Who does SHARPP serve?
SHARPP is a free and confidential resource for UNH faculty, staff, and students who have been impacted by interpersonal violence (sexual assault, relationship abuse, stalking, and sexual harassment), regardless of whether that experienced happened during their time at UNH or not. Our services are available to individuals who have directly experienced interpersonal violence as well as the family, friends, and loved ones who are supporting them. SHARPP strives to provide culturally responsive services to individuals of all identities including gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, ability status, and age. We know that interpersonal violence can impact people differently based on identity and strive to operate from intersectional, power-conscious, and empowerment-based frameworks to ensure that our services are holistically supporting individuals wherever they are.
How can SHARPP help me?
Reaching out for help can be challenging and takes a lot of courage. It can be helpful to know some of the reasons why others have reached out to SHARPP for help. Please know that the below list is not exhaustive, but rather serves to provide some examples. If you are unsure, please contact us and we can explore ways we can be supportive, including connecting you to any additional or external resources.
- You had an experience that didn't feel good or was harmful, even if you aren't sure if it was assault or abuse, and want to talk with someone about it.
- You have identified your experience as assault or abuse and want to know more about the resources available without having to report it.
- You think you might want to report your experience to the school or police and want to know more about what those processes look like.
- Someone in your life has experienced interpersonal violence and you want to know more about how to help them.
- You have concerns that your friend is in an abusive relationship and want to know more about how you can help them.
Advocates are confidential SHARPP staff and volunteers who meet with survivors to provide a wide range of services. All advocates have completed a minimum of 30 hours of training on interpersonal violence and the systems survivors may encounter. Advocates aim to assist survivors by providing information, tools, resources, and opportunities. They are trained to work with survivors respectfully, recognizing that systems may be confusing and overwhelming and that some may be more vulnerable to certain systems than others.
Sexual assault, relationship abuse, stalking, and sexual harassment can happen to anyone regardless of identity. We know that here at UNH, we have communities with unique needs who may deal with a number of issues that others have not experienced. SHARPP recognizes these differences and is committed to serving all UNH community members by providing accessible, free, social justice-informed, and confidential services to all survivors and their allies.
Advocates can help identify options and help individuals explore which choices best meet their specific needs in a non-judgmental way. Survivors are encouraged to make decisions about what is best for them, and are not required to take any options provided by the advocate.
A crisis is a time in which someone may feel overwhelmed as a result of the circumstances they are in or a challenging emotional experience. This can be common for individuals who have experienced interpersonal violence. Crises may happen in the moments, hours, and days after violence occurs, and can happen repeatedly throughout someone's life due to various factors, such as memories of their experience being reactivated.
SHARPP advocates can support survivors in times of crisis by aiming to help them regain a sense of control and balance. In these moments an advocate can provide space to sort through feelings, thoughts, and emotions, as well as helping to identify or strengthen coping skills and discuss options.
Experiencing interpersonal violence can impact someone's feelings of emotional and physical safety. SHARPP advocates can help survivors identify what would help them feel safer, and to connect to resources to help make these happen. Advocates approach safety planning as an individualized conversation to address the unique safety needs of each individual. Safety planning is a process of exploring possible choices and outcomes and supporting the survivor to develop the plan that feels safest for them. Safety planning may look like exploring current housing arrangements, class or work schedules, support available from family, friends or partners, and resources available in the community. SHARPP views safety planning as an integral part of all of the services we offer rather than a distinct services, which means that as advocates provide advocacy and support in other areas, they will often talk about how those options may impact an individual survivor's feelings of safety.
Advocates can accompany a person who has experienced sexual assault to the hospital for medical care after an assault (including a rape kit). This generally happens one of two ways:
- The individual calls the helpline or comes to the SHARPP office, and decides to go to the hospital.
- A survivor is at the hospital and discloses the assault. The hospital is required to call SHARPP to come to the hospital. The survivor can then accept or decline to speak with the advocate. If the survivor declines SHARPP services at that time, the advocate will remain nearby in case the survivor changes their mind at any time.
Undergoing a medical examination, especially one as extensive as a rape kit, can be very difficult and possibly re-traumatizing. An advocate can provide emotional support and answer questions that may come up throughout the process. The advocate is there solely for the survivor and can help them better understand and navigate what can be an overwhelming procedure.
An advocate can assist survivors in navigating judicial processes, whether that is criminal, civil, or the University’s administrative process.
An advocate can assist survivors in deciding whether making a police report is the right choice for them, and can accompany a survivor who wishes to make a police report. The advocate can also be present for any follow-up meetings or interviews connected to this process.
An advocate can assist a survivor who is interested in filing a restraining order. The advocate can accompany the survivor to the courthouse, help work through paperwork, and provide support & safety planning for the outcome. Additionally, the advocate can accompany the survivor to the court hearing.
For UNH students, faculty, and staff who have experienced violence perpetrated by another UNH community member, SHARPP advocates can help make sense of and pursue options through the University. This may include connecting them with the Civil Rights and Equity Office to request supportive measures such as academic accommodations or to pursue a formal university process. SHARPP advocates can provide information about what these processes may look like and can accompany a survivor to meetings, interviews, and hearings.
Surviving a traumatic event like sexual or relationship violence can impact many aspects of our lives, including academic success.
SHARPP may be able to provide assistance if a survivor finds they are having trouble keeping up with coursework, studying for tests, or completing assignments on time. SHARPP can coordinate with the Dean of Students to request a Dean's Letter. This is a general letter that communicates a student is experiencing challenging circumstances, without identifying what happened. Through the letters, professors will be asked to give consideration to students in their coursework, though it is important to know that this does not serve to excuse absences or late/missing assignments. The purpose of the letter is to facilitate recovery of the student survivor with minimal impact on their academic achievement. After the letters have been sent, students are encouraged to work directly with their professors to address their individual needs.
While every survivor’s story is different, there are many resources throughout the UNH and seacoast communities that can aid in an individual's healing process. SHARPP’s focus on interpersonal violence provides the community with advocates who are aware of the many resources available to survivors that someone may want to utilize. Advocates can help connect someone to the resources they need, but may not already be aware of.