Dating/Domestic Violence

Physical and sexual violence in early adult relationships often starts during teenage dating when individuals form their first conclusions about what to expect and accept from their partners. Dating violence refers to conduct by a person who is or has been in an emotional relationship that intentionally, or recklessly, causes bodily injury to a partner or place the partner in reasonable fear of serious bodily injury. Domestic violence has the same definition except that the conduct is by a current or former spouse or an intimate partner, or a person with whom the student shares a child in common. Abusive relationships often involve a pattern of repeated verbal, sexual, emotional, and physical abuse that escalates throughout the relationship. Some of the indicators of an abusive relationship are verbal abuse; isolation from friends and loved ones; fear of the partner’s temper; controlling behavior; intimidation; assuming responsibility for the partner’s abusive behavior; feeling trapped; and fear of leaving the abusive partner. Some abusive relationships include behaviors that are in violation of state laws AND University policy.

When you become aware that a student is in an abusive relationship:


  1. When possible, talk to the student in private, and begin by letting the student know that there are confidential resources on campus, such as Campus Advocacy Resources & Education (CARE), Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS), or the Office of the Ombuds, but that any disclosure to you must be reported to the Office of Title IX/Sexual Harassment Policy Compliance because that is your obligation as a “responsible employee” under UC policy.*
  2. Be aware that when a student discloses information about dating/domestic violence to you, s/he is demonstrating trust in you and the desire for help.
  3. Be aware that the student may be feeling vulnerable and fearful.
  4. Be supportive of the student and aware that being a victim of an abusive relationship involves many psychological factors.
  5. Provide the student with a copy of the “Resources for Those Impacted by Sexual Violence or Sexual Harassment” available at
  6. Inform the student that there is an office on campus, CARE, dedicated to providing assistance to anyone impacted by sexual violence or sexual harassment, and offer to immediately call a confidential CARE Advocate to join the meeting to discuss reporting options, accommodations, and resources. A CARE Advocate is the appropriate person to speak with the student about available assistance, how to repot, and what to expect when a report is made. Unlike most other staff and faculty, CARE Advocates are a confidential resource, so a student can share their story and/or explore their options with a CARE Advocate without a formal report being made.
  7. Suggest that the student contact CAPS for counseling and psychological support, or offer to call the CAPS office together to set up an appointment.
  8. Refer the student to the Office of Title IX/Sexual Harassment Policy Compliance if they wish to make an official report to the University, or offer to call the Title IX office together to make a report or set up an appointment. If you are a University staff member, supervisor, faculty member, teaching assistant, or perceived by the student to have such authority, please remind the student that you are a “responsible employee” per UC policy and will be making a report of the incident to the Office of Title IX/Sexual Harassment Policy Compliance. Let the student know that someone from the Title IX Compliance Office will contact them but they are not obligated to respond if they do not want to.
  9. Refer the student to the Campus Police if the student wants to make a police report and the incident(s) occurred on campus or UCSB-owned property. If the incident(s) occurred only in Isla Vista, refer the student to the Isla Vista Foot Patrol.
  10. Inform the student that the University of California’s Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures can be accessed online at Policy for Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence. Printed copies are available through a CARE Advocate or in the Office of Title IX/Sexual Harassment Policy Compliance.
  11. Be aware that interventions from numerous sources are the best approach to dealing with abusive relationships.
  12. Follow up with the student the next day to ensure that they are getting the assistance they want and need. 


  1. Ignore or minimize the situation.
  2. Speak to the student in a derogatory manner.
  3. Lecture the student about his/her poor judgment. 
  4. Assure the student that you can ensure confidentiality. Once a responsible employee knows about the existence of potential dating/domestic violence, our institution is officially “on notice.”
  5. Delay reporting the incident(s) to the Office of Title IX/Sexual Harassment Policy Compliance.

*More information about your reporting obligations as a “responsible employee” under the UC Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment is available at: