Survivor Rights

Your rights as a survivor

The right to recovery

Healing and recovery after an experience of sexual violence is a process, and it looks different for everyone, but healing is possible. There is no timeline for recovery, it may take weeks, months, or even years, and the journey of healing has its ups and downs. You have the right to feel your feelings and express yourself.

You have the right to be believed and to receive support services like therapy, advocacy, crisis intervention, and safety planning. You have the right to trauma-informed care. You have the right to ask for help.

The right to Choose

You have the right to choose who, how, and when you wish to disclose your experience.

You have the right to choose whether or not you want to report, how you want to report, and how you want to be involved in the reporting process. Reporting is a personal decision, and it is completely up to you.

It is important to note, most university employees are required to report instances of relationship violence and sexual misconduct (RVSM) to law enforcement and/or the MSU Office of Institutional Equity. Michigan mandated reporter laws require reporting of any abuse or neglect of a child. Staff at the Center for Survivors and MSU Safe Place are considered confidential and exempt from MSU reporting requirements. You can learn more about other confidential resources at Information about Mandatory Reporters.

Sources: MSU Office of Civil Rights & Office of Institutional Equity & OIE Information for Mandated Reporters

Crime Victim Rights

The right to a sexual assault medical forensic exam

  • You have the right to a free sexual assault medical forensic exam within 5 days of the sexual assault. The exam will address your healthcare needs and collect evidence. You have this right regardless of whether you choose to file a police report.
  • You have specific rights in regards to the Sexual Assault Kit (SAK) which contains all of the sexual assault evidence collected during the examination. These rights include:
    • The right to choose whether to release your kit to law enforcement and make a police report immediately, or for your evidence kit to be stored at the healthcare facility for at least one year.
    • If you choose to release your kit to the police, you have the right to forensic testing of the Sexual Assault Kit and the right to know the results of that testing. You can track your kit status by logging into Track-Kit

Sources: MDHHS Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention and Treatment Board Sexual Assault Victim Handbook and State of Michigan Voices4 Website & Michigan Track-Kit

Learn more about Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Exams (PDF)

Your rights in the criminal justice process

The Michigan Constitution and the Crime Victim Rights Act grant victims of a crime the following rights within the criminal justice process. You have the right to:

  • Be treated with fairness and respect for your dignity and privacy
  • Be informed of the steps in the criminal justice process and explanation of court procedures
  • Timely disposition of the case following the arrest of the perpetrator
  • Reasonable protection from the perpetrator throughout the criminal justice process
  • Information about the status of the case, including:
    • Notification of the perpetrator’s arrest and release, and conditions of release
    • Notification of whether the case has been submitted to the prosecutor’s office for review, and whether it has been closed, and the reason for closure
    • Information about the conviction, sentence, imprisonment, and release of the perpetrator
    • Information on the appeals process, and any appellate decision
  • Consult with the Prosecuting Attorney about the disposition of the case
  • Attend all court proceedings and provide impact statements to the court at various stages
  • Restitution and/or Crime Victim’s Compensation. Learn more at gov/crimevictims
  • Be free from threats or acts of discharge from your employer because you are subpoenaed or requested by the prosecuting attorney to testify in court
  • To apply for a Personal Protection Order (PPO), regardless of whether you choose to report to the police or the outcome of the case

Sources:  Michigan Department of the Attorney General & Crime Victim Rights Benchbook


Title IX Rights at Michigan State University

As a member of the MSU community, you have rights under the federal Title IX law and the MSU policy on Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct (RVSM) & Title IX  Under this policy, you have the following rights:

  • The right to an education and/or workplace at MSU that is free from relationship violence or sexual misconduct (including sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, or any other non-consensual sexual contact)
  • The right to an impartial, fair, and unbiased investigation by the MSU Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) into allegations of violations of the RVSM and Title IX policy
  • The right to agree or to decline to participate in the OIE investigation
  • The right to interim or protective measures to protect you and facilitate your continued access to university employment and/or educational programs and activities
  • The right to be protected against retaliation for participating or cooperating with the OIE investigation

Sources: MSU RVSM & Title IX Policy & Interim & Protective Measures 


Client Rights at the MSU Center for Survivors

When you receive therapy, Advocacy, crisis support, or any other supportive services from the MSU Center for Survivors, you have the following rights as a client.

The right to Respect and Safety

  • The right to be treated with dignity and respect and to be protected from embarrassment or invasion of privacy.
  • The right to information regarding the scope and availability of services. This includes information on services, hours of access, provisions for after hour resources, and emergency services.
  • The right to be free from discrimination in regards to race, gender, age, disability, socio-economic class, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, or martial status, and you have the right to receive unbiased services that respect your personal convictions and cultural beliefs.
  • The right for services to be provided in a clean, safe, affirming environment free from any type of abuse.

The right to Confidentiality and Privacy

  • The right to confidentiality. Any information pertaining to you will be held in strict confidence. No identifying information will be shared without your informed consent.
  • The right to refuse or prevent any verbal or written disclosure to a third party related to your case, except when this disclosure is required by law or when life is in danger.

The Right to High Quality services

  • The right to receive services from highly trained, competent staff and the right to ask questions about the staff person’s qualifications, training, and experience.
  • The right to information on available services offered at the Center for Survivors, to choose which services you would like to receive, and to participate in any decision-making regarding your treatment and support options to address your needs.
  • The right to request to transfer to work with a different provider within the Center for Survivors.

Quality Assurance

You are encouraged to express your compliments or make a complaint about the MSU Center for Survivors in one or more of the following ways:

  1. Notifying any MSU Center for Survivors staff member of your compliment or concern either verbally or in written format.
  2. Contacting the Center for Survivors Director, Tana Fedewa ( with feedback or a complaint. If you are unhappy with the response from Tana Fedewa, you can contact the Director of Student Health and Wellness, Dr. David Weismantel at: (
  3. Completing a feedback survey.