Sexual Violence Liaison Officers

The University of Surrey and the Students’ Union have trained staff as Sexual Violence Liaison Officers (SVLOs). The SVLOs are trained in taking disclosures of historic or new incidents of sexual violence and are equipped to provide you with the support you need.

The role of the SVLO is to support students, to listen empathically and without judgement. You can tell your SVLO as much or as little as you want to about what happened, and in your own time’ Your SVLO will be guided by you and will ask you what you would like to happen next. They can then discuss all options with you from reporting to the Police, the University or even choosing not to report to anyone. They can also talk to you about the range of internal and external support that is available.

The conversation is safe within the boundaries of confidentiality.

FAQs

Who are the SVLOs?

Currently we have two trained SVLOs – Zoe Wilkes (Support Manager) at the Students’ Union and, Holly Latham (Senior Wellbeing Advisor) for the University. If you are currently working with either of the trained SVLOs, we would advise that you book in to see the other one.

We are pleased to announce that the University have agreed to train up several more SVLOs over the next academic year, following the Union’s priority campaign: women’s safety.

How can I access an SVLO?

You can book to speak with an SVLO here and you can choose an hour slot that works best with you with an SVLO of your choice. Your first meeting will be on teams but if you would prefer to have your meeting face-to-face then you just need to let your SVLO know so they can let you know where to meet them, this will be dependent on availability and covid restrictions.

What will happen in a meeting with an SVLO?

The primary role of the SVLO is to listen to you and ensure you have the support in place that you need. They may ask you what you want to happen next and go through your options, and support you in those options. They may also go through different support available to you which could include ECs for assessments, for example.

The SVLO will take some notes of the meeting, and any actions to take forward, which will be securely stored.

What will happen to the perpetrator(s)?

Anything that you say to the SVLO will be kept private and confidential which means that if you choose to disclose the name of the perpetrator to your SVLO, then they will keep that information confidential and they do not need to pass this information over without your consent

However, there are some situations where they may not be able to keep confidentiality and may need to escalate your case. In such situations, the SVLO will let you know if they need to tell someone. Situations may include (not limited to):

·       Where there is a risk to you or others

·       Where there have been multiple reports against one perpetrator

If you decide to report the incident to the University and/or Police it is very likely that the perpetrator will be informed of the allegation and you will be asked to provide information as part of that official investigation. The SVLO can explain this process to you, and they will support you throughout.

Is the information kept private?

The information you share with the SVLO will be securely stored and is kept confidential between the SVLO team. It is important to note that if the SVLO believes that you, or someone else is at risk of harm, then the SVLO may need to report that information to the University and/or the Police.

If you decide to report the incident to the University and/or Police it is very likely that the perpetrator will be informed of the allegation and you will be asked to provide information as part of that official investigation. The SVLO can explain this process to you, and they will support you throughout.

If i tell an sVLO, will i need to report to the University or police?

No. Speaking to an SVLO does not mean that you need to report the incident anywhere. The main role of the SVLO is to listen and ensure that you feel supported. If this means that you do not want to report the incident of sexual violence, then you do not have to. The SVLO will be led by you and your decisions.

If you are considering reporting, or wish to report, then of course the SVLO will be able to support you in these processes – whether that be to the Police, to the University or otherwise.