Section 3: Supporting Survivors Training Guide

Slide Deck Outline

This section complements the facilitator notes included in the slide deck. It provides suggestions on how to “go deeper” into topics depending on time available, audience interest, and goals for the training.

There are several sections in the slide deck where the information provided can and should be specific to the institution delivering the training. Sections where institution specific information should be inserted include: land acknowledgement, on-campus support services and community-based victim services, and the institution’s sexual violence and misconduct policy.


  • Title Slide
  • Land acknowledgement: Adapt your institution’s land acknowledgement. Territorial acknowledgements are designed as the very first step to reconciliation. What we do with the knowledge of whose traditional lands we are on is the next important step. Some questions to consider as you acknowledge your territory:
    • What do we do as good guests here?
    • What can you do in your personal and professional roles to contribute to reconciliation? Should your institution have an approved territorial acknowledgement, please use that to open the session; however, we invite you to consider how to make that institution statement more personal and specific to you in this moment and in the work you are about to delve into with your learners. Alongside every act of violence exists a parallel story of resistance to that violence and so Indigenous people’s historical and ongoing resistance to colonial violence must also be recognized. For more information please see Section 1: Territory Acknowledgement and Section 2: Roots of Violence and the facilitator notes for the Land Acknowledgement slide.
  • Welcome and facilitator introductions:
    • Option to have name tags for learners where they can indicate their names and preferred pronouns.
    • Option to have facilitators’ names, pronouns, and positions on title.
    • Recommendation for an additional slide describing the specific department or service at your institution that is providing this workshop as well as the services / programming they provide. Link to your institution’s sexual violence and misconduct policy.
  • Workshop expectations: Facilitators should explain that they will be available after the workshop has concluded to debrief with any learners that require support and that the institution’s counselling services are available. Additionally, learners can private message a specific facilitator (email), should they require support.

Section 1: What is Sexual Violence and What Can It Look Like?

  • Learning outcomes for this training
  • Definitions: Sexual Violence: Recommendation to go deeper by continuing discussion on power, control and privilege in relation to sexual violence i.e.,sexual violence is about power not about sexual desire. For example, understanding sexual violence as an act of force and theft on an individual in the same way that colonization is the forcible theft of land and has supported acts of rape, genital mutilation, forced sterilization, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Girls and Women.
  • Definitions: Consent: Recommendation to go deeper by focusing on why it can be challenging for some people to say no, again focusing on power dynamics of situations and relationships. Consider the messages that some people receive in childhood and certain cultural contexts – what groups are encouraged to be submissive and compliant (women, children/youth, people of colour)? Conversely, what groups are given the message that they have entitlement to things and people (i.e., cisgender men and boys)? Link to patriarchy and colonialism.
  • Possible scenarios activity (adapted to audience): Recommendation to go deeper by exploring the power dynamics and social locations (intersectionality) of the characters in the scenario.
  • Listen, Believe, Support framework: The likelihood that learners may one day receive a disclosure is significant. The type of response that a survivor receives when they disclose can greatly impact their emotional and psychological health.

Section 2: Impacts of Sexual Violence

  • Impacts of Trauma: While responses to trauma look different for each person, the potential for impact across all domains of life and health is high. Be aware of how different groups may experience trauma. Coping and adaptation patterns (such as high risk behaviours, e.g., substance use, unsafe sex practices, etc.) may have developed in response to trauma and can be passed from one generation to the next.
  • Types of Trauma: Intergenerational, vicarious. We can’t make assumptions about how a survivor may respond to sexual violence.
  • Barriers to disclosure: Recommendation to go deeper by exploring why these barriers are present, specifically focusing on power dynamics and social locations of survivors and responders.
  • Rape culture: Recommendation to go deeper by exploring elements of culture (i.e., media) that support rape culture and sexual objectification: misogynistic lyrics, violent pornography, attitudes of those in power. Regarding pornography, option for discussing what aspects of porn might promote rape culture (i.e., non-consensual, objectification, violence etc.). Also acknowledging that consuming porn is not shameful and there is pornography that demonstrates consent and shifts from a solely male gaze. See Roots of Violence in Section 2.
  • Overlapping marginalizations: Research shows that certain groups of individuals disproportionally experience sexual violence. However, it is important that the facilitator makes explicit that groups are at risk for violence as a result of systemic discrimination within institutions and communities not through actions of their own.
  • Perpetrators: Recommendation for extending the discussion: examples of victim blaming found in rape culture (survivor’s choice of clothing, environment, state of mind, etc.).


Section 3: Responding to disclosures of sexual violence

  • Goals of responding: Remind learners to consider their own social location in relation to the person disclosing. How can you increase the comfort of the person disclosing? How can you use your privilege to best support this person (e.g., are you in a position of authority or leadership in the institution)?
  • Empathy (video)
  • Active listening: The survivor will share their sexual violence experience because they see you as a safe and trustworthy person. Listen to what they want to share and mirror the language they are using to show that you understand.
  • Believe: Validation and understanding can provide emotional comfort for the survivor.
  • Disclosing vs. reporting: Facilitator should be aware of the institution’s sexual violence response policy, specifically any limits to confidentiality and the responsibilities of staff to report incidences of sexual violence. Consult with the appropriate administrator to better understand any staff responsibilities to report.
  • Take away: There are many options for survivors and decisions on how to proceed and decisions do not need to be made immediately. Consulting with Community-Based Victim Services to better understand survivors’ options is recommended.
  • Support: The person who is disclosing has complete control over what next steps and actions, if any, will be taken next. This includes whether or not to report, seek support services, or share this information with anyone else.
  • Support services: Facilitators should ensure they are familiar with their institution’s various support services, especially any positions designated to receive disclosures and reports. Facilitators should also be familiar with local community-based services, as well as VictimLinkBC, and any access/inclusion considerations. Facilitators should be aware of accommodations that are available to survivors, such as academic or residential accommodations and whether these accommodations are accessible without filing a formal report. Be aware of accommodations for employee disclosures as well. Populate the slide with institution and community specific services (including website and phone numbers) and adapt to the audience demographic.
  • Self-care: Once a substantive list of self-care practices are generated by the learners, consider challenging the individualistic nature of self-care, highlighting that care from the community and resources from institutions are also needed. Excellent blog post on “The Unspoken Complexity of Self Care.”
    The 9 dimensions of self-wellness placed on the wellness wheel.
    The 9 dimensions of self wellness: Physical, emotional, academic/career, social, creative, spiritual, environmental, financial, and intellectual.

    The Wellness Wheel illustration in the slide deck was developed by Jewell Gillies, Musgamgw Dzawada’enux (they/them/theirs), and aligns with Indigenous traditional practices that view wellness holistically. You can download a handout version to share with learners here: BCcampus Wellness Wheel Worksheet [PDF].

  • Practice Listen, Believe, Support (activity): Practice the Listen, Believe, Support framework in partners. Important: To avoid potentially triggering learners, they should be asked to disclose a challenging, non-sexual event (i.e., a disagreement with a friend, being fired from a job, failing an exam). The framework and response remains the same but the disclosure can be something benign like what they did last weekend. Debrief activity.


  • Resisting rape culture: Focus on the actions individuals can do, in their everyday lives to make society safer for others. Link to active bystander actions.
  • Revisit scenarios activity (post-assessment): Re-read original scenario from the first section. Facilitate group discussion on what knowledge and skills the learners now possess. Focus on awareness of the impacts of sexual violence, practised responding skills and knowledge of local resources.
  • Acknowledgements
  • Thank you for participating


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Supporting Survivors: Training and Facilitation Guide Copyright © 2021 by Sexual Violence Training Development Team is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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