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For Sexual Assault Survivors and their Family and Friends

How to Help

If you are a family member or friend of someone who has been sexually assaulted, your support as a friend or family member can make a big difference. Some sexual assaults involve family members and can continue over a period of years. Other sexual assaults involve friends or strangers and may happen only once. If a friend or family member confides in you, you are already a trusted person. To show you are supportive:

  • Listen. It doesn't matter so much what you say, but more how well you listen.
  • Believe the survivor. People rarely make up stories about a sexual assault.
  • Show that you care. This may be the first time your friend has ever told anyone about the sexual assault. Give whatever expression of sympathy is comfortable for both of you.
  • Reassure the survivor that she or he is not to blame. No matter what the situation, the offender is responsible for the assault.
  • Respect the privacy of your friend or family member. Although lots of tough decisions need to be made like whom to tell, when to tell, what to do let the survivor be in control of those decisions.
  • Let your friend or family member know that laws and services exist to protect and to help her/him. Encourage the person to call the King County Sexual Assault Resource Centers 24-hour Sexual Assault Resource Line: 1-888-99-VOICE, for more information and for resources that are conveniently located and culturally appropriate.


For more information on sexual assault and available resources, see How to Get Help and FAQs

For more information, call the Seattle Human Services Departments Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention program at 206-386-1001.

For more information about our partners and other programs and services, visit:

Seattle Human Services Department
Street address: 700 5th Avenue, Suite 5800, Seattle, WA 98104
Mailing address: PO Box 34215, Seattle, WA 98124-4215

Phone: 206-386-1001
Fax: 206-233-5119
TTY/TTD: 206-233-2778

Accommodations for people with disabilities provided upon request.