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If you have experienced sexual violence by a fellow student (classmate), teacher, coach, administrator, or any other school employee, you have several  legal and medical  options as well as actions you can take through your school district. This pages focus on actions you can take through your school.

What is sexual violence?

Sexual violence is any sexual act or experience committed against someone without that person's freely given consent. Sexual violence includes but is not limited to rape, sexual assault, stalking, harassment, sexual exploitation, incest, etc. 

  • Consent for sexual activity cannot be given by a person under the age of 13.
  • Individuals under the age of 18 cannot give consent to caretakers. Caretakers include individuals that support, help or watch over you like parents, babysitters, and teachers.
  • If you are age 14 or 15, you can only give consent to non-caretakers within 4 years of your age.
  • Individuals age 16 or older can give consent to any non-caretaker of any age. 
  • Regardless of age, any sexual act or experience without consent is sexual violence 

If you are unsure what it means to be a victim of sexual violence, or do not know if you are, more information can be found here. We also have a 24/7 support/crisis line at 319.335.6000 if you would like to talk to an advocate directly. 

Talk with an RVAP advocate or someone you trust

RVAP serves people of all ages, including K-12 students, children and teens. If you are a survivor of any kind of sexual violence, you can reach out to RVAP advocates. RVAP services are free and confidential, meaning we cannot speak with parents, friends, your school etc. unless you want us to. RVAP advocates can discuss options with you, listen to you and/or help you, with your permission, request accommodations for your classes as well as your safety concerns and assist you if you decide to report to your school what happened to you.

You can also tell any other teacher, coach, or administrator at your school that you trust. However, in Iowa, teachers, coaches, and administrators are mandatory reporters and may have to contact a designated administrator, law enforcement, child services, or your parents or guardians. You can also contact law enforcement or child services directly.

Get help with grades and safety

If you are feeling unsafe on school property or are having trouble with your classes, your may be able to get help through your school. If you tell someone at your school, that person may have to contact a designated administrator, law enforcement, child services, your parents or guardians or the perpetrator. RVAP can also help but we do not contact anyone unless you want us to. 

If the perpetrator (who did this to you) is a fellow student or what happened to you occurred on school property

If you experience sexual violence by a fellow student or by anyone on school property, you can report what happened to your school. A fellow student is anyone who attends your school, of any grade level or age. School property includes the lunchroom, parking lots, outside sports facilities, etc. RVAP can help answer questions about reporting and be with you if you report. 

If you decide to report to your school, your school may begin an internal investigation. This means they will ask you questions about happened and speak with the person who assaulted you (perpetrator) as well as anyone else who may have information. The purpose of the investigation is to see if the perpetrator violated a school policy. If it is found that they have, the perpetrator may or may not be removed from the school or sanctioned (punished) in some other way. During this investigation, your parents or law enforcement may be contacted and measures may be taken to keep the perpetrator away from you.

Through any of these processes, you can get legal assistance from confidential attorneys at no cost from the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault. An advocate can also support you for as much or as little of the processes as you would like. 

If the perpetrator (who did this to you) is a school employee.

If you experience sexual violence by a school employee, you can report what happened to your school. School employees are teachers or people who at your school or in your district. RVAP can help answer questions about reporting and be with you if you report. 

Students are unable to give consent to teachers, administrators, or anyone who is a licensed professional who offers any educational assistance to students. Any employee of a school district who fits these categories having sexual contact with a K-12 student is illegal and called sexual exploitation by a school employee. A situation can be called sexual exploitation regardless of whether or not:

  • the student is directly supervised by the employee
  • the employee and student are from different school districts
  • the sexual exploitation occurred off school property or outside of school hours
  • the student is 18 or older
  • the student believes the sexual contact was consensual
  • there were one or many instances of sexual contact
  • what the student believes was a dating relationship was established before physical sexual contact

If you decide to report to the school district, the district may take action to investigate whether or not a policy violation occurred. During the investigation, the perpetrator (school employee) may be placed on administrative leave, and may not be allowed on school property or to have contact with students. If the investigation determines that the employee violated a school policy, that employee may be terminated (fired).

An additional investigation may be conducted by the Iowa Board of Education Examiners (i.e., BOEE). The BOEE is in charge of licensure for teachers and coaches in Iowa. An investigator from the BOEE may conduct separate interviews with the student and the educator. This investigation may or  may not result in the BOEE revoking the educator’s teaching or coaching license.

Through any of these processes, you can get legal assistance from confidential attorneys at no cost from the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault.