Victim Support Services
Student Wellness & Health Promotion (SWHP) is here to provide a safe space for all UD students facing traumatic situations. SWHP provides free, confidential support to student survivors of sexual assault, dating and domestic violence and sexual harassment or stalking, including professional advocacy, support groups and 24/7 crisis assistance.
Professional advocates at Student Wellness and Health Promotion provide individual crisis support and ongoing victim advocacy, including:
- Support beyond the initial situation, assisting victims in processing the experience in a safe environment, and in addressing related concerns
- Education about normal responses to fear and trauma
- Education about sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, sexual harassment and stalking, and what behaviors may constitute violations of UD policies and Delaware law
- Education about coping strategies and assistance in setting up a coping plan
- Arrangements for academic accommodations, either directly with faculty/Asst Deans, or via the Office of the Dean of Students (e.g. excusal from missed classes, extension on work due, postponement of an exam, extra help, etc.)
- Assistance in seeking Emergency Housing (on campus or in a Shelter), room change, contract termination, and/or accompaniment to meet with Residence Life & Housing staff
- Providing letters to landlord to support termination of an off-campus rental lease
- Assistance in creating a Safety Plan
- Ongoing advocacy throughout the student conduct or criminal processes, including accompaniment to meetings, interviews, court, etc. and assistance in preparing for each step in the process
- Assistance in seeking a Protection From Abuse Order process and accompaniment to Family Court
- Assistance in seeking financial compensation through Delaware’s Victims Compensation Assistance Program (VCAP)
Led by our certified Victim Advocates, this support group is designed for survivors of sexual assault, intimate partner violence or emotional/psychological abuse who are no longer in the initial crisis period. This period can vary from survivor to survivor. Typically survivors who join group are at least three months past the assault or out of an abusive relationship, but often longer.
Group typically runs in the spring semester for 8 to 10 weeks, but you can contact us anytime for an individual appointment. Time and days are determined based on participants’ availability. Call 302-831-3457 if you're interested in participating.
Victims who are believed by the first person they tell are more likely to seek other helping resources, report to police, and successfully go through a healing process.
- Make sure you know whether you are a mandatory reporter, and if you are, make sure to tell the survivor what your requirements are before they tell you the story so they can choose whether or not to share.
- Listen to the disclosure without blaming the victim or passing judgment
- Maintain confidentiality and do not share the victim’s story
- Respect the victim’s process of healing and justice (they may or may not pursue legal action)
- Restore control by allowing the victim to choose their next steps
- Be clear that you believe the victim
- Be non-judgmental and supportive
- Provide information about possible next steps and resources such as counseling services, Title IX documents, etc.
- If you can, offer to accompany the victim should they seek medical services or decide to report the assault to local authorities
- Ask them if they would like to talk to an SOS Victim Advocate or offer to call SOS for them: 302-831-1001. Press 1 to connect with an SOS victim advocate.
- Avoid asking for details or asking a lot of questions. Telling the story of what happened can be emotionally and physiologically re-traumatizing, so it is important to let the survivor be in the driver’s seat to the conversation. If they decide to seek helping resources or report to authorities, they will have to re-tell the story at least a few more times. So it is best to try to minimize how many times they have to tell it.
- Avoid pushing your own agenda about what you think they should do. Allow them to begin to regain control by making their own decisions about next steps to take.
- ALL UD employees (including paid student workers) are mandatory reporters, unless they are designated “confidential” (e.g. CCSD and SWHP counselors). View the UD Sexual Misconduct policy for more information.
- The healing path for every survivor is different and will take time; be patient…as you support this person during their process
- Be calm during the disclosure and afterwards access any self-care resources you may need; vicarious trauma is a real experience
- Sexual assault is never the victim’s fault; no matter what they are wearing, where they were walking, who they were with, etc.
- You are not an investigator; you do not need to gather facts or information from the victim about the assault
- You are not a vigilante; do not seek out the accused or attempt to do them harm