Safety First

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Safety First

It is important to make sure that the person who was violated feels safe and is not in immediate danger.

Are they in immediate danger?

If the person is in immediate danger, work with them to get them out of that situation. This could include calling 911. Remember that some people do not feel comfortable or safe calling the police and may not want you to call 911. 

Creating Safety

If they live with the person who perpetrated the sexual violence, they may want to (temporarily or permanently) relocate to a friend’s or a relative’s house, or a transition house (no cost to residents). See Get Help for a list of transition houses.

If the person who perpetrated the sexual violence has keys to their space, you might ask the victim/survivor if they want to have their locks changed, and if they would like you to contact a locksmith.

If the assault just happened and they are at home, creating safety could mean locking the doors, making themselves feel as comfortable as possible, and encouraging self-care strategies.

If the person told you via phone, text or an online message and they are not somewhere that they feel safe, you can stay on the phone or exchange messages until they arrive somewhere that they do.

Do they want company?

Another consideration is if they want company. It is okay if they want to be alone. If they do want company, it is crucial to ask what they need and respect their boundaries. Do they want to talk about what happened or do they need to be distracted? Do they want to be touched or hugged?

Engage

What are some things to think about when someone discloses and they...



 

...are in immediate danger.


Work with them to get them out of that situation. This could include calling 911 if they are comfortable doing so.


 

...called or messaged you.


If they are not somewhere that they feel safe, you can stay on the phone or exchange messages until they arrive somewhere that they do.


 

...live with the person who perpetrated the violence.


They may want to relocate to a friend’s or a relative’s house, or a transition house. If the person who perpetrated the sexual violence has keys to their space, you might ask the victim/survivor if they want to have their locks changed, and if they would like you to contact a locksmith.


 

...don’t want to be alone.


It is crucial to ask what they need and respect their boundaries. Do they want to talk about what happened or do they need to be distracted? Do they want to be touched or hugged?