Help someone else

If someone you know within the Ohio State community has experienced protected class discrimination, harassment, and/or sexual misconduct, we can help you help them. Sometimes the most valuable advice comes from someone the individual already trusts. Whether you're a friend, roommate, colleague, parent, or concerned member of our faculty or staff.

While you are not expected to act as a counselor, when you are with someone who has experienced discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct, you should be aware that the supportiveness of your response can be critical in the healing process. Remember, when someone discloses to you, it means that they trust you and believe you can help. Though there is no one "right" way to respond, the following may serve as a guide in supporting someone who confides in you.

What should I do?


  • Confirm the person's safety. Ask them, "Are you safe right now?" If they say no, help them get to a safe place. Call 911 if necessary. The Ohio State University Police Department can assist anyone on campus without the need to initiate a criminal investigation.
  • Listen openly and be supportive. Refrain from judgmental questions. Don’t allow myths to affect how you perceive the situation. Your role is not to determine whether something occurred. Your primary responsibility is to remain supportive while referring the person to others who are trained to provide assistance.
  • Encourage the person to seek supportive measures. Confidential and non-confidential campus and community options are available at

What should I say?


If you have a duty to report, you may say: “Thank you for trusting me, I value your safety and experience. I would like to connect you with resources that can be supportive to you and as a staff member of Ohio State I am required to report things like this to the Office of Institutional Equity for your safety. Their office can connect you with resources on campus where you can discuss your situation confidentially and seek support if you need it. I can’t promise an outcome, but I can promise that there are options available for you should you accept them when OIE contacts you. If there is anything that you need to feel safer on campus, you can speak with one of the Civil Rights Intake Coordinators.”

  • Help the person get medical care if needed.
  • Help the person consider whether to make a report with the police or with the University.
  • Direct the person to on-campus or off-campus confidential counseling and advocacy resources.
  • Let the person know Civil Rights Intake Coordinators in OIE can help with requests for supportive measures such as no-contact directives, housing relocation, adjustment of schedules, time off, etc.

Who should I contact?

Report the incident to the Office of Institutional Equity through an online report at, phone (614) 247-5838, or

  • Remember that the people reading and responding to this report will be completely unfamiliar with the situation –please include as much detailed information as you have. Include full names if known (e.g., the date/time/location of incident, description of the incident, Include how you got the information, and follow the instructions provided by the resources or staff you speak to.
  • Survivors of crimes such as sexual assault, stalking, domestic or dating violence are strongly encouraged to report the crime to law enforcement.
  • Information about supportive measures, campus resources, rights and policies can be found on the OIE website:

All Ohio State employees, including student employees, are required to report incidents of sexual assault immediately, including all known details of the incident (name, date, time, location). Other employees (faculty, chairs/directors, supervisors, HR personnel) are required to report all other protected class discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct within 5 days. University employees working under a license providing privilege may be exempt from reporting requirements. You can learn more about the duty to report here, or within the Non-Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy.

  • If you are required to report the incident, explain your reporting responsibilities to the person who has disclosed the information to you. If you are able to explain options for confidential resources before receiving the disclosure, it is good to give someone a choice whether to disclose to a mandated reporter.
  • If you learn information that you have to report, remember that report = support. When you report to the university, the survivor will receive rights and options to help them understand their choices. they are not obligated to proceed with any resources or processes.

See our handout for faculty and staff with reporting procedures and a list of resources.

Additional tips

What to say to a victim/survivor:

  • I’m sorry this happened to you.
  • It wasn’t your fault
  • Thank you for trusting me with this information.
  • I’m always here if you want to talk.
  • Can I help you get connected to resources?
  • Survivors of hate crimes and crimes such as sexual assault, stalking, domestic or dating violence are strongly encouraged to report the crime to law enforcement.

What NEVER to say to a victim/survivor:

  • It was your fault
  • You could have avoided it had you __________.
  • It’s been so long! Get over it!
  • You wanted it. / You were asking for it.
  • It’s not that big of deal; it happens to lots of people.
  • I don’t believe you.