SVPRO offers support for any member of the UBC community impacted by sexual violence, including faculty and other teaching staff. This can include personal experiences as well as secondary and vicarious trauma related to providing support to someone else who has experienced sexual violence..
Our support model centres the individual, meaning your needs and experiences determine what support looks like for you. Learn more about our support services.
A report is not required in order to receive support services from UBC.
See the SVPRO guide to a supportive, compassionate response after sexual violence has occurred.
What is a Disclosure?
If someone tells you about an experience of sexual or gender-based violence, harassment, or harm, you have received a Disclosure. Your role is to make a referral to support services, which UBC provides through SVPRO.
How to respond to a Disclosure
Safeguard privacy and confidentiality
SVPRO is here to provide confidential support and advice to anyone in our community responding to a disclosure. Help safeguard privacy by not sharing information without guidance from SVPRO.
Respond with empathy and support
Ask questions about what support the person needs. Avoid questions about what happened or why it happened.
Minimize negative impacts
To help minimize negative impacts, let the other person know that whatever happened, it was not their fault.
Offer a referral for support related to their needs
For example, someone seeking an academic concession could be referred to SVPRO to help coordinate the concession and any future ones while making sure the person doesn’t have to retell their story each time or to different parties involved. Reporting is not required in order to receive support services from UBC.
If you receive a Disclosure related to an investigation
If someone tells you about sexual violence for the purpose of having it investigated, please refer them to UBC’s Investigations Office and provide information about support services at SVPRO.
Education and training
SVPRO educational programming is developed in consultation with those who will participate in it. We acknowledge that there are many different levels of experience and comfort with these topics across our community, and there is no one right “starting point”. Our team consults with those accessing training, collects information about needs, and then develops engagements that are tailored to the roles and experience levels of the people we are delivering to. Our programming covers the following areas:
Addressing root causes through individual and cultural change. Topics include Media Literacy, Inequity and Power Dynamics, Receiving Feedback, and Intoxication Impact
Addressing incidents as they occur through upstander intervention. Topics include Upstander Intervention, Consent Culture, and Leadership & Organizational Culture.
Addressing trauma that has occurred through empathy building. Topics include Neurobiology of Trauma, Supporting Survivors, SVPR0, and UBC’s Sexual Misconduct Policy.
Presentation and Q&A
Workshop or Training
Consulting (insight, guidance, or strategy)
If you are interested in booking a workshop, training, or consultation, complete the SVPRO Outreach Form.
Sexual Violence and the classroom
Tips and promising practices
Use the syllabus to establish safety and expectations
Include language about academic concessions for traumatic incidents that identifies sexualized violence and gives guidance on the process to access concessions and support.
Include language about conduct and behavioural expectations in learning and research spaces.
Be prepared for Disclosures in class discussions and assignments
Consult with SVPRO to identify the purpose of a Disclosure: is someone providing context, speaking out or seeking social change, seeking support, or seeking accountability?
Consulting with SVPRO does not require sharing any details or identifying information about the person who has disclosed. Consultations are entirely confidential.
Offer referral information based on the purpose of the Disclosure.
Avoid stigmatization or changing expectations or treatment based on a Disclosure, unless you are asked to do so by the survivor.
For more information about Disclosures, see the section above.
When teaching content related to or about sexual violence
Using Content Notes
Content notes are helpful for any materials that may include information that could be distressing to someone impacted by trauma. Beyond sexualized violence, content notes can be used for other types of content related to violence and oppression.
Using a content note does not indicate that a topic should be avoided or that students may avoid engaging with. These are critical topics for us all to engage with, and content notes can help us do so in safer ways. It can be helpful to share with students why we are using content notes and the importance of these topics in our fields.
A content note explains what material will be covered and in what way.
The surprise of the content is often what activates trauma. A content note ensures those impacted can make the best decision for their wellbeing and safety.
Provide content notes for everyone to ensure anyone who needs it will have access to it.
Offer content notes that describe the general nature of difficult materials in advance, as in the syllabus, and again before the content arises in the lesson.
A content note should include information about type of violence, the identities of the person targeted, the level of detail the content covers, and the outcome.
Create choice when possible—for difficult materials, offer alternative ways to participate and/or alternative materials or topics. The idea is not to say students might skip or not cover course content, but rather to think that where alternatives can be provided, to do so. This might look like offering two options for case studies, or offering an alternative reading that also covers the required content. It may be that both options include challenging content; the goal is to enable individuals, survivors especially, to choose the options that are safest for them. Any amount of choice offers a route to greater safety.
Avoid victim-blaming, which can happen as a result of discussion or critique of survivor responses to violence.
Example content note
A class will be completing an assigned reading that includes a woman sharing a personal experience of violence.
Content note: This reading includes a description of violence against a woman, including details about the person who was violent and a description of an incident where she is thrown and injured. Please read it in an environment that feels safe for you and/or reach out to me for resources about how to access support while or after you read this. We will discuss the reading on canvas as usual, but we will not discuss how the woman reacted or responded to the violent incident or why it happened.
When you are able, address incidents in classes or learning spaces
In particular, language that minimizes violence or its impacts, or language used to harass or single out anyone on the basis of their sex, sexuality, gender, and gender expression can enter our teaching and learning spaces. When addressed, it creates less room for individuals to believe that the harmful language or behaviour is acceptable and thus it is less likely these incidents will reoccur, resulting in safer teaching and learning spaces.
Addressing an incident in your classroom or learning environment can be as simple as pointing out the behavior or language and saying it doesn’t match the conduct expectations of the syllabus. You don’t have to get into a protracted discussion. If desired, you can redirect by inviting the individual whose conduct was a problem to follow up with you if they have questions, and then resume your teaching.
If there are issues occurring or recurring that you would like to intervene in but are unsure how, SVPRO has an education team that can consult with you. Submit an outreach request through this online form.
UBC Policy and Resources
UBC’s Sexual Misconduct Policy (pdf) creates a support system for those impacted by sexualized violence, via SVPRO, as well as a separate, voluntary reporting and investigation system through the Investigations Office.
See more details on policy definitions and the support system of SVPRO and the Investigations Office.