Human Resources

Responding to Disclosure of Sexual Violence

An online course to support staff and student leaders to handle disclosures of sexual violence in line with best practice and university procedure.

About this course

Anyone within the University of Edinburgh could receive a disclosure of sexual violence. An appropriate response is important to minimise the impact on the individuals involved, the student community and the University.

 The University’s guidance to staff who receive disclosures of sexual violence states that the University will support any students who have experienced sexual abuse and take the appropriate action. Listening sympathetically and non-judgementally to the student’s concerns is the first step in this process.

University Guidance

Responding to Disclosures of Sexual Violence is an online course which empowers staff across a wide range of roles and departments to manage this sensitive and complex issue, providing them with the skills to respond appropriately and empathetically.

 Developed in collaboration with an international range of higher education experts and professional practitioners, the course provides uniquely high-quality, interactive and comprehensive training on the first response to disclosures.


As a result of completing these four modules you will have:

  • Developed an awareness of the key contextual issues and statistics surrounding sexual violence in higher education and wider society.
  • Increased your understanding of what constitutes consent and your awareness of the legal definitions of sexual offences.
  • Developed your ability to challenge and break down common misperceptions around sexual violence.
  • Increased your awareness of the emotional and behavioural impact of sexual violence and your understanding of the reasons why survivors might not want to report an incident.
  • Developed an understanding of how to react and respond to survivors appropriately and empathetically.
  • Increased your knowledge and skills to demonstrate best practices for responding to a disclosure, and to apply these to your own contexts and in line with university policy.
  • Learned to recognise when you may need support in dealing with a disclosure.

Aimed at

Any university staff member who could receive a disclosure from a student, including:

  • Personal tutors
  • Academic staff
  • Student support staff
  • Academic support staff
  • Staff working in the Disability Service, the Counselling Service and the Chaplaincy
  • Residence Life teams
  • Security teams
  • Student association staff

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements.

Time commitment

Completing the module

1.5 to 2 hours depending on your approach.

After completing the module

Further guidance on what steps staff should take if a student discloses they have suffered sexual violence is available here:

University Guidance

How to log in

The course is hosted on the University system Learn.

The module has content that is not supported by Firefox. Please use Internet Explorer, Safari or Chrome.

How to access courses in Learn

If you experience any problems with the training module, please email us at

Further reading

Supporting students who report sexual harassment or assault at the University of Edinburgh

Sexual assault and harassment guidance at the University of Edinburgh