Appendix 3: Caring for the person exposed to sexual violations or assault

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For someone who has been the victim of an assault it is crucial to be seen and believed. For that reason it is important to create a space where this person can decide for themselves what they wish to convey. Do not force anyone to go into detail. The “headlines” are usually enough. Tell the pupil you are glad they told you of the event(s), and that you want to help them so this never happens again.

Different people should be in charge of supporting the child exposed to violations or assault, and the adolescent who inflicted the violations or assault(s).

Provide comfort and support. Be attentive and ask open questions. “Tell me more about it” is often nice encouragement. Inform the child they can also receive help from the school nurse or a psychologist, to name a few.

Document questions and answers after speaking with the child. This can come in handy when planning how to follow up later. It will also be important to the Police if the event is being reported.

Don’t promise the pupil you will keep what they tell you to yourself. You can only decide if you should proceed with involving more people after having heard the pupil’s account. There is also a chance of your duty to avert coming into play.

If you need to involve other agencies, always let the pupil know what you are doing and why you are doing it. In the case of a police report, confer with the Police to find out what you can tell the pupil, and when. However, do not let this hinder you from being a steady source of support for the child or young person.