Supporting someone who has disclosed sexual assault or sexual harassment can have a big impact on their recovery and willingness to access support services. The following steps are designed to equip Eynesbury students and staff with the skills to respond to disclosures in a compassionate, respectful and helpful manner.
If, after listening to the person, you determine that there is an immediate danger from the perpetrator (or others) or an immediate medical or physical emergency:
It is important that you allow the person to decide how to report an incident and who is informed, but also recognise that you are not responsible for their decisions. If you feel that you need advice or guidance, you may contact the Counsellor Ann Sherwell at firstname.lastname@example.org and +61 448 878 943.
Your role as a support person is to provide information to help the person make decisions and then refer them to trained professionals who can provide specialist help. It is important that the person disclosing has a sense of control over what happens next. You can help by providing information about their support options [Counselling, Yarrow Place, Police] and offering to make appointments and go with them if you are able to. Try not to make assumptions about what they want to do and do NOT tell them what you think they should do. The choice is entirely up to them. Listen patiently and check by asking: “what would you like to do?” and “how can I best help you?”
There is a range of support services available to students and staff who have experienced sexual assault or sexual harassment.
Unless the person disclosing is under the age of 18 years, the decision to report an incident of sexual assault or sexual harassment is entirely up to them. Do not assume that their disclosure to you means they want to make any kind of a report about the sexual assault or sexual harassment. Your role is to provide information to help them make decisions and then support those decisions. It is important to be patient as they may need some time to consider what they would like to do.
If an Eynesbury student or staff member aged under 18 years has informed you that they were sexually assaulted you have an obligation to report this to the Child abuse report Line.
The person disclosing may decide they do not wish to report the incident or access any of the support services. This decision is completely up to them and should be respected. It can take time for some people to decide what, if any, action they would like to take following a sexual assault and people can change their minds over time too.
Find more information about reporting an incident.
Offering support to a survivor of sexual assault can be emotionally distressing and you may find that you need support yourself. It is recommended that you look after your own mental health and talk to a trained counsellor:
In seeking support for yourself, please ensure you maintain confidentiality. This means speaking to someone who is bound by confidentiality (e.g. a counsellor) or ensuring you do not include any names or details which would identify those involved when speaking to friends or family.
Here are a few ways you might help someone in this situation:
■ Eynesbury Counselling Service (for students)
■ Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for staff
The most helpful thing you can do is to keep the conversation firmly focussed on support options and avoid discussing the details of the allegation.
Daisy app | 1800RESPECT
The Daisy App has been developed by 1800RESPECT to connect anyone experiencing violence or abuse to services in their local area. Available free from iTunes or Google Play. Once downloaded, the app will allow you to find support in your local area.