Parents of Survivors/Victims

When your child experiences a violation or traumatic event, you want to be there to help them through it.

Discovering that your child has been assaulted or violated can be distressing, and you may notice the testing of your own emotional well-being. There is no perfect formula for healing; there is no “right” or “wrong” way to act in the aftermath of being violated. A key part of being a supportive person to a survivor is affirming their experience however they may express it.

Remaining calm, believing your child, and giving your child a sense of control are great places to start. Next, be available to talk or listen nonjudgmentally to allow them a safe space to express emotions. Remember to stay attentive to your own needs and feelings as you support your child; it’s not uncommon to experience secondary trauma, sometimes called vicarious trauma, as you help them navigate their own healing journey.

Find more information about secondary trauma and ways to manage it.

More Ways to Help:

You may feel at a loss for what to say to facilitate a supportive environment.

Here are some things to say to a survivor:


  • Nothing! Focusing on just being a listening ear can take the pressure off of knowing the “right” thing to say. Silence is also a great technique to show the survivor that you’re comfortable allowing them time to process their thoughts or feelings without pressure to put them into words.
  • Thank you for sharing this with me.
  • I believe you.
  • You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to, and either way I am here for you.
  • Please take your time.
  • What do you need right now?
  • No one deserves to have this happen to them.

Some things to avoid saying to a survivor:

  • Tell me what happened.
  • Are you sure?
  • You should…
  • What did you learn from this that you might do differently in the future?
  • Had you been drinking?
  • What were you wearing?
  • Why didn’t you fight them off?
  • Why won’t you report it to the police?

See more tips for talking with survivors from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).

Get more information at the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) Guide for Friends and Family.

Parents of Respondents/Accused

If your child has been accused of sexual misconduct, it’s understandable to feel overwhelmed and/or confused.

Our goal is to ensure your child receives appropriate support, receives due process, and is treated respectfully and fairly. Respondents and complainants have the same rights in navigating the University Grievance processes. See LSU’s policies prohibiting sexual misconduct, including complainants' rights.

Under PM-73, the Respondent shall have the right to be presumed not responsible of all allegations until found responsible for the alleged conduct by a Hearing Panel under this policy.

Please note: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) strictly limits the disclosure of a student’s college records without the student’s consent, except in limited circumstances.