What is an investigator?
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, an investigator is “a person whose job is to examine a crime, problem, statement, etc. in order to discover the truth” (Cambridge University Press, 2021).
What do investigators have to do with University SV/SA policies?
- Some university SV/SA policies include the possibility of appointing an investigator to look into reports of sexual violence or sexual assault that has occurred within the campus community.
- The investigator’s findings about the report may inform decisions about whether the respondent will face consequences for their actions, and what those consequences will be.
- Check your own university SV/SA policy to see if and how it includes investigators.
Do I need to worry about an investigator becoming involved if I reach out to a service provider for supports?
- An investigation will not be initiated when a victim/survivor simply looks for support to a counsellor, health professional, or other service provider. With rare exceptions, these service providers are bound by rules of confidentiality.
- An investigation is generally initiated when a victim/survivor follows the process explained in their university SV/SA policy to request an investigation.
- In rare situations universities may investigations due to concerns about the safety of students or other members of the campus community (see confidentiality).
Who can be a university sexual violence or sexual assault investigator?
- Policies that include university investigations of sexual assault or sexual violence reports may include information about who can serve as a sexual assault investigator for the campus community covered by the policy.
- Investigators may be:
- Selected from among university staff (internally appointed)
- Hired from outside the university (externally appointed).
- Some policies state that investigators may be appointed internally or externally, depending on the situation. It may not be clear in the policy how this decision is made.