Harassment is never okay. We condemn unacceptable behaviour, including all forms of harassment under the Equality Act 2010.
If you know someone who has been affected by harassment, you are not alone, support is available.
What is harassment?
Harassment is unwanted physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct which may (intentionally or unintentionally) violate a person’s dignity or create an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment, which interferes with an individual’s learning, working or social environment. It also includes treating someone less favourably because they have submitted or refused to submit to such behaviour in the past.
Unlawful harassment may involve sexual harassment or be related to a protected characteristic such as age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation. We believe harassment is unacceptable even if it does not fall within any of these categories.
Harassment may include, for example:
- unwanted physical conduct or ‘horseplay’, including touching, pinching, pushing, grabbing, brushing past someone, invading their personal space and more serious forms of physical or sexual assault
- offensive or intimidating comments or gestures, or insensitive jokes or pranks
- mocking, mimicking or belittling a person’s disability
- racist, sexist, homophobic or ageist jokes, or derogatory or stereotypical remarks about a particular ethnic or religious group or gender
- outing or threatening to out someone as gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans
- ignoring or shunning someone, for example, by deliberately excluding them from a conversation or a social activity.
A person may be harassed even if they were not the intended "target". For example, a person may be harassed by racist jokes about a different ethnic group if they create an offensive environment.
What can you do?
- Are they in immediate danger? If they are in immediate danger or seriously injured, you can call 999 (or 112 from a mobile).
- Find a safe space. If an incident has just happened try and find somewhere they feel safe.
- Listen. Just taking the time to listen to someone and talk about what has happened can help. These six active listening tips might help you support them.
- If someone you know has been affected, you can encourage them to seek support. Alternatively you make an anonymous disclosure which will allow us to investigate if there are multiple instances in one area.
- Give options. When they have finished talking ask them if they are okay to talk through some possible options and next steps.
- Report and Get Support. An advisor can talk through the University's procedures and what support is available, in confidence. Advisors can talk to someone who is experiencing something, or someone who is supporting that person.
- University Procedure. Reporting via Report and Support does not necessarily initiate a formal investigative process, but will allow an appropriate member of staff to contact you to speak to you about the options available to you, and the steps we may take as a University. The information you provide in this report will only be shared with relevant members of staff on a need-to-know basis.
(Based on the Samaritans guidelines for active listening)