Sexual Violence Information and Resources

Responding to a Disclosure

Disclosing an experience of sexual violence is the act of sharing information about an experience to someone who previously did not know. Individuals will often confide in the people they trust the most—a friend, peer, colleague, etc. 

Disclosing is typically very difficult; some people are able to outright identify their experience while others may be more vague or use more general terms. Examples of how a person might disclose include:

  • “I had a bad sexual experience that is bothering me.”
  • “I was sexually assaulted a year ago and have been thinking about it a lot lately.”
  • “I didn’t want them to but they wouldn’t stop.”
  • “I kept saying ‘no’ but they did it anyway.”
  • “I was at a party and something bad happened to me.”
  • “I’m going through something very personal.”

It is important that the person receives a compassionate and supportive response to their disclosure, regardless if the experience was recent or historical.

The following guidelines can be used when receiving a disclosure of sexual violence to encourage the person to talk about their experience, access supports, and make a complaint. It is important that the person receives a compassionate and supportive response to their disclosure, regardless if the experience was recent or historical.

Listen

Listen without judgment to create a safe environment for the person to talk about their experience.

  • Allow the person to share what they are comfortable with, without interruption.
  • Avoid asking questions for more information or “why” questions; just listen.
  • Acknowledge the courage it has taken to talk about it.
  • Be empathetic of the impact it’s having on the person.
  • Express your care and concern.

Believe

Most people who experience sexual violence are worried they won’t be believed or that they will be blamed for what happened. Your role is not to judge—all you need to do is fully support the person.

Show you believe them by making simple statements such as:

  • “Thank you for telling me.”
  • “I’m sorry that happened to you.”
  • “I believe you.”

Ask How You Can Help

Disclosures of sexual violence typically happen when assistance is needed.

Simply ask “What can I do to help you?” to open up the door to exploring the type of assistance that both you and the community can provide.

Explore Options

Each person has the right to make their own decisions regarding their personal recovery and to have those choices respected; trust that they will know what course of action is best for them.

Help the person re-establish some control after their experience by exploring the following options and asking “What would you like to do?”

  • Call or visit the U of A Sexual Assault Centre

    Anonymous drop-in support for students, faculty, and staff affected by sexual assault or abuse, sexual harassment, relationship violence, or stalking.

    Detailed exploration of options available, safety planning, strategies for coping, and self-care. 

    Free, comprehensive psychological services for survivors of sexual assault or abuse.

    Follow-up support and/or accompaniment service for those who seek medical attention, want to report their experience, or are involved in a campus or judicial complaint process.

    Advocacy to support the personal well-being, safety, academic, and professional success of students, staff, and faculty.

    Visit the website or call 780-492-9771

  • Choose to do nothing
    Each person will know which, if any, of these options are best for them. Choosing to do nothing is a valid option.
  • Make a complaint

    Edmonton Police Services
    780-423-4567 

    University of Alberta Protective Services (UAPS)
    Education Car Park 
    780-492-5050 

    U of A Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights
    300 Campus Tower
    780-492-7325 

    To report anonymously through a third party report, contact the U of A Sexual Assault Centre 
    2-705 SUB 
    780-492-9771 

    Not making a complaint is a valid option.

  • Seek counselling and support

    U of A Counselling and Clinical Services
    2-600 SUB 
    780-492-5205 

    Employee & Family Assistance Program
    780-492-2249 

    Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton (SACE)
    Suite 205 – 14964 
    121A Ave 
    780-423-4102 

    24-hour Sexual Assault Crisis Line (SACE) 
    780-423-4121 

    Interfaith Chaplains Association 
    780-492-0339 

    talk with a trusted friend, family member, residence staff, or spiritual leader

  • Seek medical attention

    For general medical treatment, pregnancy, or STI/HIV concerns, consider: 

    Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) nurse
    access through Edmonton-area emergency rooms within 7 days of the assault 

    U of A Health Centre 
    2-200 SUB 
    780-492-2612 

    STI Clinic 
    11111 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton 
    780-342-2300 

    personal family physician 

    For emergency contraception consider: 

    U of A Health Centre Pharmacy 
    1-20 SUB 
    780-492-2634 

    any pharmacy

  • Seek supports - Augustana/Camrose

    For general medical treatment, pregnancy, or STI/HIV concerns, consider:

    St. Mary's Hospital
    4607 53rd Street
    780-679-6100

    Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) nurse
    access through Edmonton-area emergency rooms within 7 days of the assault

    Nurse Navigator - Augustana Campus
    Forum L2-144
    780-679-1160
    780-608-4927
    www.camrosepcn.com/contact

    Visiting your personal family physician

    Counselling/support

    Personal Counselling Centre
    Forum L2-143/144
    augustana.counselling@ualberta.ca

    Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton (SACE)
    Suite 205 - 14964 121A Ave
    780-423-4102

    24-hour Sexual Assault Crisis Line (SACE)
    780-423-4121

    Employee & Family Assistance Program
    780-492-2249

    Pastoral Counselling
    Forum L2 - 140/141
    780-679-1535

    Talk with a trusted friend, family member, residence staff, or spiritual leader.

    Report

    Camrose Police Service
    6220 48th Ave
    780-672-8300

    University of Alberta Protective Services (UAPS)
    Ravine Studio
    780-679-1555
    780-608-2905 (24 hours)

    U of A Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights
    300 Campus Tower, Edmonton
    780-492-7325

    To report anonymously through a third party report, contact the U of A Sexual Assault Centre
    2-705 SUB Edmonton
    780-492-9771

Support Yourself

It’s common for people to feel affected by the process of responding to a disclosure of sexual violence and supporting the survivor. Talk to someone at the U of A Sexual Assault Centre to receive support for yourself or to learn how to support others.