Providing Support to Survivors

When providing students with support, be sure to consider certain details such as the environment and surroundings of the student. Make sure the student feels safe talking with you. Ask the student if they would like to have a friend, supportive person, or advocate present while speaking with you. Be sure to give the student your undivided attention. 

For additional support services for survivors, please visit our Resource Guide or call the LoboRESPECT Advocacy Center for more information at 505.277-2911

Things you can say: 

Thanks for coming and telling me, or calling

What would help you most today?

What is your biggest concern right now?

What’s on your mind?

You’re safe here

Take your time

You have support at UNM

“I believe you”

How are you feeling?

What happened to you is not your fault

Feel free to say whatever is on your mind

You’re not burdening me, I’m here to help

We don’t have to figure everything out at once, let’s take it one step at a time

No one should have to face something like this alone


Nothing. Be comfortable with silence and pauses

 Things you can do: 

Have an open, welcoming stance

Focus on immediate health and safety issues

Follow-up with the student after your conversation to ensure the student was not re-traumatized by discussing their story

Remember the student is the expert on their situation and this can be an opportunity for the student to regain some of their control

Ask permission before hugging or making any physical contact

Take care of yourself – supporting others can be challenging and draining

Keep the focus on the student who has come to you, do not focus on anger towards the perpetrator

Help the student create a safety plan if needed (you can also refer them to an advocate for assistance)

Explore options with the student instead of giving advice

Give written information and referrals to ensure the student has the information


Should you have any questions regarding how to support your students, or how to navigate these rather difficult conversations, please call the LoboRESPECT Advocacy Center at 505.277.2911 to consult with one of the knowledgeable and trained staff.



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