediately after a victimization, or the witness to a crime, there is fallout that needs to be addressed, questions to be answered, decisions to be made, and short- and long-term ongoing needs to be met -- all related to the initial victimization. So, whether you're looking at missed classes or classwork; emergency needs; anticipated disruption that may occur due to involvement in the court process, or you need resources to deal with the fallout, the Office of Victim Services specialists are specifically trained to help.
Is the Office of Victim Services a counseling program?
No. The Office of Victim Services specialists are not part of our Counseling and Substance Abuse Services staff. While counseling is a valuable component in the recovery process for a victim, the focus of the Office of Victim Services is to look at the overall picture of the victim's needs, providing or obtaining information, serving as the liaison so that the student can retain privacy in all campus-related interventions (such as with professors for missed classes), and meeting the distinct needs relating to the crime itself or its impact.
Will the Office of Victim Services specialists help me if I don't want to report to law enforcement?
Absolutely! We realize that not all victims choose to report. In fact, college students are less likely than non-students to report violence committed against them. Only 34% of all serious victimizations are reported (Department of Justice). That leaves 66% who did not file an official police report. We respect that choice. As advocates, our role is to insure that you have information that can help you make choices based on your needs, provide intervention that is discreet and does not identify information you wish to keep private, and offer resources that specifically address your immediate and long-term needs.
What if I am a victim of a crime that occurs off campus, out-of-state, or during spring break? Can I still get help from the Office of Victim Services?
According to Department of Justice reports on college students and crime, most crimes committed against college students occur off campus and that holds true even for those who live on campus. If you become a victim of a crime, no matter where the crime occurs on or off campus, our services are available free of charge to all currently enrolled students. The Office of Victim Services has an established network on the local, state and national levels.
I've heard that the Office of Victim Services only deals with sexual assault. Is that true?
Crimes against college students include robbery, physical assault, identity theft, kidnapping, carjacking, burglary, relationship violence, domestic violence -- the list is as varied as the types of students who become victims and the Office of Victim Services works with them all. The program was started at the College of Charleston because we know that the college-age population, both males and females, are vulnerable to any type of crime.
How can I reach an Office of Victim Services specialist?
For non-emergency assistance call our office at 843.953.2273.
Emergency team response (for an incident that has just occurred) is available by calling 843.724.3600 (pager).
The Office of Victim Services is conveniently located on the second floor (Rooms 202 and 203) within 67 George Street.
Assistance provided by the Office of Victim Services is not intended to replace emergency medical or law enforcement assistance. Life-threatening circumstances should be reported immediately by contacting 911 or appropriate emergency response agencies. On campus dial 843.953.5611, Campus Police.
What our students are saying about our services
"Explanation of rights/options was beneficial. Once professors saw OVS was involved, they didn't ask me questions and understood that was why I missed class sometimes. I didn't want to talk to anyone about this other than OVS."
"Talking with OVS helped me feel comfortable enough to speak with my parents. I wasn't going to tell them. I really needed to do that. Also, OVS helped me deal with faculty without having to release details or invade my privacy."
"OVS provided a link to community resources and worked in partnership with those resources to make sure my daughter got the assistance and attention she needed. You were there to answer our questions and always accessible. As parents of a senior, your work was invaluable in making sure she could graduate on time."
"Everyone needs to be aware of OVS."
"Great office. Don't change a thing."
"Thanks. I appreciate everything you've done. I'm thinking of pursuing a career in victim services after I graduate."