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As a student, staff or faculty member and member of the campus community, you may receive a disclosure of sexual violence. It is normal to feel nervous or uncomfortable about receiving a disclosure. People most often first disclose to people they trust, not because you are an expert. In fact, you don't have to be an expert to be supportive.

We have provided some key suggestions below. For more detailed information on providing a supportive response to a disclosure, see our Helping Someone Who Has Been Sexually Assaulted and Resources for Responding to a Disclosure of Sexual Assault guide (PDF), which we encourage all community members to read.

1. Believe the person

This is the most important thing you can do. One of the biggest reasons a person doesn't come forward is because they feel they will not be believed or blamed for what happened to them.

2. Respect their confidentiality

A person who discloses will be very concerned about what you will do with the information that is shared.

Every step should be taken to not share the information that is disclosed without explicit consent from the individual. At times, it may be necessary to share information with certain University officials, such as counselors, medical staff or security personnel to ensure safety and support. If this is the case, it is important that they understand how and when you will share the information. Any steps you must take in sharing the information should include disclosing only the minimum amount of information necessary to address the risk and shared only on a "need to know" basis. Preferably, without using identifying information.

3. Listen & Ask what they need

Do more listening than talking. Listening effectively, without judgment, is the best way to seek to understand what has happened, and to help the person in the way that they need.

It is the person's experience and decisions to make. Avoid advice giving and ask them what they need and what's best for them.

4. Connect them with resources

Offer supports that they have expressed they want to access and assist them in contacting those resources or be with them when they do it.

It is a good idea to always offer the Klinic Sexual Assault Crisis Line phone number to someone, as it is a 24/7 supportive service (1-204-786-8631).

Share with the individual, or visit the Get Support webpage to explore options in detail or refer to the Responding to Disclosures guide.

Please note: If they have recently been assaulted and wish to receive medical care or have forensic evidence collected for a police investigation:

  • Emergency contraception is available up to 120 hours after an assault. Other medications to prevent sexually transmitted infections can be given up to 72 hours to 2 weeks after the assault. Time frames vary, according to infection, so it is best to seek treatment as soon as possible.
  • The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program not only provides medical treatment, but can also collect forensic evidence for a police investigation up to 120 hours after an assault has occurred. Please note, having evidence collected does not require a person to go forward with a police investigation if they do not want to.

If you are interested in receiving training on how to effectively respond to disclosures, please contact: katie.kutryk@umanitoba.ca

ACCOMMODATIONS

A person who has experienced sexual violence is often impacted in a variety of ways. They may have many physical and emotional reactions that can have a negative impact on their academics or work and impact their ability to function. As instructors and employers, it is our responsibility to accommodate their needs.

Students: Students who have been impacted by sexual assault and are unable to meet their academic commitments have the right to accommodations. Students are encouraged to contact the Student Support Case Management Office to explore these options including creating a safety plan and connecting with other offices as appropriate.

Staff: Faculty and Staff who have been impacted by sexual assault and are unable to fulfill their professional obligations have the right to accommodations. They can work with their supervisor, or Human Resources Client Services and Employee Wellness office to access these.

For more information please see the Sexual Assault policy section 2.5 – 2.8