Responding to and supporting someone who has had an unwanted sexual experience can be complex, but chances are they have come to you because they trust you. Be compassionate, respectful and supportive. Ensure they can access resources.
A person who has experienced sexual assault may report a range of symptoms. It is important to remember that they are never at fault, and that they are the best person to determine what steps and support is best for them.
If you are a UTS student or staff member experiencing sexual assault or are concerned about someone in our UTS community, please contact the UTS Sexual Assault Support Line on 1800 531 626 during office hours. The UTS Sexual Assault Support Line is staffed by professionally trained, trauma informed counsellors 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays). As other options, UTS Staff can contact our EAP provider on 1300 360 364 and NSW Rape Crisis is the 24/7 telephone and online crisis counselling service for anyone in NSW - men and women - who has experienced or is at risk of sexual assault. They can be reached on 1800 424 017. If you are in immediate danger or need urgent medical attention, please call emergency services on 000. UTS Security can also be contacted for support on campus by calling 1800 249 559 (24 hours).
What should you do?
1. Attend to safety
- If someone is in immediate danger or needs urgent medical attention, call 000.
- If there is no immediate danger, encourage the person to seek medical care, if appropriate.
- Confirm that the person has somewhere safe to stay.
- UTS Security can offer 24-hour support. Call 1800 249 559.
2. Listen and show support
If someone discloses a sexual assault to you, check if they wish to make a report, and support them if they do.
You can support the student by:
- gently informing them that you may be legally required to report the matter to Police
- validating the person’s experience by acknowledging their distress.
- respecting the words they use in reference to the assault.
- encouraging the person to seek support and allowing them to make their own decisions.
- asking what you can do to be supportive.
3. Facilitate a referral to a counselling service
- The person can contact the UTS Counselling Service on (02) 9514 1177.
- If they do not wish to be referred to the UTS Counselling Service, you can refer them to the Help and support for sexual assault website which offers a range of confidential services at UTS and externally.
- You can also call the UTS Counselling Service to discuss other support options.
If you’re a UTS staff member, more information is available on Staff Connect.
Support for you
If you experience distress as a result of what you have been told by someone who has experienced sexual assault, you can access support through confidential services at UTS and externally.