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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

Learn more about Indigenous Education and Cultural Services

Give support

You don't need to be an expert to support someone who has experienced sexual violence, and it's okay to not have all the answers. Please read below to learn some helpful tips when supporting someone that has experienced sexual violence. 

Responding to a Disclosure

If you are a student who has questions on how to support an individual who has experienced sexual or domestic violence to ensure they are treated with dignity and respect, please take a look at the resources below and contact a Support Worker if you have any further questions.

If you are interested in learning more about how to support someone affected by sexual violence, you may be interested in attending our Disclosure Training Workshop.  

Ideas on how to give a supportive response

Listen: Be an active listener when someone discloses to you, and do not ask about additional details. Respect what they are willing to share with you.

Thank them for sharing with you: Thank the individual for being comfortable sharing and disclosing their experience to you.

Believe: Tell the individual that it is not their fault and that you believe them.

Empathize: Practice empathy. Understand that this person is sharing a traumatic experience with you, and validate what they are going through.

Ask if there are ways you can support them: Getting support looks different for each person. Asking this lets the individual know that they are in control of the supports that they choose to access if any and that you are ready to support them with that decision-making process. Explore different support options on-campus, and in the community. 

Things to avoid

Victim blaming: Survivors should never be held responsible for acts of sexual violence, under any circumstance. This includes asking things like "What were you wearing?", or "How much did you have to drink?". 

Criticizing the survivor's actions: Survivors are in the best position to define their own needs. It is invalidating to question or criticize a survivor's actions before, during, and after experiencing sexual and/or domestic violence.

Sympathizing with the offender: Avoid saying things that could justify the perpetrator's actions as this will dehumanize and invalidate a survivor.

Confidentiality 

All disclosures made to someone at Ontario Tech should be kept confidential. 

When speaking with an individual who has experienced sexual violence, students are encouraged to always ask the individual how they can best be supported and to ask their consent to connect them to resources such as a Support Worker.

In rare cases, action may need to be taken without the individual's consent. An example of an instance where this can occur is when there is an immediate threat of physical harm to the survivor or someone else in the university community. In this case, contact the Office of Campus Safety.

T: 905.721.8668 ext. 2400 or 905.721.3211 (24 hours)

E: security@dc-uoit.ca

If you have questions about confidentiality when you are supporting someone, you are encouraged to connect with the Case Manager who can provide more information.

Self-care

We recognize that receiving a disclosure can affect you as well. We have services available to provide support to you emotionally as you act as effective support for someone else.

Support Worker: their role is to assist anyone who has been affected by sexual violence, whether they personally experienced the violence or not. This includes those who are acting in a support role to a survivor.

T: 905.721.3392

E: studentlifeline@ontariotechu.ca

Student Mental Health Services is committed to supporting your mental health in a variety of ways including therapy, peer support, groups, self-help resources and more.  

Good2Talk: offers free, confidential helpline providing professional counselling and information and referrals for mental health, addictions and well-being to post-secondary students in Ontario.

T: 1.866.925.5454 (24/7 helpline)

Text GOOD2TALKON to 686868

Responding to a Disclosure

Check out the Disclosure Flowchart as well as the tips below to get a brief overview of what to do when you receive a disclosure.

Ideas on how to give a supportive response

Listen: Be an active listener when someone discloses to you, and do not ask about additional details. Respect what they are willing to share with you.

Thank them for sharing with you: Thank the individual for being comfortable sharing and disclosing their experience to you.

Believe: Tell the individual that it is not their fault and that you believe them.

Empathize: Practice empathy. Understand that this person is sharing a traumatic experience with you, and validate what they are going through.

Ask if there are ways you can support them: Getting support looks different for each person. Asking this lets the individual know that they are in control of the supports that they choose to access if any and that you are ready to support them with that decision-making process. Explore different support options on-campus, and in the community. 

Things to avoid

Victim blaming: Survivors should never be held responsible for acts of sexual violence, under any circumstance. This includes asking things like "What were you wearing?", or "How much did you have to drink?". 

Criticizing the survivor's actions: Survivors are in the best position to define their own needs. It is invalidating to question or criticize a survivor's actions before, during, and after experiencing sexual and/or domestic violence.

Sympathizing with the offender: Avoid saying things that could justify the perpetrator's actions as this will dehumanize and invalidate a survivor.

Confidentiality and reporting

All disclosures made to someone at Ontario Tech should be kept confidential. 

Students, staff, and faculty are encouraged to always ask an individual who has experienced sexual violence how they can best be supported and connect them to resources with their consent (that is, connecting to a Support Worker).

In rare cases, action may need to be taken without the individual's consent. A few examples of instances where this can occur are where:

  • There is an immediate threat of physical harm to the survivor or someone else in the university community, contact the Office of Campus Safety.
    • T: 905.721.8668 ext. 2400 or 905.721.3211 (24 hours)
      E: security@dc-uoit.ca
  • The survivor has been subjected to sexual and/or domestic violence by someone employed by the university (for example, a faculty or staff member).
  • Reporting is required by law (for example, the suspected abuse of someone under 16 years of age, or to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act).

If you have questions about confidentiality when you are supporting someone, you are encouraged to connect with the Case Manager who can provide more information. 

Follow-up

If you have received a disclosure of sexual violence, send an email to disclosure@ontariotechu.ca, indicating the time and nature of the disclosure, taking care not to breach the confidentiality of those involved or include details that may otherwise reveal their identity. After sending the email, you will receive an automatic reply reminding you of the sexual violence resources on-campus and in the Durham community. Please note, this email is not monitored 24/7 and it is not meant to be an online tool for one-on-one support while receiving a disclosure.

Through this reporting information, the university can assess the effectiveness of its approach to sexual and domestic violence prevention and develop programming to address new issues that may emerge.

Self Care

We recognize that receiving a disclosure can affect you as well. The Employee Family Assistance program is available to support you emotionally as you act as effective support for someone else. Some off-campus resources are also available to supporters of survivors. 

Employee Family Assistance Program (EFAP): The EFAP provides full-time continuing faculty/staff, sessional lecturers, post-doctoral fellows and their dependants with quick access to confidential counselling and support services.  To learn more, view EFAP at Ontario Tech.

T: 1.844.880.9142