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How to Support Someone Who Has Experienced Assault

man with hands on face

Assault is an incredibly challenging thing to deal with—especially sexual assault. Data shows that just 6 percent of sexual assaults in our country are ever reported to the police. For friends and family members, supporting a person who has been assaulted can help them overcome the challenges. In this article, you will find an overview of some of the key things that you can do to support someone who has experienced assault. 

Connect them With the Right Professional Resources

Dealing with a sexual assault or any other type of traumatic assault on your own is extremely hard. Victims need the right professional help. It is crucial that friends and loved ones encourage the victim to seek professional help from a qualified therapist or counselor or any other party. A trained professional can offer the necessary support, guidance, and resources to help the victim cope with the trauma. Offer to research and provide information on local rape crisis centers, counseling services, or support groups. Be prepared to help them make appointments and even accompany them to their first session if they need extra support.

Be Ready to Listen to Take their Concerns Seriously

Victims of sexual assault need to be heard and validated. Listening to them without judgment is an essential part of providing emotional support. Encourage them to talk about their experience and express their feelings. Be empathetic and offer support and comfort without trying to fix their problems. Let them know that they are not alone and that their feelings are valid. Of course, if they want advice and you can offer genuinely helpful advice—such as seeking professional support—sharing that guidance is appropriate.  

Do Not Pressure Them into Disclosing Details that they are Comfortable With

Never pressure a victim of assault to open up to you with more details than they are truly ready to share. It is essential to respect the victim’s boundaries and avoid pressuring them to share details they are not comfortable with. Let them control the pace of the conversation and what they want to share. Reassure them that you are there to support them, regardless of what they choose to disclose. Keep their disclosure confidential unless they give permission to share with others.

Facing an Assault Charge is a Serious Matter: We Can Help

Were you or a loved one arrested and charged with sexual assault? It is a serious criminal offence that requires a proactive approach. A conviction could cost you your reputation, your freedom, and even your future. Do not go up against law enforcement officers or prosecutors alone. It is imperative that you have a top legal advocate on your side. 

At N.J. Preovolos Law Corporation, our Vancouver criminal defence lawyer, has the skills and experience to handle the full range of assault charges. Contact us today for a strictly confidential initial appointment. With a legal office in New Westminster, we defend assault charges and sexual assault charges in Vancouver and throughout the surrounding region in British Columbia.