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Frequently Asked Questions

Below you'll find some commonly asked questions and answers related to CARE Services at KU. If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to reach out by emailing or calling 785-864-9255.


There could be many reasons. Commonly, people are looking for information or support after harm has occurred. CARE Services is completely free to students who have experienced or have been affected by interpersonal violence.

This includes experiences such as sexual violence (such as sexual harassment, rape, sexual assault, or online harassment/exploitation), intimate partner or dating violence, and stalking. You don’t have to label yourself, describe what you’ve been through, or disclose your circumstances in order to talk with us.

Services from CARE might include confidential listening, helping you request academic supports, linking you to community resources, and advocating alongside you. You don’t have to navigate things alone. We can be here to support you and your decisions.

Scheduling a time in advance is recommended, but is not always required. Melissa and Mariah’s offices are located in Watkins Health Center (Suite 2500). You may be able to connect with one of us by stopping by during our program hours (Monday-Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm). However, please keep in mind there are times when CARE staff may not be available, as we are with other students, working remotely, or somewhere else on campus.

To ensure we can meet at a time that works best for you, use this link to schedule online — or call (785-864-9255) or email ( us. We make every effort to maintain availability throughout the week. Typically, you can meet with us the same day or the next weekday.

CARE staff members are available Monday-Friday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm (when campus is open).During academic breaks and over the summer, CARE Services may close at 4:30 pm.

CARE staff do not regularly check voicemail and email after-hours.

If you are needing immediate assistance when CARE is unavailable, please contact these confidential, free community partners (24/7):

If you need emergency assistance, please call 911 if it feels safe to do so.

No. Options for connecting include in-person in Watkins Health Center, virtually through Zoom, talking by phone, or meeting somewhere else in public either on campus or in the community. CARE staff can typically be flexible to meet your preference.

A first-time meeting typically lasts about 30-60 minutes, but this varies depending on your needs and the conversation.

No, while CARE Services is a program located within CAPS, CARE staff are not part of the CAPS clinical team. Melissa and Mariah are not therapists or licensed mental health professionals. CARE staff do not diagnose mental health conditions, prescribe/manage medications, or set up treatment plans like a therapist or other mental health provider might do. 

Our approach is grounded in the field of professional sexual and domestic violence advocacy. We use active listening, empathy, and supportive counseling skills to help someone feel understood and emotionally safe. Additionally, we may offer information about processes or options that are available and accompany someone to related meetings.

CARE staff will listen to your current needs and offer individualized support and information on these topics with your guidance. You are not required to meet with us ongoing, regularly, or on any set schedule. We understand that you might stop communicating with us at any time, and that you may reach out again later or not. Sometimes people work with CARE Services staff and a therapist at the same time. We recognize that therapy can be helpful in recovering from interpersonal violence, and we can connect you to counseling services on- or off-campus upon request.

Yes, all services provided by CARE are completely free and voluntary for currently-enrolled KU students. CARE may also provide limited financial assistance through the Interpersonal Violence Fund if your circumstances meet the requirements.

CARE Services staff (Melissa and Mariah) are confidential KU employees. CARE Services is part of the counseling center on campus (CAPS), but your information will not be shared with other staff at CAPS, other KU departments, or the police.

Confidential means that any identifying information and what you tell us will not be shared with others unless you give explicit permission. We will not confirm that you have visited our office or are “working with us” to someone else. However, if we learn that you (or someone else) are in imminent danger, we may need to share this with a supervisor and initiate emergency response under these rare circumstances.

Any notes from CARE meetings are kept in a secure Electronic Health Record (EHR) that only Melissa and Mariah can access. Emailing with CARE Services is a less-secure form of communication since total confidentiality cannot be guaranteed with electronic messages. If there is something sensitive you would like to discuss, please schedule a time to meet with us in person, by phone, or virtually.

We can help provide you information about The Office of Civil Rights & Title IX (OCRTIX) and what their outreach means. We can also share information about their office and KU processes that may be available to you, including filing a formal complaint. If you’d like, Mariah or Melissa can attend meetings with you and help you navigate this process. Sometimes people give us permission to ask questions on their behalf. 

CARE staff can also serve as an “advisor” to you during a Title IX-related process. With your permission, we would receive updates and be included on any communication about your case automatically. It’s understandable if you are feeling confused, stressed, or overwhelmed, and we are here to help in a way that feels most useful to you.

Yes. Melissa or Mariah can attend relevant meetings, appointments, and interviews with you in-person or online. When we go with you, our role is to provide emotional support, information, and encouragement. We do not speak for you or provide information to others without your permission.

We are typically available only during our weekday hours (Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm), but there are times we can attend something after-hours with advance noticeSupport must be requested during regular operating hours, as CARE staff do not regularly check email and phone messages after-hours.

To request CARE support at an upcoming meeting, contact us at or 785-864-9255.

  • Off-campus support is always available through The Care Center by calling 785-843-8985 (24/7). A trained advocate from The Care Center will automatically respond to Lawrence Memorial Hospital if you go to the emergency department for post-assault care.

See our Resources page to learn more about options for reporting to KU or law enforcement, or seeking medical care after sexual violence.

Yes. You do not need to report to KU or the police in order to access support from us and get help continuing your education. We know that the decision to report or not is personal and can be complicated.

If you have experienced or are experiencing interpersonal violence — you have the right to request supports at KU – regardless of whether you report or submit a formal complaint. We can help communicate with your professors and help you understand the current academic options available to you. CARE staff are available to discuss your classes and your individual needs. If these are current classes, we can explore ways to request the individualized supportive measures you need such as excused absences, extensions, and alternative assignments. 

If a previous semester or year was significantly affected by violence, you may ask to retroactively withdraw from classes and request a tuition refund. CARE staff can offer info and support you in this process.

Yes, you can still get help. There is no requirement that something must be recent or have happened while you were a KU student. If you experienced interpersonal violence off-campus, during breaks, or before you were a student here, you still deserve support.

It’s not uncommon for someone to seek help at various times in their life for different reasons. 

No you don't. You don’t need to label yourself or define anything you’ve experienced to talk with us. We won’t ask you questions about what happened and you get to decide what’s useful to share. The conversation goes at your pace. 

We feel that you don’t have to have it all figured out and we don’t think there’s one right way to respond.  We are here to listen, support, and process with you no matter what you decide to do or not do. We also acknowledge that it’s okay and understandable for how you feel to change over time.

No. Sometimes people come to us because they want to share details and talk through things that have happened and how they feel. But other times, people don’t or they choose to tell us only part of things. We are okay with either option and everything in between. We trust that you are coming to CARE Services because something’s happened and you need support or information.

No. CARE staff cannot provide legal advice or representation. We only offer general information about your rights after experiencing violence, or how an administrative, criminal, or civil process might work. Depending on your circumstances and needs, CARE staff can refer you to Legal Services for Students (LSS) on campus or other agencies/attorneys in the community.