Relationships are important in our lives. They allow us to be connected with others, whether we might define them as intimate relationships (often equated with romantic or sexual relationships) or any type of interpersonal relationships. These relationships may be defined in different ways depending on who’s involved - romantic partner friends, family, loved ones, or sexual relationships - but healthy relationships all depend on a few key elements: healthy communication, healthy boundaries, mutual respect, and support for one another. Because relationships are so important, it can be helpful to think about the types of relationships we currently have, what we hope for in the future, and whether or not they are healthy relationships.

The relationship spectrum

All relationships exist on a spectrum from healthy to abusive, with unhealthy relationships somewhere in the middle. Explore the Relationship Spectrum (PDF) and think about where various relationships in your life might fall.

Healthy relationships involve respect. There should be equality and a mutual decision-making process. See the Equality Wheel (PDF) to learn more. 

To learn more about healthy and unhealthy relationships, go to the National Domestic Violence Hotline or LoveIsRespect.

Immediate safety concerns

  • If you have experienced physical or sexual violence and are in imminent danger, you can call 911 for an emergency response. This is a choice of the individual - some people do not feel that contacting police is the safest option, even in a crisis.
  • If you are injured and need immediate medical attention, you can call 911 for medical care or go to your nearest emergency room.
  • Maine hospitals are only required to contact police for gunshot wounds. If a child experiences or witnesses relationship violence/abuse, mandated reporters may have to consult with Child Protective Services about the child’s safety. Otherwise, hospitals are not required to report relationship violence. They can assist you in safety planning and connect you to resources.
  • If it is safe to do so, reach out to The NextStep Domestic Violence Project. An advocate can help you understand your options and can safety plan with you.
  • COA’s Public Safety Department can assist with understanding the police reporting options and safety. This is a private resource and they may need to share information with a limited number of people in the College who need to know.
  • If you are unsure whether your relationship is abusive or are considering ending an abusive relationship and would like to speak with someone, you can make an appointment with a COA counselor.

Title IX Office

COA’s Title IX Coordinator is available to support and investigate situations of sexual misconduct, relationship violence, and stalking. This is a private resource, which means that information related to a report of misconduct will only be shared with a limited number of people who need to know in order to assist the investigation, resolution, and related issues.

Reaching out to the Title IX Coordinator does not necessarily mean that an investigation will happen. First they will provide information about options and resources. They will support the individual’s decision whether or not to move forward in an investigation or administrative process, although there may be certain situations where they will need to move forward without a complainant’s involvement based on the factors of the report. Individuals have the right to ask questions before sharing their narrative with the Title IX Coordinator.

Puranjot Kaur, Title IX Coordinator & HR Support
(207) 288-5015, ext. 5614
Office Location: Turrets Second Floor Annex*
*Please Note: This office is not ADA accessible. If you are unable to access this office, please email to set up an alternative, private meeting location.