Recommendations for responding to survivors of sexual assault: A qualitative study of survivors and support providers

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SAGE Publications
Empirical research has repeatedly examined the social reactions survivors receive from informal and formal support providers. This research has also provided an understanding of social reactions survivors perceive as helpful and hurtful. Advocacy agencies provide supplemental information instructing support providers how to respond to survivors in a positive way. However, these sources—to our knowledge—have not specifically asked survivors how they want to be responded to when disclosing assault and what they need in the aftermath of assault. Furthermore, studies have not asked support providers about how to respond to survivors in a positive way. Thus, the information provided to survivors and support providers on positive support may not be “survivor informed.” This study examined recommendations for responding to survivors from two methods. First, as a broader approach, open-ended survey responses from 1,863 survivors were examined for unprompted recommendations on what survivors need following assault. Second, in a sample of 45 informal support dyads, survivors and support providers were specifically asked to provide recommendations on responding to survivors in a positive way. Results include recommendations from survivors to informal supporters, formal service providers, and other survivors on what is needed in the aftermath of sexual assault. Results also include recommendations on responding to survivors in a positive way from interviewed support providers to other supporters. (Author Abstract)
Survey Results, Interview Results, Longitudinal Study, Survivors of Trauma, Service Provider, Adult, Female, Women, Survivor-Service Provider, Survivor Advocate, Multiethnic, Ethnically Diverse, Response to Victimization, Formal Support, Informal Support, Victim Services, Sexual Assault, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Violence, Adult Sexual Victimization, Coerced Sexual Contact, Resource Needs, Disclosure, Social Support, Trauma, Victim Input
Kirkner, A., Lorenz, K., & Ullman, S. E. (2021). Recommendations for Responding to Survivors of Sexual Assault: A Qualitative Study of Survivors and Support Providers. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 36(3-4), 1005–1028.