Sexual Violence

Sexual Violence (SV) is a term which, at the University of California, encompasses three prohibited behaviors: Sexual Assault (Penetration and Contact), Relationship Violence , and Stalking. Perpetrators of SV may be known or unknown to the complainant; they might be a date, partner, spouse, acquaintance, family member, or stranger.

For additional information on SV regarding your options and support resources, please see UC Davis Sexual Violence website and/or a printable brochure with a summary of the information.

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Definitions of Sexual Violence

It is important to note an individual’s definition and/or legal definitions of terms may differ from SVSH policy definitions. Even if you are unsure if your concern(s) falls under one of these terms, we encourage you to report your concern and utilize support resources

The items labeled "Policy Definition" are prohibited behavior outlined in the SVSH policy and the other definitions can be helpful in better understanding the policy definitions.

  • Sexual Assault- Penetration (Policy Definition)
  • Without the consent of the Complainant, penetration, no matter how slight, of:
    • the Complainant’s mouth by a penis or other genitalia; or
    • the Complainant’s vagina or anus by any body part or object.

  • Sexual Assault- Contact (Policy Definition)
  • Without the consent of the Complainant, intentionally:
    • touching Complainant’s intimate body part (genitals, anus, groin, breast, or buttocks);
    • making the Complainant touch another or themselves on any intimate body part; or
    • touching the Complainant with one’s intimate body part, whether the intimate body part is clothed or unclothed.

    Note: This definition encompasses a broad spectrum of conduct, not all of which is sexual violence. So, the Title IX Officer must sometimes determine whether an allegation should be charged as sexual violence or sexual harassment. (See FAQ #4 in the Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence policy for more information).

    Conduct that meets the definition of both Sexual Assault—Contact and Sexual Assault—Penetration will be charged as Sexual Assault—Penetration.

  • Consent  (Policy Definition)
  • Consent is affirmative, conscious, voluntary, and revocable. Consent to sexual activity requires of both persons an affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. It is the responsibility of each person to ensure they have the affirmative consent of the other to engage in the sexual activity. Lack of protest, lack of resistance, or silence, do not alone constitute consent.

    Affirmative consent must be ongoing and can be revoked at any time during sexual activity.

    The existence of a dating relationship or past sexual relations between the persons involved should never by itself be assumed to be an indicator of consent (nor will subsequent sexual relations or dating relationship alone suffice as evidence of consent to prior conduct)

    The Respondent’s belief that the Complainant consented shall not provide a valid excuse where:
    1. The Respondent’s belief arose from the Respondent’s own intoxication or recklessness;

    2. The Respondent did not take reasonable steps, in the circumstances
     known to the Respondent at the time, to  ascertain whether the Complainant affirmatively consented; or

    3. The Respondent knew or a reasonable person should have known that the Complainant was unable to consent because the Complainant was incapacitated, in that the Complainant was:
     a. asleep or unconscious;
           b. due to the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medication, unable to understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual activity;
     c. or unable to communicate due to a mental or physical condition.

  • Consent Revoked
  • Consent can also be revoked, even in the middle of a sexual act. If someone physically or verbally communicates to the other person that they do not wish to continue with the sexual act or encounter, the other person must immediately stop.

  • Sexual Exploitation  (Policy Definition)

  • Sexual Exploitation is taking sexual advantage of another, where the conduct is not otherwise addressed in this Policy, in the following circumstances:
    • The trafficking or prostituting of another without their consent: Inducing the Complainant to perform a commercial sex act through force, fraud, or coercion, or where the Complainant is under the age of 18;
    • Knowingly making a material false representation about sexually transmitted infection, birth control, or prophylactic status with the specific intent and effect of inducing the Complainant to participate in a specific sexual act or encounter;
    • Providing alcohol or drugs to the Complainant with the specific intent and effect of facilitating Prohibited Conduct; or
    • Actively facilitating or assisting another person in committing Prohibited Conduct.

    For definitions of portions of Sexual Exploitation (i.e., coercion, a commercial sex at, force and fraud), please see our SVSH policy.

  • Relationship Violence (Policy Definition)
  • Relationship Violence is:
    • physical violence toward the Complainant or a person who has a close relationship with the Complainant (such as a current or former spouse or intimate partner, a child or other relative), or
    • intentional or reckless physical or non-physical conduct toward the Complainant or someone who has a close relationship with the Complainant (such as a current or former spouse or intimate partner, a child or other relative) that would make a reasonable person in the Complainant’s position fear physical violence toward themselves or toward the person with whom they have the close relationship,

    that is by a person who is or has been in a spousal, romantic, or intimate relationship with the Complainant, or who shares a child with the Complainant, and that is part of a pattern of abusive behavior by the person toward the Complainant.

    Relationship violence includes both “dating violence” and “domestic violence.”

    Conduct by a party in defense of self or another is not Relationship Violence under this Policy. If either party asserts that they acted in defense of self or another, the Title IX Officer will use all available, relevant evidence to evaluate the assertion, including reasonableness of the defensive actions and which party is the predominant aggressor.
  • Physical Violence (Policy Definition within Relationship Violence)
  • Physical violence is physical conduct that intentionally or recklessly threatens the health and safety of the recipient of the behavior, including assault.
  • Patterns of Abuse (Policy Definition within Relationship Violence)
  • Patterns of abusive behavior may consist of or include non-physical tactics (such as threats, isolation, property destruction, abuse of pets, economic control, displaying weapons, degradation, or exploitation of a power imbalance).
  • Stalking (Policy Definition)
  • Repeated conduct directed at a Complainant (for example, following, monitoring, observing, surveilling, threatening, communicating or interfering with property), of a sexual, romantic or other sex-based nature or motivation, that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety, or the safety of others, or to suffer substantial emotional distress.

    Stalking that is not sex-based is addressed by other University policies including but not limited to the Policy on Student Conduct and Discipline Section 102.10. 

  • Repeated Conduct
  • Conduct occurring more than once that is directed at a Complainant (e.g., following, monitoring, observing, surveilling, threatening, communicating, or interfering with property).
To determine whether conduct is DOE-Covered Conduct the Title IX Officer will do the assessment and apply the definitions in Appendix IV. The definitions here are broader than and encompass all conduct included in the DOE-Covered Conduct.

HDAPP's Role 

For more information about the complaint resolution process, please see Understanding the Process webpage.

  • In Prevention
  • HDAPP maintains a strong focus on preventing SV through education. HDAPP includes a discussion of sexual violence in most harassment and discrimination programming for student groups, classes, staff, and faculty upon request. We also are happy to work with our campus partners, such as the Center for Advocacy Resources and Education (CARE) and Student Life centers, to provide programming that addresses broader issues such as: sexism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, etc.

    If you are interested in learning more about ongoing trainings and/or would like to request a presentation, please see the trainings page.
  • In Addressing Concerns
  • HDAPP is the official office to receive reports of SV at UC Davis. If you wish to file a report to HDAPP, you have three options (in-person, online, or anonymously) in filing the report.

    Once HDAPP receives a report, we offer the complainant, if known, the opportunity for an intake meeting. The complainant can have a CARE advocate accompany them to the meeting. For more information related to the process, please see the Understanding the Process webpage

    For anyone with questions and/or concerns, HDAPP is happy to speak with individuals to offer clarification on our process and provide support resources.

    For all UCD employees, including student employees, HDAPP is the official office to contact  after an employee receives a report that a student has experienced SV. For supervisors, faculty members, and other Designated Officials, HDAPP is the office to call when you receive a report of SV from any member of the campus community. To understand your reporting obligations and what will happen with the report, we advise you review the Responsible Employee page. 

We encourage you to review the website on what to do if you are accused of SV. This website outlines campus services available to help you understand your rights and the investigation and adjudication processes