If you know someone who has been affected by an assault, you are not alone, support is available.

It is important to ensure the person is aware of any details you are sharing about them, as in some instances actions taken could put someone at further risk from an abuser. You can also suggest that they contact specialist support services that feel the most comfortable for them, or if someone needs urgent assistance please contact the police by calling 999. 

It is important that they are aware of the support available for students from the University and external support services.

How Can I Respond?

Listen. If someone discloses an assault then listening to what they say with compassion, empathy, and no judgement can be incredibly helpful. Just taking the time to listen to someone and allowing them to talk about what has happened can help.

Believe. Rather than asking a lot of questions, just let them know that you believe them and will support them as best as you can. Try not to skip ahead to what to do practically without first validating what you have heard and listening to what they have to say. It can be helpful to use phrases such as: “I believe you. It took a lot of courage to tell me about this. It’s not your fault. You didn’t do anything to deserve this.” 

Offer Choice. After making a disclosure they may or may not know what they want to do next. After listening and believing, making them aware of choices available to them can be a helpful next step. You can help them explore these options but avoid telling them what they should do. Only they can decide what is best for them. However, it is important to go at their pace If they do not want to discuss their options at this time, that is okay too.

There are two ways you can tell us what happened