Information about SHARPP Services
Advocates are trained SHARPP staff and volunteers who meet directly with survivors to provide a wide range of services. All advocates have completed a minimum of 30 hours of training on the issues of sexual violence, relationship abuse and stalking, and the systems that survivors may encounter. Advocates aim to assist survivors’ empowerment by providing information, tools, resources and opportunities. They are trained to work with survivors respectfully, recognizing that systems may be confusing and overwhelming to survivors, and that some may be more vulnerable to certain systems than others.
Sexual violence, relationship abuse and stalking can happen to anyone. These are experiences that people of all identities can have. We also know that here at UNH, we have communities who have unique sets of needs and may have dealt with a number of issues that many students have never had to deal with. 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. More about who we serve can be found here.
Advocates can help identify the options available and help survivors decide which choices best meet their needs in a non-judgmental way, leaving the advocate’s personal opinion out of the equation. Survivors are encouraged to make empowered decisions about what is best for them, and are not required to take any options provided by the advocate.
A crisis is a time where someone may feel overwhelmed as a result of circumstances they are in or a challenging emotional experience. As you might imagine, this can be common for individuals who have experienced interpersonal violence. These times may happen in the moments, hours, and days after violence occurs, and can happen repeatedly throughout a survivor’s life due to a variety of factors, including 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. The advocate’s goals during crisis intervention are to provide space to sort through feelings, thoughts and emotions, as well as to strengthen coping skills and discuss options.
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 survivor calls the helpline or comes to the SHARPP office, and decides to go to the hospital, at which point the advocate would meet the survivor at the hospital.
- A survivor is at the hospital and discloses the abuse. The hospital is required to call the local crisis center for services which will prompt an advocate to come to the hospital. The survivor can then accept or decline to speak with the advocate. If the survivor declines SHARPP services at tha ttime, 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 possible re-traumatizing. An advocate can be a source of emotional support, as well as a helpful resource for any questions a survivor might have throughout the medical examination. The advocate is there solely for the survivor and can help them to understand the process better and help them navigate what can be a very overwhelming procedure.
An advocate can be made available to assist survivors in navigating judicial processes, whether that is criminal, civil or the University’s process.
An advocate can offer assistance 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 with law enforcement such as forensic interviews.
An advocate can assist a survivor who is interested in filing a restraining or stalking order. The advocate will accompany the survivor to the courthouse, help work through the paperwork, and provide support and safety planning for the outcome. Additionally the advocate will be able to accompany the survivor to the court hearing.
There are several ways that UNH is able to respond to experiences of interpersonal violence within our community.
If the perpetrator is a UNH student, the conduct process through the Office of Community Standards (OCS) is one way a survivor can address their experience. A SHARPP advocate can explain what this process might look like in a specific situation, as well as assist survivors in beginning the process by making a report. The advocate will be able to accompany the survivor to any meetings related to the proceedings, as well as sit in for support on the hearing date. You can find the more information on the Student's Rights, Rules & Responsibilities here.
Please note, the conduct system is for UNH students only. Both the survivor and perpetrator must be enrolled students at UNH.
Affirmative Action & Equity Office:
Faculty and staff who have experienced violence perpetrated by colleagues can make a report to the Affirmative Action and Equity Office on campus. A SHARPP advocate can assist in this process by accompanying the survivor to any meetings. This process is also available to students who have experienced violence perpetrated by a UNH employee.
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 an Academic Intervention, through which a students’ professor(s) will be asked to give consideration to them in their coursework. The purpose of the academic intervention is to facilitate recovery of the student survivor with minimal impact on their academic achievement.
We will never disclose what has happened to a survivor. The professors will receive a letter acknowledging that a student is experiencing extenuating non-academic circumstances and open the conversation between a student and their professor so that they may work out deadlines, make-up test dates or extra credit possibilities that satisfy both of their needs.
Sharing your healing process with others who may have had similar experiences can be very therapeutic. Support groups offer a safe space where survivors can talk about their experiences with other survivors, or simply be in a space where they know others understand what they are experiencing.
SHARPP aims to offer an annual survivor support group and details can be found here. If you would like to find additional support groups in the area, SHARPP can refer you to other crisis centers that may be offering a support group that better fits your needs. Please note that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may impact the availability of groups and way that support groups are offered.
Support Groups at UNH Psychological and Counseling Services
Psychological and Counseling Services offers a variety of support groups each semester. Learn more about their groups...
Support Groups at UNH Health & Wellness
Living Well Services within Health & Wellness offers a variety of educational groups each semester. Learn more about their groups...
Supporting a Friend
Most survivors of sexual and relationship violence disclose the assault or abuse to at least one other person, usually a friend. While they cannot rescue their friend or solve their problems, there are ways they can help. SHARPP provides support to those whose friend or family member is experiencing interpersonal violence. Advocates can help explore ways to understand the survivors’ experience and offer them support. Learn more here.
Resources and Referrals
While every survivor’s story is different, there are many resources throughout the UNH and seacoast community that can aid in your healing process.
SHARPP’s focus on the issues of sexual assault, relationship abuse, stalking and sexual harassment provides the community with advocates who are aware of the many resources available to survivors that you may need to utilize. Advocates can help connect you to the resources you need, but may not already be aware of.
Advocates may refer you to other organizations and accompany you to appointments with those organizations.
SHARPP may be a resource for classrooms, academic departments, residence halls/apartments, or campus organizations who wish to process a traumatic event that has impacted their group. To discuss this opportunity and what SHARPP may be able to offer, please call the office at (603) 862-3494.