Risk Reduction Strategies

Risk Reduction Strategies

It is important to note that while we can take steps to minimize risk, the only person to blame when concerns occur is the perpetrator.
Hazard sign in the middle of a puddle

There are various strategies that individuals can use to prevent and reduce the risk of various concerns outlined in our complaint types.

Everyone can:

  • Seek education on laws and policies to change your behavior
  • We encourage you in addition to the required training on policies to review them regularly and check for any updates. For more information about policies, you can go to our Policies and Procedures page

  • Consider what unconscious biases you may have
  • There are many educational workshops on campus and within our community to learn about your unconscious biases. For example, employees have access to an online series about Managing Implicit Bias. 
  • Avoid using stereotypical generalizations/demeaning jokes 
  • • Examples of stereotypical generalizations can include saying “Older people don’t use Twitter” or “Men don’t think in those terms.”

    • Avoid humor which demeans people on the basis of protected characteristics.
  • Communicate clearly and listen to others
  • If another person is not consenting for an activity, stop that activity.
  • Use Inclusive Language
  • • Find a comfortable alternative to using generic masculine terms such as “he” and “man” as they tend to evoke masculine images, and render women and gender-queer students invisible or peripheral.

    • Do not assume that a woman-identified individual has a boyfriend or a man-identified individual is only interested in women. 

    To learn about "Words that hurt," you can find information through our LGBTQIA Resource Center. 
  • Trust your gut instinct
  • If a situation doesn’t feel right, don’t worry about offending someone, just leave.
  • If safe and possible, intervene in concerning situations
  • There are many different ways to intervene in concerning situations.

    For example, you can:
    • Redirect the conversation
    • Express concern with someone's behavior
    •  Offer assistance 
    •  Pull someone aside to address behavior and/or check in on someone
  • Take safety precautions
  • • Travel in groups when possible

    • Most perpetrators of sexual violence will look for vulnerable targets: appear to not be aware of their surroundings, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, isolated from their friends, etc.

    • Control access to your home, residence hall room, office or car by locking your doors and closing windows if they provide easy access
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help in situations where you feel unsafe
  • • Ask for a friend or coworker to escort you to your car 
    •  Request a Safe Ride through the police department for a ride and/or escort by foot at night  
    • Tell your friends or coworkers you want to leave the event
    •  Ask a friend or coworker to stay with you
    •  ETC
  • Notice when someone doesn’t respect your boundaries. 
  • Don’t be afraid to assert your right to have your boundaries respected.

Tips for Faculty and Staff Members

These suggestions are based in part on materials produced by CSU, UCSB and the University of Minnesota. 

  • You can prevent misunderstandings - and increase your own personal safety - if you*:
  • •   Schedule your office hours when you know others are likely to be in the building (generally M-F, 8-5). •  Stick to your office hours and ask students to make an appointment to see you.

    •  Use caution in giving out your home number or address, and consider not listing them in the campus or community directory.

    •  Impose some limits on how much you share with your individuals about your personal life, outside interests, etc.
  • If you have concerns about a particular student or the interactions among students:
  • •  Document incidents or interactions which feel inappropriate to you.
    •  Brief notes to yourself about what happened, when and where are sufficient.
    •  Tell the instructor of the course (if you’re a TA), your department chair, and/or your supervisor.
    •  If being alone with this student makes you uncomfortable, avoid doing so.
    •  Consult with the HDAPP or OSSJA
    •  Use support resources
    *These tips were suggested by UCD instructors, based on their own real experiences.
  • Monitor your behavior, or ask someone to observe you for the following patterns.  
  • You may demonstrate bias in very unconscious, unintentional ways:
    • Do you call on all individuals equally?
    • Do you interrupt, or allow others to interrupt, certain individuals more than other individuals?
    • Do you respond equally to comments made by all individuals?
    • Do you address the group as if no one from a certain group were present, with expressions such as “Your wives can tell you about…”? (Is the room is full of individuals married to women?)

    *These tips were suggested by UCD instructors, based on their own real experiences.
  • Announce Course Material Information
  • •  If you must use course material which ignores or deprecates a group on the basis of protected characteristics or categories, be clear with your students about why the material warrants inclusion in your course.
    •  Let students know in advance if an upcoming assignment, lecture, or class activity contains sexualized material. It may also help to explain to them why it’s included in the course. If you’re teaching a class where the course content is sexual by definition (human sexuality, reproductive biology, etc.), ensure that your approach is professional, and hold students to a similar standard.

    *These tips were suggested by UCD instructors, based on their own real experiences.
  • Be aware of your power dynamic
  • Individuals could be misusing their power, and probably violating policy, if they:
    •  Pressure a student and/or subordinate to spend time with them outside the academic/work setting, especially if they urge the individual to get romantically and/or sexually involved.
    •  Touch a student and/or subordinate when and where the individual doesn’t want to be touched.
    •  Ask a student and/or subordinate for sexual favors in exchange for employment decisions, academic evaluation, grades or advancement, or other decisions affecting participation in a University program, activity, or service; or

    Individuals could be misusing their power:
    •  Make personal jokes or comments about students.
    •  Ask a student personal questions which make the student uncomfortable.

    *These tips were suggested by UCD instructors, based on their own real experiences.