If a person tells you they have been sexually assaulted
- Be calm and provide an empathetic response
- Listen and give them your full attention
- Try not to interrupt, and let them speak at their own pace
- Believe what they tell you – people rarely make up stories about sexual assault
- Don’t blame or judge the discloser for the assault
- Ask them what you can do to support them – supporting a person who discloses a sexual assault can have a major influence on their recovery, their willingness to proceed with legal action and to seek medical and counselling services.
- Let them know that it is important to consider seeing a doctor as soon as possible - refer to the information in ‘you experienced sexual assault’
- Let them know that there are dedicated and supportive counselling services available - refer to the information in ‘you experienced sexual assault’
- Let them know that they might want to make a report to the police, and that they might want to find out more and get support - refer to the information in ‘you experienced sexual assault’
- If the assault was in any way connected to the University, it is important to refer the person to the Equity and Equal Opportunity Office, so that the University can take action (in line with the person’s wishes). The Equity and Equal Opportunity Office is a confidential point-of contact service who can assist them to decide what course of action they feel comfortable in taking, and can ensure support for them through that course of action.
- If the person does not want to disclose their identity and details to the University, take a confidential note of the disclosure and the resulting actions. Then provide de-identified information to the Equity and Equal Opportunity Office, so that the University is informed in its development of supports, education and broad interventions.
If you want to talk through how you responded to a disclosure of sexual assault, you can talk to/debrief with the FedUni Counselling Service.