If you need help in an emergency, please call 999 or if the emergency is on campus or in University accommodation, contact the University Security Services emergency number on 0113 343 2222 (available 24 hours a day). 
Supporting a victim/survivor of sexual violence might feel daunting. It is important to remember that you don't have to be an expert. By being there and listening, and being aware of the support services for yourself and for the person disclosing the information - you are already doing so much to help. There are some other things that you might want to keep in mind whilst offering support. 

Things to do: 

Listen carefully. What they are saying might be very difficult or upsetting for you to hear. But it’s important to show them that you’re really listening.

Believe them.
People rarely lie about experiencing sexual assault, rape or abuse and it is important that they know you believe what they are telling you. 

Let them stay in control.
These incidents can make a person feel powerless or experience a loss of control. It can be tempting to try to to help by ‘fixing’ things. However, it’s important to not make decisions on behalf of the victim/survivor unless they ask for practical support. Similarly, there’s no right or wrong way to be or to feel after sexual assault, rape or abuse so try not to judge their decisions.

Look after yourself.  It can have a huge emotional impact on your and if impact your work or studies.  Depending on your experiences it can also trigger things that may have happened to you or someone else you know.     You can also access support services (link to be added when the site is live) and speak to your School if you feel the experience has impacted your studies. 

If you are a student and are supporting someone 

You may wish to access some support and space for yourself to help manage and understand the impact on you. There are support services on and off campus that can help, this includes emotional support and impact on your academic life.  Have a look at the 'what support is there for me section'.  

If you are a staff member and supporting someone 

It is important to be aware of the types of support and resources that are available to help deal with stress and mental health issues and how to access them.

As Managers we need to understand our role and responsibility and be able to recognise and respond appropriately and supportively when someone discloses a traumatic experience or express stress or mental health concerns.  To support this, there is guidance for both staff and managers which pulls together all the existing support options the university has in place and how to access them.  Please have a look at University of Leeds Human Resources Homepage

The Staff Counselling and Psychological Support service also offer Professional Consultations.  These can be a one-off session where you meet with a member of the team to discuss and get support with a situation that you may find has a psychological or interpersonal challenge or component to it.  Leaders and managers can consult to receive support and insight into their situation and their challenges of leading and managing; and may also consult about the support needs of their staff.


More information on how to support someone you know following sexual violence has been produced by Rape Crisis England.


There are two ways you can tell us what happened