Call 911 if you are in immediate danger.
Contact 211 Alberta – If you are unsure who to call or what service you need. They will help you determine what you need and will connect you to the appropriate social, health or government service, including an appropriate crisis support line.
Everyone can play a part in preventing sexual harassment, assault and exploitation.
Sexual violence is never okay, whether it is unwanted touching, inappropriate comments or the expectation of sex. It is a human rights violation, and it is illegal.
You can be an ally and support survivors by:
- never blaming the survivor
- talking to your children and teens about consent and healthy relationships
- participating in public awareness programs
- learning about and engaging in discussions with men and boys about healthy masculinity, gender norms and violence
- participating in workplace training programs to raise awareness and learn preventative strategies about sexual harassment at work
- volunteering or donating to organizations that work to prevent sexual violence and support survivors
- raising awareness about sexual violence in your community
How you can intervene
Even as a bystander, you can help stop sexual violence, sexual harassment and sexual assault. Remember the 4 D’s as a way to intervene: direct, distract, delegate and delay.
Address the situation head-on. Calmly explain your concerns while ensuring the other person knows what they need to do in order to correct their behaviour:
- describe what you are concerned about
- express why it is concerning
- specify what you would like the other person to do instead
- highlight the positive consequences of addressing the behaviour
Indirectly de-escalate the situation. You can do this by:
- changing the subject
- starting a conversation with the victim
- starting a loud conversation with someone else
Get someone else involved. Ask someone to call 911 if the incident is serious.
Check in with the person you are worried about afterwards.
Source: 4 D’s adapted from the 5-Minute Friend training offered by the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton.
Other ways to intervene
Besides the 4 D’s, you can still intervene:
- If it is safe to do so, speak up and come to a victim’s defense if you witness sexual harassment and offer support.
- Call the police if you witness sexual assault.
- Tell the police if you see anyone adding something suspicious to another person’s drink.
- Check in with your friends and any vulnerable people to see that they get home safely.
- When dropping someone off at home, wait for them to get into their home safely when possible.
- Say ‘no’ if anyone tries to share explicit texts or images with another person or online.
- Refuse to join degrading conversations that keep sexism and sexual violence alive – and voice your disapproval.
If you have experienced sexual violence and need help, see Sexual violence – Get help.
Report child abuse, neglect or sexual exploitation
Anyone who suspects a child or youth is being abused, neglected or sexually exploited has a legal responsibility to report it.
File a report
You can file a report by calling either the:
- local police department
- Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-387-5437 (KIDS) – help is available 24/7 in multiple languages
Find out more about Find supports for child abuse, neglect and sexual exploitation.
- For parents: Sexual exploitation – What every parent needs to know
- For professionals: Protection of sexually exploited children
Report the abuse of persons with disabilities
People with developmental disabilities are often at greater risk of being abused or taken advantage of by others. Abuse is when someone does something that harms or may harm you or others.
The warning signs of sexual abuse include:
- having pain or injury in their genital areas
- finding it difficult to walk or sit
- starting to act differently, such as sometimes behaving like a child
- beginning to suddenly act in sexual ways
Find out how to prevent, report and respond to the suspected abuse of anyone supported by the Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) program.
Report elder abuse
Elder abuse is any action or inaction that jeopardizes the health or well-being of an older adult. It can take several forms, including:
Find out how to recognize the signs of elder abuse and report it.