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What to do if someone you know has been assaulted, harassed or raped

What do I do now?

If someone you know has been sexually assaulted or raped, they may need medical attention or professional support.  

You should

  • Help them get to a safe place, and assure them that you believe them and support them.
  • They can contact the TCDSU welfare officer or the TCD counselling services for supports.
  • If they are injured, seek medical attention. The supports above may be able to attend medical help with you.
  • You can contact the 24 hour rape crisis centre freephone hotline on 1800 778888 for support and information on options.

What you say and how you respond when someone tells you they are a victim of sexual violence is really important. We have made a video offering advice on how to respond to a disclosure of sexual violence. This is available here:

From the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre Website:

If someone is telling you about what has happened to them, it is because they trust you. For that reason, you are very important to them and what you say and do matters a lot.  Below are some points that may help: 

  • Offer your support and attention: One of the most important things you can do for a survivor of sexual violence is tell them thatyou believe them and you are there for them. Another invaluable help is simply to listen and accept what they are saying. 
  • Don’t blame: A person is never responsible for being assaulted. 
  • Be understanding & non-judgmental: Survivors may have problems with everyday things like eating, sleeping and concentrating on work or study. This is because they are traumatised and there are a wide range of different ways this can be expressed. Don’t expect them to be back to their usual selves quickly – try to understand 
  • Let them make their own choices: Sexual violence was forced on them so it is vitally important that you do not take away their decision-making powers or pressure them into any actions or choices. Don’t interrogate them or push them on their actions – it is up to them to say what they need to do. You can find out what options are open to them, but let them decide what they want to do.

It’s also really important to remember that you might find it hard to support someone who is a victim of sexual violence, or be unable to do so. You should also seek the supports listed here if you find yourself upset, worried or scared following a disclosure of sexual violence.  

 

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