Just being there and helping them decide
[Some things I would ask myself if a friend came to be for support following a sexual assault would be:] are they willing to come forward and talk about what happened to them? How do they feel? Are they safe? What’s their mental state at the moment? Then, I guess, after figuring that out, just being there and helping them decide whether they want to take action with the school, whether they would rather go to the police straight off, whether they would want to speak to their parents, those kinds of things.
Use open-ended questions and collaborative communication when supporting a victim/survivor.
Use approaches that are trauma informed and survivor-centred.
Emphasize the victim's right to decide whether they would like to report the incident after they have disclosed it to the university. Ensure the victim is aware of the formal and informal routes for reporting, including the option of reporting to the police. Clearly communicate any limits to confidentiality.
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.