What is the Survivor Support Network

The Survivor Support Network is a virtual community space where woman-identifying students at the University of St. Michael's College can connect to share personal experiences of sexual assault and violence. This is not a professional counselling service or peer-led support group, but rather a safe space to find common ground, process emotions and reactions with others who have had similar experiences.

Who is the Survivor Support Network for?

The Survivor Support Network is for any woman-identifying student at St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto who is currently enrolled at the university, and is seeking to build a community to share personal experiences of sexual assault and violence. This group is not meant to replace counselling and other professional supports.

What is the intake process?

The intake process includes three important steps: 

  1. Interested students must complete the contact form found under "about" or email our MSW student, Katie at katie.krupski@mail.utoronto.ca 

  2. Katie will set up a 15-30 minute meeting to chat about what this program will offer and determine if this is the right fit for you 

  3. You will then be added as a member to this site and have full access to our forums, and other resources 

The intake meeting is not a professional counselling session, but an opportunity to learn more about this community.

Why do I need to complete an intake process?

The purpose of the intake process is to ensure this community remains a safe space for participants, and that each new member is well oriented to the goals and purpose of this group. The intake meeting is not a counselling session.

What are the expectations of engagement?

Students are welcome to engage in this community as frequently, or infrequently as they like.

There is no expectation that students will respond to any given post or comment. Students are free to withdraw from the program at any time.

A fuller outline of the Online Community Guidelines for this space can be found here.

All participants will be invited to partake in a feedback survey at the end of April 2022.

What are the group norms?

Activity in this community is guided by several norms: 

  1. Be Respectful: In all interactions, be sure to acknowledge and respect the dignity of others within this virtual space, avoid all derogatory or unkind language. 

  2. Maintain Discretion: When sharing, please use generic terms as much as possible instead of specific names or places.

  3. Don’t Offer Unsolicited Advice: Unless expressly requested, avoid offering advice to other members about how to handle their experiences and navigate their recovery 

  4. Use Trigger Warnings: When sharing an experience be sure to begin your post with any trigger warnings that may be important to note, to help protect the safety of our community. Examples of common trigger warnings are: suicide, self-harm, violence, etc. When sharing experiences, use discretion to avoid explicit or graphic details that may be triggering to other members whenever possible.

  5. Maintain Confidentiality: Anything shared in the forums should be kept confidential. Students who breech confidentiality by sharing this content verbally, or via screenshots or other means will be approached by the Support Network Team for a conduct meeting.

How are the forums moderated?

Forums will be monitored with the intention of maintaining a spirit of community.

Each forum is moderated twice a week by a member of the Support Network Team

Moderators will intervene in the following situations:

1. when there is a threat to individual or community safety

2. when current thoughts of self-harm or suicide are disclosed

3. when posts or comments engage in hate speech or derogatory language

4. in any situation where the University Student Code of Conduct is breeched.

5. when confidentiality is breeched

Moderators will NOT:

1. Censor experience sharing or story telling

2. Correct the accuracy of information shared in posts

3. Intervene in disagreements so long a members are being respectful of one another

What does intervention look like?

Depending on the situation, moderators may intervene by:
1. reaching out to students to set up a meeting or phone call
2. calling police or emergency services 
3. deleting a post or comment, and following up with the student(s) involved

Is this space anonymous?

This virtual space is curated to allow survivors to connect with one another based on their comfort level, and may choose to use an alias as opposed to their name.

Support Network Team are the only people who will know your name should you choose to use an alias. This is to ensure this space remains safe for all participants.