It can be difficult to know how to help someone who has been subjected to sexual violence, it can be a frightening and confusing time for them and for you. It is important that they are aware of the support available from the University and external support services.

If you are concerned about the wellbeing of another student and would like to talk to someone, please email or use the Report and Support tool. It is important to ensure the person is aware of any details you share, and that they have given their consent for you to share information about them and what has happened to them. 

If the incident has just happened you can also suggest that they contact specialist support services, for example a local Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC). If they are in immediate danger or seriously injured call 999. If an incident has just happened, try and find somewhere they feel safe. If you are at the University you can call University Security 24/7 on 0121 414 4444 or go to your nearest University building and ask someone to phone Security for you.

You may wish to consider the following advice on how to offer support: 
  • It is important that the person feels that they are believed, so it is important that you listen and remain non-judgmental.
  • Often the person can blame themselves, feelings of guilt and shame are not uncommon so it is important that they know what happened is not their fault. 
  • Try to be supportive without giving advice. It is important that the individual can determine how to proceed and feel that they can make the decisions. Accept it is the person's choice of what to do and when to do it. It may be helpful to look at the options, and encourage independent decision making, even if you disagree. 
  • Look after yourself. It is important that you take care of yourself and seek support if needed. It is common to need support when supporting someone else.
  • Be patient. They may not want to talk right now and you may feel that you are not doing enough but just being there may be all they need at the moment. It is important that you don't force an individual to give you information. 
  • Allow the person to be in control of what happens next including deciding whether they want to report, who they want to talk to and whether they feel ready to seek support, give them space to come to terms with their own feeling and emotions. 

Useful resources if you are supporting someone 

Rape and Sexual Violence Project – Supporting a victim-survivor (PDF) 


There are two ways you can tell us what happened