Offering Support to a Respondent

If you or anyone else is in immediate danger call 911
or the University Police at (414) 229-9911

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence and are not in immediate danger, find confidential support and services on the UWM Campus, and in the Milwaukee area.

If your friend or colleague has been accused of sexual violence, including sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating/domestic violence or stalking, here are some ways you can be supportive:

  • Listen. Listen to your friend’s point of view, and acknowledge their feelings about the situation.
  • Share resources. Let them know institutional resources are available.
  • Don’t ask for details about what happened or why it happened. Let Respondents share what they are comfortable sharing.
  • Ask how you can help. Know that many Respondents may not be able to tell you what they need. Check in again later, or suggest things that may be helpful such as offering to accompany them to counseling, the police station, or campus security, if the Respondent wants your support.
  • Respect the Respondent’s privacy. Do not tell others about the situation, or reveal any names or details. Be aware that if you share the Respondent’s story with individuals named Responsible Employees by UWM, the Responsible Employee will have to make a report to UWM’s Title IX coordinator.
  • Respect the Complainant. Although you may feel angry or confused about the allegations against a friend, DO NOT interfere by retaliating against the Complainant (alleged victim). Attempts to contact the Complainant on the Respondent’s behalf, or to otherwise harm the Complainant, may result in your own administrative or criminal repercussions.
  • Take care of yourself. Supporting a Respondent can be a very emotional and challenging experience. Pay attention to your needs — this could mean setting boundaries, spending time on activities you enjoy, or talking to a friend or counselor if needed. Remember that being a good friend does NOT mean you approve of your friend’s actions and/or choices. You can help your friend without making a judgement as to whether or not an act of sexual misconduct occurred.