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Find Help: For Friends and Family of Victim/Survivor

Find out how to support a friend or family impacted by sexual assault, relationship violence or stalking.

Victims and survivors who experience a traumatic event can have rippling effects on friends and family. As a friend or family, you may be the first responder to a victim/survivor. It is important to know your resources and be aware of your role. Your response plays a critical role in supporting your friend or family and connecting them to resources. The vicitm/survivor needs time to heal, it does not happen overnight.

What you should know

  • Your friend may be afraid of:
    • Being alone
    • Anything that reminds them of the experience or perpetrator
    • Reactions from people they care about
  • Your friend may experience feelings of:
    • Outrage, guilt, anger or embarrassment
    • Physical pain from being hurt and abused
    • Helplessness, isolation, alienation and withdrawal
  • Your friend may have difficulty:
    • Relating to others
    • Expressing affection

How to support a survivor

  • Believe your friend/family member. It takes courage and strength to tell someone about a traumatic event. 

  • Listen to your friend/family member. Give control to your friend/family member.  Let them talk at their own pace. 

  • Offer CARE at SARC as a resource. We are a confidential* resource and available 24/7 for support or to consult. We can provide information regarding medical care, police reports, academic advocacy, and counseling. Give the information about getting help, but let your friend decide when to call. 

  • Seek support for yourself. Resources are availble for you too. You need support so you can continue to provide support for you friend or family. Contact CARE at the Sexual Assault Resource Center, (858) 534-5793, for more information.

*All communications with users of CARE services are privileged and confidential under California Evidence Code Sections 1010-1027, 1035.2 and 1037.2. Accordingly, employees in the CARE Office are not mandatory reporters under Title IX or the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act.


Check out our PSA "Help a Friend" below