Harassment is unwanted behaviour “which you find offensive or which makes you feel intimidated or humiliated” (Citizens Advice). This might include:
· Verbal abuse
· Physical abuse
· Physical gestures or facial expressions
· Offensive or distressing emails, and comments on social media or in online forums
· Unwanted and offensive ‘jokes’
· Destruction of property
There are multiple statutes which define harassment, for example the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and the Public Order Act 1986. The Protection from Harassment Act 1997, for example, states that harassment is when the person carrying out the behaviour knows, or ought to know, that the behaviour is causing harassment.
Under the Equality Act 2010, individuals are protected from harassment if it is connected to a protected characteristic. A protected characteristic is an aspect of your identity that makes you who you are. Some examples are:
· Gender reassignment
· Religion or belief (or lack thereof)
· Sexual orientation
· Pregnancy and maternity
· Marriage or civil partnership
If you experience harassment because of a protected characteristic we refer to this using the protected characteristic, for example ‘Racial harassment’ or ‘Disability harassment’. You can report all types of harassment to the University through Report and Support, to the Students’ Union, and/or the Police.