Traumatic events happen every day, and the CU Boulder community is not exempt. Students, staff and faculty experience harassment, discrimination, assaults, abuse and more.

Group of people walk with arms around each otherThe way we respond to a survivor matters—our response can influence the survivor’s decision to seek out further help and can affect their healing process.

Often, people want to help and sometimes do not know how to respond in these situations. The Office of Victim Assistance (OVA) has provided tips and information on how to support those impacted by a traumatic event.

How to help

If someone shares with you that they have experienced a traumatic event, you should:

  • Remain calm
  • Listen
  • Take the situation seriously
  • Believe the survivor
  • Avoid questioning and judging the survivor
  • Address safety, emotional and physical
  • Acknowledge their feelings are normal
  • Inform your friend they have rights and options
  • Support the survivor in doing what they decide is best for them

For a full list of ways to support a survivor, visit OVA’s website.

Reach out

OVA is a free and confidential on-campus advocacy and counseling center for students, faculty and staff. If you or someone you know has been impacted by harassment, discrimination, sexual assault, intimate partner abuse, stalking, hazing, physical assault and or experiences of bias, reach out to OVA for free and confidential counseling, support and advocacy.

The office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and drop-in hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday – Friday in C4C N352, or call 303-492-8855. After-hours contact information can be found on OVA’s website.

If you have experienced a traumatic or disruptive experience, you can also learn more about your options and how to help by visiting the Don’t Ignore It site.