Peer support happens when people share knowledge, experience, emotional, social or practical help with each other.
It’s a reciprocal relationship between two people who have shared lived experience of sexual abuse and/or violence and can relate to others in a similar situation.
It allows people to connect and meet the other where they’re at with a willingness to share authentically and provide help and support.
GUIDELINES FOR PEER SUPPORT
We’ve prepared a downloadable PDF that covers the guidelines to peer support, helping individuals who are or want to become peer supporters. Use the link to the right to download the file.
EXPECTATIONS IN PEER SUPPORT
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM PEER SUPPORT
Peer support is a conscious and deliberate relationship with someone who has lived experience of sexual abuse or violence or is a family member/partner/friend who has closely supported a survivor. My peer supporter will encourage my personal growth to help me heal and thrive and feel empowered in my life.
When I work with a peer support person I can expect to:
- Be provided with support either without or as a complement to any other services and supports that I may be engaged with including conventional, alternative, spiritual or cultural services;
- Be supported in maintaining or connecting with appropriate services if needed;
- Be treated ethically at all times according to the peer support ethics;
- Have a relationship that strives to embody dignity, respect, patience and compassion;
- Take responsibility for my own healing;
- Share my experiences honestly with someone who meets me where I am at and doesn’t judge me;
- Experience emotional and physical safety;
- Have my confidentiality respected except if I am a danger to myself or others, or if children are at risk of harm;
- Be supported to make decisions that are right for me;
- Be able to count on my peer supporter to do their best to follow through with his or her commitments to me;
- Be able to freely address any issues or concerns and be supported to work through any challenges;
- Have my concerns respected and to be supported to transition to another peer supporter if the relationship is not life-giving.
WHAT TO EXPECT AS A PEER SUPPORTER
Peer support is a conscious and deliberate relationship with someone who has lived experience of sexual abuse or violence or is a family member/partner/friend who has closely supported a survivor. I will encourage the personal growth of the person I’m supporting in order for them to heal and thrive and feel empowered in their life.
As a peer supporter I will endeavor to:
- Operate ethically at all times according to the peer support ethics;
- Treat the person I’m supporting with respect and compassion;
- Set healthy personal boundaries that allow for a reciprocal and mutually respectful relationship that supports and empowers both of us;
- Share my healing experiences, strength and hope;
- Take care of myself and honour and respect my needs;
- Be open to hearing issues or concerns and be willing to work through challenges;
- Help the person I’m supporting connect with another peer supporter if I have concerns about my ability to appropriately work with him or her;
- Be part of a network of peer supporters that I can go to for debriefing and feedback;
- Share my story and life experiences if appropriate and in the highest good of the person I’m supporting;
- Guide the peer to build their resiliency and foster healing;
- Support and empower the person to make choices that are right for them;
- Engage in my own ongoing learning and healing.
PEER SUPPORT ETHICS
Personal integrity and ethical and trustworthy attitudes and actions are the foundation of good peer support.
This means that I:
- Do nothing to harm the person or undermine their healing;
- Work to support their highest good and personal growth;
- Ensure their emotional and physical safety in addition to protecting myself;
- Are open to constructive feedback and are willing to share challenges honestly with other peer supporters;
- Can recognize and admit personal biases that could impact the quality of the relationship with the person I am supporting;
- Treat the person with dignity, patience and respect;
- Accept their imperfections while honouring that in myself;
- Ensure that their confidentiality is always protected within legal limits unless they are a threat to themselves or another person;
- Don’t gossip or talk about their personal details with others;
- Are committed to making sure that all interactions with the person are appropriate, empowering and encourage the person’s safety and healing. (i.e. not engaging in sexual or financial exploitation);