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Supporting Survivors of Interpersonal Violence

As a faculty or staff person at Rutgers, you are a valued and trusted member of the community. Whether you are concerned about a student who has had a change in class attendance or quality of work, or a student trusts you by disclosing victimization to you, there are a number of things you can do to be helpful. You are in a unique position to positively impact a victim’s recovery by the way you respond.

Important things to remember when supporting students:

  1. Abuse or violence is never the victim’s fault.
  2. An empathetic and supportive response makes the biggest difference.
  3. VPVA staff is available to support you with the students that disclose to you.
  4. You may have legal obligations as a staff or faculty member of RUC.
  5. Survivors may not know their rights or options, you can provide them with information or refer them to VPVA. If you would like additional information or support, please contact the VPVA staff by calling 856-225-2326.

Faculty and staff have requirements regarding reporting instances of interpersonal violence. Many of these requirements are part of federal law under Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972.  This means faculty and staff may be required to provide notification of a disclosure of sexual harassment or sexual assault to the Title IX Coordinator on campus.

For more information about mandated reporting please visit Title IX Compliance.

Regardless of reporting requirements, only a victim can decide if they want to participate in the criminal justice process or the process on campus. There are many reasons a survivor may choose not the report the incident to authorities.

These reasons may include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Feelings of shame, guilt, and/or self-blame.

  • Fear that no one will believe him/her/them.

  • Fear of retaliation from the other person who abused or assaulted them.

  • Reluctance to repeat personal and traumatic details to authorities.

  • History of mistrust with law enforcement or other authorities.

  • Reluctance to go through a formal process.

  • Fear of parents finding out and/or removing them from school.

  • Not wanting the peson who hurt them to “get in trouble.”

Reporting Requirements

A survivor’s decision not to report must be respected. Remember that when a person is assaulted or abused, their sense of control has been taken away. To regain that control, it’s important that individuals make decisions that affect their life.

In addition to requirements under Title IX, some university faculty and staff may also be required to provide information to a “Campus Security Authority” under the federal Student-Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act of 1990, Public Law 101-542, as amended to the Clery Act of 1998. 

If you have questions regarding the Clery Act or your role as a mandated reporter, please click here.

Bring VPVA to Your Class 

VPVA staff are available to assist you in incorporating interpersonal violence awareness and prevention education into any curriculum or course.

There are two options for class presentations: 

  1. "Don't Cancel Class" is a program developed to encourage faculty to invite us to their class when they might be away or otherwise need to cancel class.
  2. "Guest Lecturing" as part of a curriculum. VPVA staff can guest lecture on a range of topics, including (but not limited to):
    • Dynamics and root causes of interpersonal violence
    • Responses to trauma
    • Resources for survivors
    • Supporting survivors
    • Bystander intervention
    • Intersections of interpersonal violence and social justice
    • Violence prevention

We can also work with you to develop a presentation that is unique to the needs of your class and curriculum! If you are interested in a guest lecturer or classroom presentation, please contact