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Faculty & Staff Violence Prevention Resources

Faculty and staff at UW–Madison play an important role in preventing and responding to sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking on campus. Through instruction, research, and student support, you have opportunities to foster a safe and supportive community. Visit our Survivor Support Services department for more information.

Syllabus statements

Including a statement in your syllabus about the resources available to students who are impacted by violence can set positive norms around respect, safety, and seeking support. For various perspectives on the use syllabus statements: read this article from The Chronicle. Here are some language options:

Experiences of sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking affect many students on this campus and can create barriers to learning. UW–Madison is committed to fostering a safe, productive learning environment and offers a variety of resources and options for students impacted by violence. Learn about the free, confidential services available on campus and in the community.

UW–Madison is committed to fostering a safe, productive learning environment. Title IX and our school policy prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex or gender identity, which includes forms of sexual misconduct such as sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. We understand that sexual violence can undermine students’ academic success and encourage students who have experienced some form of sexual misconduct to talk to someone about their experience, so they can get the support they deserve.

UW–Madison offers a variety of resources and options for students impacted by sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. Learn about the free, confidential services available on campus and in the community.

Please know that as an instructor I am committed to supporting survivors of sexual misconduct, including sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. However, there are university policies that may require me to report disclosures about sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator (compliance.wisc.edu/titleix) whose role is to coordinate the University’s response to sexual misconduct.

UW–Madison offers a variety of resources and options for students impacted by sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. Learn about the free, confidential services available on campus and in the community.

Alerts for emotionally difficult material (trigger warnings)

Instructors who include readings, films or discussions that contain content related to sexual violence, intimate partner violence or other traumatic experiences may want to consider incorporating information that alerts students that the course includes such material. These alerts can help students prepare for the content and how to best take care of themselves. Here is an example:

This course may include readings, media, and discussion around topics such as sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, physical violence, and identity-based discrimination and harassment. I acknowledge that this content may be difficult. I also encourage you to care for your safety and well-being.

You may also want to consider whether you will offer alternative options for emotionally triggering materials. If so, it’s important to consider how you will let students know about this option and what students will be expected to share with you to access it.

For various perspectives on the use of trigger warnings: read a New York Times article, Why I Use Trigger Warnings.

 

Responding to student survivors

Student survivors are most likely to confide in friends and trusted adults.  Your response can be an important part of their path to healing and critical their continued access and pursuit of educational opportunities.

If a student discloses to you, it is generally a sign that they trust you and feel you are caring person. Some reasons they may be coming to you:

  • You have conveyed that you promote respect and safety.
  • They perceive that you are in a position to offer assistance, like adjusting their work schedule or helping them with academic adjustments.
  • They don’t know where else to go.

By educating yourself and following some simple guidelines, you can confidently and effectively respond to students who have experienced sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking.

Tips for providing support

Be clear about your role

It’s important to be honest and clear about the limits of your confidentiality before the student shares their experience. Something you could say:

Before we continue, I want to let you know that I may be required to report information that is shared with me about incidences of sexual violence and harassment to campus officials. This could prompt an investigation and a campus crime warning. If you would like to first speak with someone who is confidential, I can help you to get connected with one of those resources.

Providing students with this information allows them to make informed decisions about how they feel is best to proceed. Some students may choose not to share information about their experience but may still need your help to arrange supportive adjustments in class or at work.

Above all, your role is to provide a compassionate and appropriate response to the student.

Listen, Support, Refer

Listening is the single most important thing that you can do. No one deserves to be the victim of violence, regardless of the circumstances. Let the student know they are not to blame.

Listen

Try: I’m sorry that happened. Thank you for telling me.

Instead of: How much were you drinking? Why didn’t you call the police?

Allowing the student to make choices about how to proceed after an assault or an abusive relationship is a way for them to regain control that was taken away. Work with them to consider what options are available and how you may be in a position to provide help, for example, by granting changes to assignments, providing extensions, etc.

Support

Try: What do you think would be helpful for you today?

Instead of: I think you need to report this right now.

You are not expected to be an expert; however, you can direct the student to offices and agencies who have well-trained staff to provide victim support.

Refer

Try: Would it be helpful to talk to someone further about this?

Instead of: You need to talk to the Dean of Students Office about this immediately.

Know Your Reporting Obligations

UW–Madison employees are required to report first-hand student disclosures of sexual assault. These reports may trigger crime warnings and institutional investigations.For more information about employee reporting obligations and UW–Madison’s process for responding to reports of sexual violence:

Consult the Provost Memo on Safe Learning and Working Environments or contact:

Title IX Coordinator
titleix_coordinator@wisc.edu

Clery Program Director

Dean of Students Office
dean@studentlife.wisc.edu
608-263-5700