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Supportive ways to redirect potential sharing of interpersonal violence


Below are some ideas provided by The Phoenix Center that faculty and staff can use in cases where a student may begin sharing an incident related to interpersonal violence.  Giving options and choices is one way to empower someone who has been victimized and give back some of the control that was taken from them.  Since most faculty and staff are mandated to report issues of violence, including sexual misconduct, students need to know the places on campus they can go to in order to speak with someone in a confidential manner. 

  • "It sounds like you are dealing with a lot.  Before you say more I want to ensure that you are aware of my role on campus as a mandatory reporter."
  • "It seems like you may need someone to talk to and I want to make sure that I get you to the right person so that we can get you the appropriate support."

  • "I can see that something is troubling you.  If you would like to speak to someone confidentially I would suggest..."
  • "I want to remind you before you go any further that I am a mandatory reporter of issues related to student and campus safety.  What this means is that most people who work on campus are required to tell someone if you share information about another member of campus being unsafe or violent.  There are confidential resources I can make you aware of."

Resources on campus that students can access include the MSU Denver Counseling Center, The Phoenix Center, and the Health Center at Auraria.

If the student continues to share information with you after letting them know about your mandatory reporter status, some ways to respond include:

  • "I believe you."
  • "I am sorry this happened to you."
  • "No one deserves to be abused."
  • "This was not your fault."
  • "You did not deserve to be hurt."
  • "I need to let the University know about what has happened but I want you to know that I'm only going to tell those that can help."

Then, file a report with Student Conduct by calling 303-615-0220, visiting the office in Tivoli 311, or filing a report online at the report an incident site.

Some things to avoid saying when responding include:

  • "Why did you...?"
  • "You really should have done/said..."
  • "Everything will be okay."
  • Avoid words or phrases like "need to," "must," "should," or "have to."
  • "Maybe they misunderstood you."
  • "I am sure they didn't intend to hurt you."
  • "You have to report to the police."

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