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Middle Eastern Female

One of the first things that comes to mind is language barriers

One of the very first things that comes to mind is language barriers. [...] If you are a secretary, staff member or someone who receives reports, my advice is to be patient and to speak slowly and clearly. If they are having trouble understanding you, keep in mind that they have just gone through a traumatic experience [...]. They may be terrified or angry. I have seen people in customer service and even health care services get frustrated with people who have a language barrier. I think this is a little bit inappropriate [...]. You are providing a service, and you have to realize there is frustration from this trauma. So, being patient and calm, speaking slowly and clearly, and repeating things sometimes are all important skills or requirements.


  • Sign on with a service such as KeepMe.Safe, which connects students with mental health professionals from cultures around the world and promote this service as part of university SV/SA service provision.

  • When responding to a disclosure or report of sexual violence involving racially or ethnically marginalized students, provide these students with the choice to work with someone who shares their cultural or racial identity or someone who does not.

  • Use approaches that are trauma informed and survivor-centred.

  • Offer interpretation services to victims/survivors and respondents who are more comfortable communicating in a language other than English and make it known to students that this service is available.

  • Offer versions of policies presented in plain language and translated into languages commonly prefered by students. Ensure that these documents meet accessibility standards that consider the needs of students with disabilities and diverse learning styles.

  • 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.