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Sexual Misconduct

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What is sexual misconduct?

Sexual misconduct occurs any time a person is forced, coerced, manipulated and/or threatened into any unwanted sexual contact, attempted or completed. It also includes any sexual contact without explicit consent. You cannot give consent if you are unconscious or incapacitated due to alcohol or other substance use.

Examples of Sexual Misconduct

  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Sexual harassment
  • Dating/domestic violence
  • Stalking

Learn more about this issue

How to report sexual misconduct

There are multiple reporting options related to sexual misconduct. You may choose to report in more than one way. Learn more about the different options.

Report to the Office of Civil Rights & Title IX Compliance

Reporter: Any individual may report sexual misconduct.

Confidentiality:The Office of Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance will keep your information as private as possible but confidentiality cannot be guaranteed.

Sexual Misconduct Reporting

File a Police Report

Reporter: An individual who has experienced sexual misconduct is encouraged to file a report.

Confidentiality: Reporting an incident to the University police or local police does not mean you need to testify in court. Reports of sexual misconduct made to University Police will automatically be shared with the Office of Civil Rights & Title IX Compliance.

Contact University Police

File a Formal Title IX Complaint

Reporter: Only the individual who experienced unwanted behavior can file a formal sexual misconduct or sexual harassment complaint.

Confidentiality: Filing a complaint initiates a grievance process, which includes notifying the respondent.

File a complaint

File an Anonymous Report

Reporter: Any individual can use EthicsPoint, which has anonymous reporting options.

Confidentiality: While such complaints will retain anonymity, the University’s ability to investigate and respond to anonymous complaints is limited.

File an Ethicspoint Report

Support and Resources

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual misconduct, consider talking to one of the following trained resources.

Confidential Support

Confidential resources will not disclose information to anyone, including law enforcement or the University, except in very limited situations, such as when failure to disclose would result in imminent danger to the individual or to others.

Find On- and Off-Campus Support

Key University Contact

Office of Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance will address complaints with sensitivity and keep your information as private as possible, but confidentiality cannot be guaranteed.

(847) 467-6165 or email:

Visit the Office Website

Know your rights: Northwestern's Non-Retaliation Policy

Northwestern's Policy on Non-Retaliation strictly prohibits retaliation against any member of its community for reporting or inquiring in good faith about suspected wrongful or unlawful activity, or participating in an investigation or proceeding related to such activity. The University considers such actions to be protected activities in which all members may freely engage without worry of negative consequences.