What should I do if someone tells me they were victimized?
- Listen – Pay attention, don’t interrupt, and show you care.
- Address immediate safety concerns – Find out if the person is safe/has a safe place to go or if anyone else may be in danger.
- Contact an advocate – Call our 24/7 hotline (407-823-1200) for more information on how to help. If it is okay with the person, call while he/she is with you. An advocate can talk with the person over the phone, come to your location, or arrange for the person to visit our office.
- Be prepared – Have contact numbers, websites, email addresses, and referral options readily available.
- Be flexible – Respect the person’s wishes, and do not force them to do what you think they should.
- Be realistic – Recovery time and healing may take longer than you think.
- Understand – Different people react to trauma in different ways. Familiarize yourself with common reactions to victimization.
- Obtain resources – Ask Victim Services for information to keep on hand or request a presentation for your class, department, student group, residence hall, etc.
- Respect confidentiality – Be honest if you are required to report what the person is telling you to someone else. Advocates provide confidential services to our clients.
- Repeat information – People in crisis often do no retain verbal information/instructions. Follow up by email or provide written materials, if it is safe for the person to take them home.
- Learn more crisis intervention tips.
- Learn more about what to do if someone you know is sexually assaulted.
- Learn more about what to do if someone you know is in an abusive relationship.
What should I say if someone tells me they were victimized?
- Be supportive and affirming.
- Assure the person it is not his/her fault.
- Let him/her know you’re sorry this happened.
- Don’t blame the victim or question what he/she did or didn’t do.
- Learn more about what to say/not to say.