What can you do?
If someone discloses that they have experienced rape, sexual assault or harassment you can support them by providing a listening ear and information to make the choices they need to make.

When talking to victim/survivors here are a few pointers:
  • Speak with the person in a private area to retain confidentiality 
  • Listen, and acknowledge what the victim/survivor is saying 
  • Believe and Validate- it is important that the victim/survivor feels believed and that you make it clear that the abuse is not their fault  
  • Make it clear that help is available 
  • Be clear and factual about processes and information
  • Do not promise to do something you cannot do and know your limitations

You might want to ask these questions: 
  1. What happened? 
    This question will help you find out information of the level of risk and severity of the incident/incidents and what support might be needed. 
  2. When did it happen? 
    This will help you establish timescales and what support might be needed. In cases of rape and sexual assault it is important to gather medical forensic evidence quickly if someone wants to report to the police
  3. Are they safe? 
    This helps you to understand the risks and if the student is not safe ensuring that they are safe is your primary concern.  If they are not safe do they need help to get safe? Explore how the student can get to a safe place. (Taxi, friend, police etc) 

  4.   Do they have a friend or someone they can trust to stay with them?  
    Check who this is and the relationship with the student. Check if student is able to contact them themselves or if they want help to do so. Sometimes survivors finds it difficult to disclose to a friend but want a someone to do it for them. It takes away the burden of feeling responsible for their friend’s reactions.
  5.  Do they have any injuries that need to be seen to? 
    If they need to be treated make sure that they are seen by the appropriate support, A& E, GP, sexual assault centre. If the victim/survivor want to report make sure that the medical practitioners know this so that can ensure forensic evidence is preserved. 

    Discuss with the student that if there is a possibility of pregnancy, they may want to take the morning after pill (up to 72 hours after) or have a coil fitted (up to 5 days after). They can buy emergency contraception (morning after pill) at a pharmacy. Also talk with the student about the possibility of STD and if they are worried about sexually transmitted infections, they can receive confidential advice and treatment from their GP.  

  6. What else can I help you with
    Give the victim/survivor back the power to decide what they want to do. 
    Establish if they want to report and/ or if they want support.

Support and Report
  • Report . Students and staff can report an incident using the University’s Report and Support system. They can choose to do this anonymously or they can provide their details and we will support them with the reporting process if that is reporting to the university or reporting to the police.
    If they want to report to the police see the page about "reporting to the police"  Explain about forensic evidence and timescales. Timescales are important in the retrieving of forensic evidence and it is best to retrieve evidence as soon as possible after the assault.

    University Procedure. If they choose to make a formal complaint to the University about a student or member of staff there are procedures which set out the steps they will need to follow. 

  • Support.  They can also ask for support  from an adviser. If they choose to talk to an adviser they will be able to talk through the options and support available to them,  in confidence. They can offer support through Student Services or refer them to support outside the university.  If they choose to report at a later date we will support them to do so.
Think about what you need

you have provided support to a friend, student, colleague it is important that you yourself make sure that you talk it through with someone. It can be traumatising and draining to hear stories of abuse and make sure that you look after yourself. If you are a student please contact Student Services to access further support. 
A member of staff can access Be Supported and/or contact our HR partners to talk through support they feel they need. 

There are two ways you can tell us what happened