Supporting a Respondent

It can be confusing and overwhelming when someone you know has been accused of a crime, especially a crime as serious and difficult to talk about as sexual assault. Many of the guidelines for Supporting a Complainant who has been sexually assaulted can also apply to supporting someone who has been accused of assault, but here are some additional guidelines for significant others of someone who has been accused:

  • Be available to listen if they decide that they want to discuss the accusations, and try to provide an atmosphere that is conducive to open and honest discussion.
  • Recognize that there is a difference between showing support for and showing support for their actions. You can accept and love them as a person even if you don’t agree with their behavior.
  • Avoid making any judgments or placing any blame on them or their accuser — if you weren’t there, you can’t say for sure what happened.

Whether they are the complainant or respondent you can contact the Title IX Coordinator for more information about resources for you and them, but first be sure that they are comfortable with that. It is important to respect their privacy.

*This content was borrowed with permission from Kansas State University.