National Sex Assault Hotline:
The You Have Options Program works with law enforcement agencies to ensure they are meeting the highest standards in response to sexual violence so that people in their communities feel confident when reporting to them. Once a law enforcement agency become YHOP certified, they become a YHOP agency.
The goal for all You Have Options agencies is to create an environment where victims of sexual assault are in complete control and able to share their experience without fear or pressure. Understanding that each person has unique needs and barriers when reporting to law enforcement, YHOP agencies acknowledge that justice is not the same for everyone.
You may speak with an officer about these options prior to giving any incident information. You can report online, over the phone or in-person. Each You Have Options agency has additional information about reporting options on their agency-specific page. See our directory of participating agencies.
Any report of sexual assault where, at the reporting party’s request, no investigative process beyond a victim interview and/or a complete or partial Inquiry into Serial Sexual Assault (ISSA) is completed.
You may provide law enforcement with as much or as little information as you would like in an information only report. This option allows a reporting party to give law enforcement information without moving into investigative steps. Law enforcement will document the information and provide the reporting party with a case number. You can add information at any time or allow additional investigative steps to be taken at a later date.
Any report of sexual assault where some investigative processes beyond the victim interview and a complete or partial Inquiry into Serial Sexual Assault (ISSA), have been initiated by law enforcement. This may include, but is not limited to, interviewing of witnesses and collection of evidence such as a sexual assault forensic examination (SAFE) kit.
Any report of a sexual assault where all investigative procedures necessary to determine if probable cause exists for a criminal offense have been initiated and completed.
A victim of sexual assault is offered three options for reporting: Information Only, Partial Investigation and Complete Investigation.
A victim or other reporting party may remain anonymous and still have the information they provide documented by a law enforcement agency.
A victim or other reporting party may have questions answered regarding their options for reporting and/or a criminal investigation prior to providing any identifying or incident information to law enforcement.
A clear explanation of the reporting process and/or investigative procedures will be provided by a law enforcement officer if requested by the victim.
When making a report there is no requirement to meet in person with a law enforcement officer. For example, a victim or other reporting party may report using an online form or a victim may choose to have a sexual assault advocate report on their behalf.
Reasonable efforts will be made to allow the victim or other reporting party control over the location, time and date where their initial report is made to law enforcement.
A victim or other reporting party may provide as much, or as little, information as they choose with no time limitations or restrictions on when the information is given to law enforcement. For example, information obtained on an incident outside the current statute of limitations will be documented and used as the law allows to assist in other investigations.
Law enforcement officers will offer assistance in locating sexual assault advocacy services to every person reporting.
A victim may be accompanied by a sexual assault advocate or other appropriate support person during all phases of the reporting process and criminal investigation.
A victim, or other reporting party, may end an interview with law enforcement at any time without having to provide a reason.
After making a report, a victim or other reporting party will not be pressured to participate in a criminal investigation.
Reasonable efforts will be made to meet the needs of the victim and address any barriers the victim faces in providing information to law enforcement during the reporting process.
Law enforcement officers will conduct victim interviews in a trauma-informed manner.
Reasonable efforts will be made to meet the needs of the victim and address any barriers the victim faces when participating in a sexual assault investigation.
A victim’s right to keep their assault confidential will be respected. If legally permissible, no person (outside of a law enforcement agency) will be notified the victim has reported without the victim’s consent. This includes the interviewing of identified witnesses and perpetrators.
Investigators will utilize strategies to identify and document serial sexual perpetration, such as the Inquiry into Serial Sexual Assault (ISSA).
Investigators will collaborate with victims during the investigative process and respect a victim’s right to request certain investigative steps not be conducted. Criminal investigations will be conducted at a pace set by the victim, not the law enforcement officer. Victims will be informed that no case can proceed to arrest or referral to an office of prosecution until the investigative process is complete.
A victim may disengage from a criminal investigation at any time prior to an arrest being made or the case being referred to an office of prosecution. There is no requirement that an explanation be given by the victim to law enforcement.
If legally permissible and probable cause exists for a crime, no arrest or referral to an office of prosecution will occur without the consent of the victim. All You Have Options Law Enforcement Agencies respect the choice of every victim who reports a sexual assault, and understand that justice is not the same for every person who is victimized.
Criminal investigations that do not result in arrest or referral to an office of prosecution will be classified as “inactive” unless found baseless or false, allowing for the investigation to be re-opened in the future at a victim’s request and/or if additional information is discovered.
The 20 Elements help all stakeholders in the reporting process to maintain a consistent victim-centric approach.<br><br>The You Have Options Program believes in providing victims of sexual assault with as much control over their report and any subsequent criminal investigation as the law allows. Unless legally mandated as with certain instances of domestic violence, or in other rare circumstances such as a significant threat to public safety, the 20 Elements of a You Have Options Law Enforcement Response shall be offered during every sexual assault report and/or investigation.
YHOP is continually updated and reviewed by a core group of nationally recognized experts in the field of sexual assault response. YHOP provides participating agencies with access to the most current bestpractices focused specifically on identifying innovative ways for victims to collaborate with law enforcement and the criminal justice system investigations provide this ongoing support.
You will not be pressured to participate in a criminal investigation.
Report and remain ANONYMOUS.
Report WITHOUT BEING PRESSURED.
Have ALL YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED before giving any personal information.
Report and then CHANGE YOUR MIND.
Report and have evidence collected REGARDLESS OF YOUR DECISION TO PROCEED with an investigation.
Request an ADVOCATE CALL YOU FIRST instead of a police officer.
Report with a support person of YOUR CHOICE by your side.
Report EVEN IF YOUR ASSAULT HAPPENED A LONG TIME AGO and you believe it may not be able to be prosecuted.
Have another person report FOR YOU.
Request that law enforcement do nothing other than DOCUMENT WHAT YOU REPORTED.
Report and be interviewed in a trauma-informed manner by TRAINED PERSONNEL.
Report to law enforcement who understand EACH PERSON'S SITUATION IS UNIQUE and will work with you to address concerns.
Request that witnesses NOT BE INTERVIEWED.
Request that law enforcement NOT CONTACT THE PERSON who assaulted you.
Report and BE INCLUDED in decisions about the investigation.
Report and BE KEPT INFORMED about the investigation.
Stay in control.
Have a sexual assault advocate report for you.
Sexual offenders rely on keeping their victims silent to avoid being held accountable for their crimes. Every time a victim shares their experience and allows law enforcement to document a normally hidden part of that offender, an important step is taken in efforts show who these predators really are. If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, YOU HAVE OPTIONS when reporting to law enforcement.