What is a disclosure?
A disclosure is when someone informs another person that they have experienced sexual violence, sexual harassment, stalking, domestic violence and/or sexual misconduct. This may be the only action someone takes and it may not be clear from the beginning of a conversation that a disclosure is about to occur.
All members of the Goldsmiths community are expected to follow the key principles of best practice in responding to disclosures:
- Listen non-judgmentally
- Acknowledge what someone has shared with you
- Respond in good faith that they are telling the truth
- Understand that the person disclosing is choosing to share something personal and often painful with you
- Be led by the person disclosing
- Engage choice – create a space for the person disclosing to decide what they want to do next
- Be honest about what you can and can’t do – being clear about the boundaries of your role
- Let someone know what further support is available – these can be internal and specialist external services
- Be aware of yourself and know you can access support if you need and want to
What are the limits of your responsibility?
First and foremost you should give a supportive response and signpost to appropriate services.
You are not investigating so you do not need to take a detailed statement from the person disclosing.
If the person you are speaking to wants to give details, signpost them to the online reporting platform Report and Support or they can speak to our appropriately trained staff in student wellbeing and HR.
What if the person wants to take action?
If the person disclosing to you wants to explore action that can be taken, you should signpost them to ways to report either to the college or the police. The decision to take action should be led by the person disclosing and you should not encourage or discourage them either way.
Reporting to the College
Someone can report to the college using this platform. Alternatively students can contact the student wellbeing or complaints and appeals. Staff can contact human resources to talk through the reporting process.
If the person disclosing to you names or identifies a member of staff or a student and wants the college to take action then the disclosure becomes a report. Once the College knows about a report it generates a case and may lead to disciplinary action being taken. For more information about these processes and possible sanctions take a look at the student disciplinary and staff disciplinary procedures.
If an emergency the police can be called on 999, otherwise 111 or a local police station number should be used. It may be preferable for someone to report to a sexual assault referral centre where information and evidence can be taken by specially trained staff. In London these are the Havens. The College has a clear policy that you should not report to the police on someone else’s behalf unless someone is a serious risk of harm.
– Report and Support
– Goldsmiths Policy on Sexual Violence, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct
– RASASC Empowerment Model