Dependability, supportiveness, and compassion
Participant 1: I think the number one thing is dependability- just making sure that you are there, even if it’s just to listen so they know someone is with them during such a hard time. Also, supportiveness and compassion- I think those are the three characteristics that I would want in a person if I were to experience this kind of thing.
Facilitator: Okay, and, do you mind unpacking these qualities in the sense of how are these qualities helpful in providing support?
Participant 1: Okay, so first, I would say dependability is that you want to make sure that the person facing this situation has someone if they need to talk about anything- you’re there for them to talk to. For compassion, I think it’s good to try and put yourself in that situation so you can better understand what that person is going through because if they are talking to you and you are just like ‘’yeah, sorry," "go here, go see this person,’’ that’s not really helping anything. In most cases, that will probably make it a lot worse. I think putting yourself in their shoes can help to an extent. For supportiveness, just encouraging them that this situation doesn’t define them and you are there for them and just making sure that they feel supported, not only through your words but your actions. Whether that means following them to an office so they can seek further professional help or anything else, I think it might help as well.
Use approaches that are trauma informed and survivor-centred.
Provide long-term support to victims/survivors through university services and/or through referals to external community-based agencies.
Present learning materials in a way that is helpful to a friend supporting a victim/survivor.
When responding to a disclosure or report of sexual violence, highlight that students have the choice to involve support people of their choice, including friends or family members. Offer to reach out to support people if the student prefers. This applies to the victim/survivor or complainant and respondent.