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How to Help

What should I do if someone tells me they were victimized?

  • Listen – Pay attention, don’t interrupt, and show you care.
  • Address immediate safety concerns – Find out if the person is safe/has a safe place to go or if anyone else may be in danger.
  • Contact an advocate – Call our 24/7 hotline (407-823-1200) for more information on how to help. If it is okay with the person, call while he/she is with you. An advocate can talk with the person over the phone, come to your location, or arrange for the person to visit our office.
  • Be prepared – Have contact numbers, websites, email addresses, and referral options readily available.
  • Be flexible – Respect the person’s wishes, and do not force them to do what you think they should.
  • Be realistic – Recovery time and healing may take longer than you think.
  • Understand – Different people react to trauma in different ways. Familiarize yourself with common reactions to victimization.
  • Obtain resources – Ask Victim Services for information to keep on hand or request a presentation for your class, department, student group, residence hall, etc.
  • Respect confidentiality – Be honest if you are required to report what the person is telling you to someone else. Advocates provide confidential services to our clients.
  • Repeat information – People in crisis often do no retain verbal information/instructions. Follow up by email or provide written materials, if it is safe for the person to take them home.
  • Learn more crisis intervention tips.
  • Learn more about what to do if someone you know is sexually assaulted.
  • Learn more about what to do if someone you know is in an abusive relationship.
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What should I say if someone tells me they were victimized?

  • Be supportive and affirming.
  • Assure the person it is not his/her fault.
  • Let him/her know you’re sorry this happened.
  • Don’t blame the victim or question what he/she did or didn’t do.
  • Learn more about what to say/not to say.
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What if I want more information?

  • Contact 407-823-1200 at any time to consult with an advocate.
  • Learn more in our Helping Handbook for friends and family members.
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