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We R Here: Support Services for Victims of Violence

As difficult as it is to be a victim or survivor of a crime, it is also very difficult to be the friend or loved one of that victim or survivors.  You may be wondering what to do or how to be helpful.  You may also have some issues that you need to talk about.  For any or all of these reasons you may contact our office at (856) 225-2326.

  • VPVA offers counseling, advocacy, and support to students who have experienced sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, and harassment (interpersonal violence). We are a confidential resource for students.

  • Support and consultation to those (friends, roommates, family members, staff and faculty, etc.) impacted by the student's experiences

  • Educational opportunities to learn about interpersonal violence, how to be an engaged ally, and how to support survivors

Supporting Student Survivors

There are many things that you can do to help your student through this very difficult time. 

You may be experiencing any or all of the following:

  • Feeling hurt and/or angry

  • Feeling like you should have been able to protect your student

  • Feeling upset or angry that you or your student did not/could not do something to prevent the crime from occurring

  • Focusing on retribution

  • A desire to have your student return home

  • Wanting to tell your student what to do to respodn to or heal from this experience.

Although these are all normal reactions, they are usually not very helpful for your student. Victims of interpersonal violence have had a traumatic experience. The way in which this trauma is expressed, however, is different for everyone.

Your student may feel:

  • guilty, ashamed, dirty, afraid, or confused

  • a loss of control and power over their life.

  • uncomfortable telling you, perhaps feeling as though you need to be protected from the trauma

  • ashamed or fear being blamed or think that you will be angry at them.

Your student needs you to:

  • Provide support and understanding, even if you don’t agree with the they are making

  • Not blame or chastise them for what they did or did not do.

  • Be a good listener and help them feel safe and secure.

  • Accept that the feelings they are experiencing are normal.

  • Understand that they may be afraid and, for the moment, need a place to feel safe. This may or may not mean going home.

  • Encourage them to talk, but understand that each survivor has a different recovery pace.

  • Let them know that you are available to listen.

The staff at VPVA is prepared to assist you and your student during this difficult period. It is also important to understand that even if the crime occurred a long time ago, your student may have emotional responses as if it just happened. You can call VPVA at 856-225-2326.

Talking to Your Student About Consent and Healthy Relationships

Issues of interpersonal violence can be very difficult to talk about. Even thinking about it may bring up feelings that are distressing. Being embarrassed or ill at ease is normal but should not get in the way of helping your student.

If you know someone who has experienced interpersonal violence (sexual violence, domestic/dating violence, stalking or harassment), they need you to provide support and understanding, and to do so in a non-judgmental and non-controlling way.

When someone has experienced an act of interpersonal violence, his/her sense of control and power over his/her life has been taken away. In order to regain that control, s/he needs to make decisions about reporting to the police or school, seeking medical attention, counseling and whom to tell. Each person needs to move at his/her own pace and you can help by making sure they have the information and support to make their own decisions. Some of the things that you can do to assist in the victim’s recovery are:

  • Be there for the person
  • Be non-judgmental
  • Listen to what the person has to say
  • Present options and offer to go with the person to get help
  • Don't force the person to do anything they aren't ready to do