RSVP Faculty/Staff Resources

24 Hour Confidential Hotline: 706-542-SAFE

As a faculty or staff member, you are in constant contact with students which may place you in a position where a student may disclose they have been impacted or are being impacted by relationship or sexual violence. Read more about what constitutes relationship or sexual violence. In the event a student makes such a disclosure, please know that you are in a special position to act as a resource. We hope to be able to provide you with the necessary information to be a source of positive support in a student’s time of need. RSVP’s staff of trained advocates are available via our 24 hour hotline 706-542-SAFE should you have any questions about how to support a student in the event of a disclosure. Read more about how an advocate can help.

RSVP staff are also available for class presentations, guest lectures or presentations during staff meetings on any topic related to interpersonal violence (Request a Program). Call us at 706-542-8690 or email Caron Hope, Assistant Director chope@uhs.uga.edu for a consultation.


What to do:

  • First, know your obligations as a responsible employee and refer to the University’s Sexual Assault Response Protocol
  • Make it clear to your students early on about your role as a responsible employee. It can be helpful to note on your syllabi and discuss briefly in class that you are a responsible employee and obligated to report instances or sexual assault and/or relationship violence to the University which may trigger an investigation the student may not want.
  • If you believe someone is about to disclose their experience with relationship and sexual violence with you, it is important to interrupt them and remind them you are not a confidential resource. By interrupting the student, you’re giving the student power to decide what to do next. This is a great time to talk with the student about who is and is not a confidential resource. Let them decide if they would like to continue talking with you.
  • Refer the student to RSVP. An RSVP advocate can confidentially discuss options and resources with the student-survivor and coordinate any care they may need.
  • Be supportive. A student survivor’s disclosure and the reaction they receive is key to their recovery. A negative/unsupportive reaction could dissuade the student from seeking further help or assistance.

What to say:

  • Tell the student your obligations around confidentially & duties as a responsible employee
  • Listen to what the student chooses to share
  • Believe and affirm what the student tells you. Use statements such as:
    • “Thank you for telling me”
    • “I’m sorry that happened to you”
    • “It’s not your fault”
    • “I’m concerned about you”

  • Refer the student to additional resources: Check out this list of confidential and non-confidential resources for students who have been impacted by interpersonal violence.

What now?

  • The student may or may not want to continue talking with you as a resource. Respect their decision on who they want to talk to, and when.
  • As a result of experiencing interpersonal violence, students may report experiences of distress, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating due to trauma. The student may ask for accommodations on coursework.
  • You don’t have to do this alone. You can always contact RSVP if you’d like to talk to an advocate further.
  • Be trauma informed. Contact Caron Hope, chope@uhs.uga.edu, if you are interested in learning more about how to have a trauma informed classroom.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What should I do if a student discloses to me that they has been sexually assaulted or has been/is being impacted by relationship violence?

First, know your obligations as a responsible employee and refer to the University’s Sexual Assault Response Protocol.

It can be helpful to note on your syllabi that you are a responsible employee and obligated to report instances or sexual assault and/or relationship violence to the University.

Affirm the student for reaching out for help, let them know that you believe and support them. Ask about safety issues and encourage the student to contact the police if safety is an issue.

Refer the student to a confidential RSVP advocate to discuss options. Advocates can be reached by calling 706-542-SAFE, or on a walk in basis in the Health Promotion Department located in the University Health Center. Read more about RSVP advocacy. This is an important step as the RSVP advocate can confidentially explain options to the student without triggering a report to police or the University. Once options have been explained, the student survivor can then decide if they would like to report. Some options following a sexual assault are also time sensitive, such as a forensic exam (needs to be done within 120 hours of the assault) or the administration of HIV post exposure prophylaxis (needs to be started within 72 hours of possible exposure). Advocates can explain this to survivors and coordinate this care.

2. How can I support a student who discloses to me that they have been sexually assaulted or has been/is being impacted by relationship violence?

The most important thing you can say to a survivor is that you believe them and support them. “I believe you”, “What can I do to help”, and “It’s not your fault” are helpful, supportive responses. Avoid blaming language such as “you shouldn’t have….” or “why did you….”. And remember that silence is OK too. Encourage the student to contact RSVP to speak with a confidential advocate. Read more about how to support a survivor.

3. Who are confidential resources on campus?

Most UGA employees are responsible employees and mandated reporters. However there are a few individuals and departments on campus who are confidential and do not have to report to the University.

The following departments are designated as confidential support resources and are only obligated to report non identifying information about a survivor to the University. The only exception is if there is an overriding risk to campus safety.

The following departments have statutory privilege and are not obligated to report any information regarding a student-survivor to the University:

All other faculty and staff are non-confidential and must report instances of sexual misconduct per UGA’s Sexual Assault Response Protocol.

4. What are some red flags that a student may be in distress?

Behavior following a traumatic experience can vary greatly. Some signs to look out for are:

  • Academic performance concerns, uncharacteristic changes
  • Declining grades or reduced class participation
  • Incomplete or missing assignments
  • Repeated requests for extensions, incompletes, or withdrawals
  • Increased absenteeism or tardiness
  • Disruptive classroom behavior
  • Apparent memory loss or difficulty concentrating
  • Cheating, rule breaking, or defiance
  • Poor organization skills or trouble with note taking
  • Bizarre, aggressive or morbid comments or written content
  • Expressions of feeling hopeless, helpless, guilty and/or worthless
  • Self-injury or other self-destructive behavior
  • Chronic fatigue, falling asleep in class
  • Symptoms of being easily distracted, “spacey,” or a tendency to daydream
  • Nervousness or tearfulness
  • Marked changes in regular habits or activities
  • Significant weight gain or loss
  • Signs of intoxication, dilated or constricted pupils, or apparent hangovers
  • Poor or declining physical appearance, hygiene, and grooming
  • Hyperactivity or rapid, pressured speech
  • Extreme boredom, negativism, defensiveness, and secretiveness
  • Comments by others about alcohol or drug use
  • Erratic behavior, sudden mood swings, inappropriate anger, hostility, and irritability
  • Hyper-expansiveness or grandiosity
  • Withdrawal from others or loss of pleasure in everyday activities
  • Talk of suicide or harm to self or others

If you notice one or more of these symptoms or behaviors and are concerned, consider referring the student to Counseling and Psychiatric Services. Read more about their services and how to refer a student.

5. Does RSVP serve male student survivors?

RSVP advocates can assist any student who has been impacted by interpersonal violence regardless of race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity or national origin, religion, age, genetic information, disability or veteran status.

6. If I refer a student to RSVP, am I able to receive updates or can you share information with me?

RSVP services are confidential. The only information that can be shared is what the student chooses to share or provides permission to share.


This guide is not inclusive of all of the issues that may arise when students experience interpersonal violence. RSVP is here to help.


Contact us anytime with questions or concerns via email chope@uhs.uga.edu or our 24 hour hotline 706-542-SAFE