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NOVACares Office FAQ

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Why does the NOVACares Office exist?

The NOVACares Office was created in response to Virginia state legislation that requires every institute of higher education to establish a system for the identification and intervention of concerning behavior. The NOVACares Office oversees a central database where students, faculty and staff can report concerns. The NOVACares Office provides training and education to campus responders including Campus Assessment, Response and Evaluation (CARE) teams; Deans of Students; and Human Resources Consultants to encourage standardized protocols and best practices in risk assessment.

The NOVACares Office manages the NOVACares Program and the Sexual Assault Services (SAS) Program. The NOVACares Program monitors interventions to reported concerns, provides consulting and case management to high-risk cases and coordinates with departments across the College to promote information sharing. The Sexual Assault Services (SAS) Program responds to and supports victims of sexual assault, stalking and dating/partner violence and presents information about these programs to the College and other interested parties.

What is the NOVACares Program?

The program includes an online threat assessment reporting system and a database for tracking reports. Incident reporting is web-based and accessible to anyone. It includes everything from low-level needs for intervention and assistance, to direct threats presented to the College community. The NOVACares Program accepts incident reports on any situation that affects any NOVA community member including, but not limited to: students, faculty, staff, adjuncts, contractors, vendors, parents of students and visitors.

The program uses the “If You See Something, Say Something” model of reporting. Nothing is insignificant; we encourage reporting of any behavior that may seem detrimental to the person of concern or the broader community. Reports are assessed and assigned to a NOVACares Responder usually within one business day. The NOVA Police Department or a local law enforcement office should be contacted if an immediate response is required. If you have questions about reporting that aren’t answered by the Reporting FAQ, or if you would like more information on the NOVACares program, you may email us.

Who gives the NOVACares Office its authority?

The President of NOVA established the NOVACares Office in response to legislative action that included State Law § 23-9.2:10, which requires all public colleges to establish teams to intervene regarding reports of concerning behavior. The NOVACares program is NOVA’s designated reporting system to meet the requirements of this law.

§ 23-9.2:10: The board of visitors or other governing body of each public institution of higher education shall determine a committee structure on campus of individuals charged with education and prevention of violence on campus. Each committee shall include representatives from student affairs, law enforcement, human resources, counseling services, residence life, and other constituencies as needed. Such committee shall also consult with legal counsel as needed. The board of visitors or other governing body of each public institution of higher education shall establish a specific threat assessment team that shall include members from law enforcement, mental health professionals, representatives of student affairs and human resources, and, if available, college or university counsel. Such team shall implement the assessment, intervention and action policies set forth by the committee.

Why is it important to provide Sexual Assault Services for the College?

Traditional college-age students are the highest risk population to be victims or perpetrators of sexual assault, stalking and dating/partner violence. The 2013 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) placed special emphasis on these campus issues and requires tracking incidents and providing services. Victims often have associated trauma that needs supportive services. Sexual Assault Services (SAS) Coordinators provide crisis counseling, medical and legal advocacy and academic intervention for those affected by the named issues. The NOVA SAS mission is to provide educational outreach and free confidential support and services to any member of NOVA. We assist students, faculty, staff and immediate family members regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.

For assistance, contact the NOVA SAS Coordinator at NOVA.SAS@nvcc.edu or 703.338.0834. The SAS program is available 24/7.

What types of outreach and services does the NOVACares Office provide?

Presentations are available on the following topics:

  • NOVACares Process
  • Sexual Assault Issues (SAS) 
  • Managing Classroom Disruptions
  • Resources: Community and College
  • Behavioral Intervention

In order for an individual to seek services from SAS, does the incident have to be recent or have occurred during their career at NOVA?

The incident does not have to be recent or even during the individual’s NOVA career. We understand that students new to the college setting may encounter triggers; such as seeing someone that reminds them of the incident or being exposed to a re-traumatizing experience. The incident could have occurred during childhood years, adolescence, or adulthood. No matter when the incident occurred, SAS is here to offer you support, resources and other assistance as requested.

Do we need to report to the police in order to seek services from SAS?

The victim/survivor does not have to report the incident to police to seek our services. We can assist and support you by providing information about all options; including Title IX, police, medical exams, and the campus conduct process and support groups that might be available. Remember, all assistance for victims/survivors is free and confidential.

What kind of educational outreach happens through SAS?

SAS provides educational outreach to all campuses on issues through classroom presentations, training and assisting students with research projects or other assignments related to sexual assault, dating/partner violence, and stalking. SAS hosts various events every semester to raise awareness of these issues, such as Take Back the Night (a rally and march held to raise awareness about sexual and domestic violence), The Clothesline Project (a visual display of a survivor’s experience, support for a survivor or messages to end sexual and domestic violence) and The Red Flag Campaign (designed to encourage friends and community members to “say something” when they see warning signs (“red flags”) for sexual assault, dating/partner violence, or stalking in a friend’s relationship). For more information on educational outreach, please contact NOVA SAS.

How can I get involved with SAS?

There are several ways to get involved with SAS:

  • Volunteer; SAS is always looking for volunteers and interns to assist us with our many events.
  • Call if you are or were victimized to receive information and assistance.
  • Join our support group, which is led by our SAS coordinators.