Resource Guide for Parents of Students at Universities

Many parents across the nation are sending their children off to college as they learn to become independent and explore the world around them. As a parent, it is completely normal to prepare your children for college and the obstacles they may face.

There are tips and helpful resources that parents can explore and keep in mind when preparing their children for college. As providing tips is helpful, let’s stay mindful and remember that tips do not absolutely guarantee safety—sexual violence can happen to anyone, and it’s not the only crime that can occur on a college campus. It’s important to remember that if you are sexually assaulted on campus it is not your fault—help and support are available.

We have provided a guide of resources below for parents on how to prepare their children for college and how to increase safety on campus. The following tips may help reduce your child’s risk for many different types of crimes, including sexual violence.

  • Staying Safe on Campus: Before your child goes to campus, teach your child that posting their location on social media can be a safety concern. You can also teach them that they should keep their items and home secure by locking the doors and closing the windows when they leave or enter their home, if they live on campus. Taking time to trust others on campus is another component in staying safe on campus; they may make friends fast, but teaching them that it takes time for people to earn their trust before relying on them is important.
  • Alcohol Safety. Many students on campus will be at events that involve alcohol. Teaching your child to know what they are drinking is important and to not leave a drink unattended. Having your child keep a number for a reliable taxi company saved in their phone or on a piece of paper in their wallet can be helpful. Also, making sure your child has cash in their hand to take another mode of transportation can help them leave a situation if they are feeling uncomfortable.
  • Consent. Teaching your child what consent looks like and sounds like is important. Consent is an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent should be clearly and freely communicated. A verbal and affirmative expression of consent can help your child and their partner to understand and respect each other’s boundaries. Consent cannot be given by individuals who are underage, intoxicated or incapacitated by drugs or alcohol, or asleep or unconscious. Consent is about communication.
  • Active Bystander Intervention. Teaching your child on how to be an active bystander can also lessen sexual violence on campus. An active bystander is someone who interrupts a potentially harmful situation. They may not be directly involved but they do have the choice and opportunity to speak up and intervene. Teach them how to create a distraction, how to ask directly if someone is feeling uncomfortable, how to rally others nearby, and how to extend resources and support.
  • Student Activism. There are ways that your child can become an active advocate on campus if they are interested. They can volunteer or participate in educational activities and events on campus around sexual violence through departments and offices. Offices like Student and Advocacy Centers, Counseling Centers, and Student Health Services often offer events on what consent looks like, what a healthy relationship entails, how to stay safe on campus, and how to respond to sexual violence if it does occur.
  • Resources on Campus. There are a variety of resources on campus that students can go to if they do experience sexual violence. These resources include the universities Title XI Office, the Police or Safety Department, Counseling Centers and Psychological Services, Student Health Services, Academic Departments, Visa and Immigration Assistance, and Financial Aid Services.

If you’ve experienced sexual assault, you’re not alone. To speak with someone who is trained to help, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or chat online at