FAQ for Students
What should I do if I am experiencing interpersonal violence or feel unsafe?
Contact an advocate at CAN! You can call or email anytime to set up an appointment. While we are virtual, advocates are available by phone, email, text message, and videochat. When campus opens back up, advocates will also take in-person appointments and walk-ins at 1101 W. Taylor St.
I am a student at UIC, and I am experiencing violence. How can CAN support me?
CAN advocacy can come in many forms. If you contact us, we will work with you to determine your goals and needs. Depending what you are looking for, we might:
- Listen to your story;
- Help you develop a safety plan;
- Refer you to campus and community resources (like counseling, legal assistance, housing, financial aid, or food support);
- Inform you of your rights at home, work, and in the classroom;
- Communicate with your instructors, advisor, and/or supervisor to ensure you get the accommodations you need to succeed at UIC; and/or
- Accompany you to court, the police station, or an on-campus hearing or interview.
What do you mean by confidential advocacy?
Because CAN advocates are confidential advocates, we are not required to report what survivors tell us. We will only share your story with your permission.
However, please note that there are certain circumstances in which we are legally required to report:
- if you describe violence against a minor (someone under the age of 18),
- if you intend to hurt yourself (at any age), or
- if you or someone you know intends to hurt someone else (at any age).
I think I am experiencing violence, but I’m not sure. What is interpersonal violence? What is gender-based violence?
Interpersonal violence is violence between people (for example, classmates, colleagues, roommates, family members, or people in a dating relationship). Interpersonal violence is used by one person to exert power and control over another person, often in the context of dating, family, or household relationships.
Gender-based violence (or GBV) is violence rooted in gender inequality. It can include sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, sexual harassment, and stalking.
GBV and other forms of interpersonal violence can be physical, verbal, emotional, financial, and/or psychological. Violence can happen in person, online, or over the phone. If you are unsure whether you or someone you know is experiencing violence or you don’t know how CAN advocates can support you, contact us! We are here for you, and we are happy to answer your questions.
No matter what form it takes, violence is never the survivor’s fault.
What is safety planning?
A safety plan is a practical, personalized plan for reducing risks of future harm and increasing your sense of safety (physical safety, technological/online safety, and emotional wellbeing). Safety planning can help keep you safe whether you are in a relationship, planning to leave, or if you have already left a partner. A safety plan can also help if you are experiencing harassment, stalking, family abuse, and/or sexual violence.
At CAN, we believe survivors have the right and expertise to develop their own safety plan. You are the expert on your situation and needs; we are here to provide the tools and strategies to make your plan a reality. This may mean big changes like finding a new place to live or going to court to request an order of protection, or smaller things like changing your email or social media passwords.
To learn more about safety planning, check out:
- Safety Planning – A guide for survivors of sexual violence and stalking from RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network)
- Path to Safety – A safety planning guide for survivors of domestic violence from the National Domestic Violence Hotline
Technology Safety Plan – A guide for survivors and advocates from the National Network to End Domestic Violence
I am worried that someone is monitoring my device(s). How can I be safer online and on my phone?
If you think someone is monitoring your device, contact an advocate at CAN, then exit this website and delete it from your search history. If possible, use a secure device, such as a library computer or a friend’s phone.
If it is safe for you, consider doing the following:
- Use your internet browser settings to increase your privacy by turning off your browsing history or using the browser in private mode (outlined here).
- Change your passwords and/or usernames and log out of your accounts.
- Update your device’s privacy settings. For example, turn off location sharing and Bluetooth sharing.
Check out the Technology Safety Plan from the National Network to End Domestic Violence for additional ways to stay safe online.
How can I advocate for the survivors in my life?
- If someone tells you they have experienced violence, thank them for trusting you. Let them know you believe them and support whatever decision they choose. Tell them that there is help available and connect them with CAN.
- Talk to a CAN advocate yourself to process your feelings.
- Attend a CAN event, workshop, or training to develop advocacy skills and learn more about gender-based violence.