Disclosure Conversation Guidance

To promote a compassionate campus community, all employees are expected to respond to a student's disclosure of harassment or discrimination by:

  • Responding with respect and kindness.
  • Listening to the student before handing out referrals and information.
  • Being sensitive to the needs of the survivor, without being judgmental, paternalistic, discriminatory, or retaliatory.

The following guidelines assist an employee with responding appropriately to a student disclosure.

ABCs of Receiving a Disclosure

Acknowledge. Do not Blame. Care. Do not investigate.

Acknowledge and be transparent about obligations.

  • Identify your employee category and share with the student your obligations.
  • If the student is under the age of 18, then share your mandatory reporting of child abuse obligations.
  • If you are a Campus Security Authority, inform the student of your obligation to share de-identified information with the Clery coordinator.

Do not Blame. Use non-judgmental language.

  • Do not take away the student’s autonomy.
  • Do not invalidate or blame the student.
  • Do respect the student’s autonomy, validate and indicate responsibility of violence is with the perpetrator(s).
  • Do stay engaged and focused on student’s needs. Don’t change the topic or immediately press for information. Allow silence and use reflective listening.
  • Actively listen to the student when they disclose with respect and kindness.
    Research by Prof. Jennifer Freyd provides additional helpful general guidelines about listening during the conversation: View Be a Good Listener guide.
  • Use words that convey support, are not judgmental and focus on their experience – not yours. Try not to give advice unless it is requested.

Care. Let them know they will be supported.

  • Listen to what the student wants before handing out referrals and information.
  • Be sensitive to the needs of the student. This can be by using attentive body language, nodding, eye contact, calm demeanor.
  • Provide the student with approved brochure or card or other resources provided by the Dean of Students, UO Title IX Coordinator or Office of Investigations and Civil Rights Compliance AND/OR refer the student to the appropriate websites.
  • Connect the student with Callisto, a secure web resource victims can use to privately record an incident of assault, harassment, or discrimination. https://uoregon.callistocampus.org.
  • Ask the student if they would like you to connect them with confidential resources.
  • Direct the student to the Safe.uoregon.edu and Respect.uoregon.edu websites for additional support and resources.

Do not investigate but discuss reporting.

  • Employees should not attempt to investigate the incident by gathering more information or asking more details than the student volunteers. There are specially trained staff on campus who handle these situations in a manner which best preserves an individual's options, including choosing what information to share and with whom.
  • Inform the student that unless an official report is made, the university probably cannot take action to stop the discrimination or harassment, remedy its effects, or prevent future instances of discrimination and harassment.
  • With a report, the university will take action on the report, though this will be with deference to the student’s wishes whenever possible.
  • Let them know that once a report is made, someone will reach out to them to offer support, resources and options. They can choose to respond or not.

Closing the Conversation

  • At the end of the conversation, let the student know that the student can contact you again should they have further questions, need additional resources or assistance, or decide to report the incident.
  • Ask them if they would like you to follow up with an email, and if so, what a safe email would be for them.
    Important Note: If you email the student as a follow up, make sure that the email is safe for them and do not include any information in the email that identifies the subject.

Information to Share

Some other information that you can share includes:

“I do wish to be a resource for you, and you also have confidential options for sharing this information and receiving support, which are listed on websites that could be helpful such as the SAFE site, RESPECT site or others.

“Would you like me to:

  • Show you the SAFE website?
  • Show you the RESPECT website?
  • Make a call with you to the SAFE line?
  • Walk with you to the (Counseling Center, Crisis Intervention Office, Health Center)?

“Would you like to report this to the university? I can help you contact the:

  • Office of Affirmative Action & Equal Opportunity
  • Title IX Coordinator
  • Dean of Students

“Would you like to report this information to campus or local law enforcement?”

  • I can help you contact the UO police department, Eugene or Springfield police.
  • Eugene and Springfield police do not have to share information with the university.

“If you are unsure of what to do, have you looked at the Callisto tool?”

  • Would you like me to show you the website?
  • Pull up Callisto on your computer or phone.

Disclosing reporting obligations

If you are a Designated Reporter, or the disclosure involves non sex or gender-based discrimination or harassment, you will need to let the individual know that you have an obligation to report what you know to the university:

“I want you to know that [I am a Designated Reporter / I have an obligation to report discrimination and harassment to the university]. This means that while I wish to be a resource for you, you may want to speak with a confidential resources who can keep your information more private.”

“Would you like me to:

  • Show you the SAFE website?
  • Show you the RESPECT website?
  • Make a call with you to the SAFE line?
  • Walk with you to the (Counseling Center, Crisis Intervention Office, Health Center)?
  • Have you looked at the Callisto resource? Would you like me to show you?
  • “When I share this information with the university, what that means is that someone will reach out to you to offer support and resources, and to let you know about your rights. You can choose to respond to them or not.”
  • “In very limited situations, they may have to intervene based on what information they have, but they will keep you informed and ask for your input in what they do.”
  • “You can ask them to remain anonymous or for them to take no action and they will seriously consider your request before deciding upon any course of action.”

Self Care

Finally, remember that self-care is also important. As a Designated Reporter or Student-Directed Employee, your obligation to those who contact you about possible instances of abuse, discrimination or harassment may cause you personal distress. Whether you are distressed from an empathetic perspective, or perhaps even find yourself triggered in regards to an incident in your own life. This is not unusual, and there are resources to help you deal with personal feelings that may arise from dealing with issues of this nature.

Employees can find confidential resources and support information online as well, such as the Ombuds Office or the Employee Assistance Program.