As a parent of a student, learning that your child was the victim of sexual violence, relationship violence or stalking can be incredibly overwhelming.

Your own feelings of rage, helplessness, guilt, anguish, fear and anxiety are natural. You also might feel the urge to hurry up and "fix" things even when you know that's probably not possible.

Below are some guidelines to help you support your child's recovery.

Questions about reporting should be directed to:


  • It might feel like a role-reversal, but in this situation, as a parent, your job is to listen actively and non-judgmentally.
  • Let your child control what and how much information they want to share with you.
  • Avoid asking questions or digging for details. Digging for every detail can overwhelm or alienate them.
  • Tell them you are there to listen and support them.


  • Assure them that it is not their fault –no matter what.
  • Self-blame and self-doubt are common reactions of victims of sexual violence.
  • As their parent, assure and reassure them that what happened was not their fault.


  • Your child may have told others before they told you. You must accept that their friends, professors, university administration, counselors and etc. may already know what happened to them.
  • Don't put your child on the defense, because what matters is that they came to you now.
  • You can support and help them now.


  • Allow your child to decide the next steps. There is no way to undo the past but your child can decide their future. 
  • Survivors need to maintain the ability to control their next steps and their personal healing process.
  • Where possible, offer guidance and information about available resources and additional support, but let them choose.

Control your emotions

It's completely natural to grieve with your child, but control your emotions when talking about what happened.

  • Remember this is about your child, not about you.
  • It's hard for a child to see their parent struggle, upset or lose emotional control.
  • Do not give your child a reason to feel guilt or shame for sharing their situation with you.

If your child is a victim of stalking

Stalking victims often alienate themselves from friends, family or partners to try to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. If your child is a stalking victim, here's how you can help:

  • Take this seriously. Menacing By Stalking is a crime in Ohio and a violation of University Policies. Stalking victims often fail to report because they don't want to be seen as overly dramatic.
    • Be a source of encouragement, don't amplify their self-doubt.
    • Do not question or doubt what they are telling you.
  • Screen calls, messages and visitors for your child.
  • Maintain their privacy.
    • Do not share your child's personal information with anyone, even if the person asking about your child seems trustworthy and nice.
    • This includes all platforms: social media, online, verbally or written.
  • Obtain photos and other information about the stalker from your child
  • Never confront the stalker yourself.
    • That could result in greater danger to your child or you.
    • Contact the police for assistance.
  • Be aware of your own safety.
    • Stalkers often see the victim's loved ones as "obstacles" and threaten to harm them in order to further harm or control their victim.