Sexual Assault Centre

Responding to a Disclosure of Sexual Assault

University personnel can be among the most trusted people in a student’s life and are often who students confide in after a sexual assault experience. Regardless of whether the experience was recent or historical, it is important that people receive a compassionate and supportive response to their disclosure. The following guidelines can encourage the person to talk about their experience, access supports, and seek justice.

Listen

The act of listening without judgment can help create a safe environment for the person to talk about their experience.

  • Allow the person to share as much or as little as they feel comfortable without interrupting.
  • Avoid asking questions about what happened, especially those that begin with the word “why…” as it forces the person to defend their actions to you.
  • Acknowledge the courage it has taken to talk about it.
  • Be empathetic of the impact it’s having on the person and express your care and concern.

Believe

Most people who disclose are worried that they won’t be believed or that they will be blamed for what happened to them. 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”

Not feeling believed will negatively impact the individual’s recovery process. Our role is not to judge — all we need to do is fully support the person.

Ask how you can help

Disclosing a sexual assault is typically only done when assistance is needed to rectify a situation. Simply asking “What can I do to help you?” can open the door to exploring the type of assistance you can provide based on your professional role.

Explore options

Each person has the right to make their own decisions as to what to do next and to have those choices respected. Asking the person what they would like to do can help them re-establish some control after an experience where they had none. If you are U of A faculty or staff supporting an individual, contact the U of A Sexual Assault Centre for consultation and advising around issues related to sexual violence.

  • Call or visit the U of A Sexual Assault Centre for

    Anonymous drop-in support for anyone 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, report their experience to law enforcement or U of A Protective Services, or are involved in a campus or judicial complaint process. 

    Advocacy to support students’ personal well-being, safety, and academic success.

    U of A Sexual Assault Centre | 2-705 SUB | 780-492-9771

  • Choose to do nothing

    Each person will know which, if any, of these options are best for them. The University of Alberta respects each person’s right to make their own decisions regarding their personal recovery after sexual assault.

  • Report
    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 reporting is a valid option.

  • 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 Heath Centre Pharmacy
    1-20 SUB
    780-492-2634 

    any pharmacy

  • Seek other counselling and support
    U of A Counselling and Clinical Services

    2-600 SUB
    780-492-5205 

    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 

    Interfaith Chaplains Association
    780-492-0339 

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

  • 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