Getting Help

The Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs  and the UNA Women’s Center stand ready to help both survivors and their friends and loved ones in any way we can through this difficult time. Services provided by our offices include:

Women’s Center

  • Advocacy, assistance and accompaniment to University & community resources (such as police, District Attorney, University adjudication processes) and help in making strategic decisions.
  • Public events, speakers, and educational programs, and free publications to help you through this time.

Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs

  • Vice President of Student Affairs: The Vice President of Student Affairs is trained in crisis response and can provide information and resources to survivors on an emergent basis. To speak with the Vice President of Student Affairs, contact the University Police at 256.765.4357 and ask to be put in contact with the Vice President. For crisis response during regular business hours, simply call the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs main line at 256.765.4223.
  • Resources:
    • Counseling referrals
    • Assistance with gaining academic support
      • The Vice President of Student Affairs works closely with academic deans across the University to assist students in dealing with academic concerns and issues that may arise as a result of an assault.
  • Protective services:
    • No contact order
      • If the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs is notified of relationship abuse occurring between two University students, the Office of Student Conduct will issue a “no contact order.” This is a mutually binding document that orders both students to have no in-person or electronic contact with one another and is enforceable through the University’s Standards of Conduct. As the order is mutually-binding, it can be issued without filing a formal complaint.
    • Scheduling, room changes or emergency relocation
      • The Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs can assist with emergency relocation off-Grounds as well as room or scheduling changes on-Grounds in the event that a survivor and perpetrator live in close proximity or have classes in common.

The survivor need not file a formal report or disclose the name of the perpetrator to receive support services. If the name of a student perpetrator is disclosed to a University official, the University is required under Federal law to investigate further and take any remedial actions deemed necessary. These actions will likely include, at minimum, a meeting with the perpetrator and the issuance of a no contact order as described above. The survivor, however, is not required to file formal charges.

(Safeplace) The Shelter for Help in Emergency

The Shelter for Help in Emergency, often referred to as “SHE,” is the local community organization that seeks to raise awareness and educate people in the local area about the issue of relationship violence. In addition, they offer support services to victims, including University students. Their services include:

  • Shelter: Northwest Alabama Safeplace offers emergency, temporary housing to victims of domestic violence in need of safety. In their residential facility, families receive temporary housing, food, and counseling. While in residence, case managers and counselors help victims regain self-esteem, improve parent/child relationships, and understand the cycle of violence in a peaceful, non-judgmental atmosphere. The location of the residential facility is not disclosed to the general public and is one of the most secure facilities in the Northwest Alabama area.

  • 24-Hour Hotline: A call to the 24-hour crisis line can bring immediate help to family violence victims. A call to the crisis line does not mean the caller is obligated to anything, including entering the residential facility. The crisis line is answered by caring people trained to help the victim:

    • Organize thoughts
    • Direct him/her through necessary channels of assistance
    • Arrange transportation to the residential facility
    • Provide information and referrals
    • Sort out confused feelings

  • Support Groups:
    Support groups for victims of domestic violence are held weekly. At the support group, victims learn to recognize the dynamics of power and control and the cycle of violence in relationships. They are given tools to gain control of their life and make the decisions they need to live violence free. Sessions for children of those attending the women’s group are held at the same time. The sessions emphasize rebuilding of confidence, self-acceptance, and responsibility.

  • Court Advocacy:
    Many victims face the legal process and courtroom setting for the first time in their quest for freedom from abuse. The experience can be very confusing, frightening and intimidating under normal circumstances and certainly intensified when one is experiencing trauma from abuse.

    A Safeplace court advocate is a non-lawyer advocate who is trained to provide victims of domestic violence information and support as they maneuver through the legal system. This support helps victims develop the confidence necessary to use the justice system to aid them in their freedom from abuse. These advocates inform the victim of their legal options and provide moral support during court appearances. They help victims identify their own needs as well as their strengths and resources necessary to achieve the goals they set for themselves. Advocates help the victims to understand how to obtain Protection from Abuse Orders as well as Incident Reports and other relief available through the court system.

For more information about Safeplace services, check their website at

"Working Together for a Safer Community"