Give support

Learn how to give support to survivors of violence.

Violence of any nature can be incredibly difficult for people to process. It is common for people to feel uncomfortable when listening to others describe their experience—we’re worried about saying the wrong thing, not knowing how to help, and sometimes can even feel our own experiences and trauma come forward again.

The most important thing we can do when someone tells us about their experience of being harmed is to let them know that we believe them, we care for them, and there is nothing they did to cause the violence that was done to them.

After that, let them drive the conversation how they want! If someone discloses to you, it means there is a level of trust there; it takes a lot of courage to talk about violence, so that trust is important to maintain if we want to support others.

A graphic of arrows leading in a circle with the title of how to support a friend

  • 1

    Listen without judgement
    Allow the person to share without interruptions

  • 2

    Accept the disclosure as truth

  • 3

    Avoid asking why questions
    Instead, ask "How can I best support you?"

  • 4

    Give options on what to do next
    But trust them to make their own choices

  • 5

    Respect their privacy
    Make every effort to respect confidentiality

  • 6

    Take care of yourself
    Avoid putting yourself at risk by taking on more than you can handle

Adapted from SACE's graphic on supporting a friend

Important: some survivors may not be ready to accept professional help, and that's their choice. Accept "no" as an answer, and respect this decision unless someone's life may be in danger.

Get involved 

Looking to gain more experience related to mental health and violence prevention? Are you passionate about creating healthy, supportive communities?

Volunteer with us! Whether it’s working to develop events and initiatives, build awareness around multiple topics, or meet other like-minded people, there are lots of reasons to join our team.

Take a look at the current opportunities below and submit an application using this form. If you have any questions, please contact us at

Engagement & Support Volunteer

Assist staff in planning and running programming for the Violence Prevention and Support Team, including tabling events across campus. Engagement & Support Volunteers also provide general support and referrals, as needed.

Learn more

Program Facilitator Volunteer

Help the Centre for Growth and Harmony staff with workshops and presentations.

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Digital Media Creation Volunteer

Curate, develop, and maintain the Centre for Growth and Harmony’s online presence on social media platforms and other NorQuest related digital areas.

Learn more

  • A mean wearing headphones taking an online course

    Supporting Survivors of Sexual Violence course

    Learn about sexual assault, stigma and myth-busting, the impact of sexual violence, consent, and how to respond to disclosures of sexual violence in this free, online and self-paced course.

    Take the course

  • Two men in an office having a conversation

    Learner in Distress model

    The Learner in Distress model at NorQuest provides a good framework for how to connect people to resources if that’s what they are looking for, while encouraging you to recognize your own capacity and limits within any situation.

External trainings

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