Risk Reduction Tips

Preserving Evidence

If you are a victim of sexual violence, evidence of the assault and/or the identity of the attacker may be left on your body. You are encouraged to get an exam as soon as possible in order to preserve the evidence of the assault. Preserved evidence may be used in an investigation or criminal proceedings.

The following location provides Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) to victims of sexual violence. These individuals are licensed registered nurses who are trained to collect and preserve forensic evidence of sexual violence. They are also sensitive to trauma and will always treat victims with dignity and respect.

Phoenix Family Advocacy Center
2120 North Central Ave Suite 250
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Hotline: (602) 534-2120 or 1-888-246-0303

Additional Arizona victim advocacy groups and centers can be found at http://www.acfan.net/center-info.htm

Risk Reduction Tips

Personal Safety

Whether it be someone you know or a stranger, prevent acts of sexual harassment, discrimination, or violence against yourself by engaging in the following strategies:

  • Change your patterns, schedule, and parking habits
  • Pack up your property and take it with you
  • Lock up your bicycle with a U-lock or heavy chain
  • Always roll up your windows, lock your car doors, and remove valuables from sight
  • Keep your phone, purse, wallet, and textbooks with you at all times
  • Avoid walking in dark, poorly lit areas at night
  • Walk with a purpose (have your keys out and avoid talking on the phone)
  • Limit the use of headphones while walking
  • Check under and around your car
  • Limit the personal information you share on social media websites
  • Obey the law
  • Avoid accepting drinks and gifts from strangers
  • Pursue relationships that are respectful and supportive

Community Safety

In addition to protecting yourself, you can engage in behaviors that help promote safety for others in your community.

  • Walk in groups at night
  • Arrive and leave with the same people to a party or place
  • Check-in with friends
  • Report suspicious behavior
  • Listen when your friend mentions dangerous behaviors in their intimate relationship
  • Seek medical attention for yourself or others if necessary
  • Respond to calls for help
  • Confront harmful behavior

Bystander Intervention

You can help others in potentially harmful situations by utilizing any of the following strategies:


Let the individual know you are concerned about what is happening. This can be used with the victim or the attacker.

  • I feel ___________ when you __________. I hope you will stop.
  • I’m concerned about what is happening here.
  • I’m concerned for you.


Use something to pull attention away from the problematic behavior and focus it on something else. Change the conversation, setting, or the people. Again, this can be used with the victim or the attacker.

  • I hate this party, let’s go.
  • I think the cops just got here.
  • Hey, we need to talk for a minute.


Provide a visible distraction that needs to be attended to if nothing else seems to be working. This strategy will buy time.

  • Spill a drink.
  • Point out something that requires action (something wrong with clothing).
  • Ask the person for directions or time.

Directly Intervene

Say the behavior is inappropriate or not okay.

  • This is (insert place). We don’t do that.
  • I know you are better than that.
  • I hope no one ever talks about you like that.
  • What if someone said (describe the behavior) about your friend, girlfriend, or family member?

Bring Some Friends

Groups have the ability to use different intervention strategies. Ask friends of the person displaying inappropriate behavior and friends of the person experiencing the behavior to help.

  • What do you think we should do?
  • I’m noticing _________ is really drunk, let’s help him/her out.
  • Everyone’s going to their own place tonight. Call him/her tomorrow.

Make a Scene or Draw Attention

This combines the distraction and delay methods. It will also help create a group.

  • Get away from my ______________!
  • That’s my girlfriend/boyfriend/sister/brother/cousin, what are you doing?
  • Hey, that person just stole my wallet/took my drink/stole my phone


Talk to someone with presumably more social power than you.

  • Ask employees for assistance.
  • Tell an adult.
  • Find someone wearing a uniform.

Follow Protocol

Pass blame for your response to an authority figure. Contacting emergency services, supervisors, medical services, or college employees may be needed for some situations.

  • Call 911.
  • Email your professor or advisor to ask about reporting options.

Be a Friend or Ally

This may mean in the moment or after the fact. Both parties benefit from this strategy.

  • “Hey _____. As your friend, I’ve gotta tell you that the ______ is killing your image, especially with ________.Why don’t you do yourself a favor and stop?
  • I would really hate for something bad to happen. I mean I don't want you to get arrested or hurt.
  • Hey, are you okay? Can I do anything?
  • I’m sorry that happened to you.