We will respond to your report within 2 working days (excluding weekends and bank holidays) - For further information regarding Student Health and Wellbeing Services please click here

What is Marriage and Civil Partnership Discrimination?

Marriage and Civil Partnership discrimination refers to the disadvantaging of a person or people at work because they are married or are in a civil partnership. Civil partners must not be treated less favourably than married couples.

This discrimination does not apply to anyone who is:
  • single;
  • living with someone as a couple neither married nor civil partners; or
  • engaged to be married.
Couples who are separated but not divorced, or not had their partnership dissolved, are protected as they are still legally recognised as together.
Marriage and Civil Partnership discrimination can also come in the form of online harassment

What are the effects of Marriage and Civil Partnership discrimination?

Discrimination creates a hostile environment for all. 

If you have experienced Marriage and Civil Partnership discrimination you may:
  • be uncomfortable, angry or upset;
  • have poor mental health such as anxiety, low mood or depression;
  • be subject to unwanted comments;
  • feel ignored or excluded;
  • be reluctant to engage with work or studies; and
  • feel nervous, vulnerable or stressed.

What can be done if you or someone you know has been the victim of Marriage and Civil Partnership discrimination?

Safety First
If someone is in immediate danger or is seriously injured:
  • Call 999 and ask for the appropriate emergency service.
  • Additionally, if you are on Newcastle University Campus, inform Newcastle University Security using the Safe Zone app or by calling 0191 208 6666.  If you are on the London Campus, please contact main reception on 0203 752 2459.
Legal action
The harassment provisions that relate to other protected characteristics do not apply to marriage and civil partnership. However, if you are subjected to hostile, intimidating, humiliating, degrading or offensive treatment because you are married or in a civil partnership, you could bring a claim for direct discrimination. You need to demonstrate that you have been treated worse than others who are not married or in a civil partnership.
Report anonymously to the University

Our online Report and Support Tool enables students and colleagues to report concerns about harassment, sexual violence or hate crime anonymously. Whether you experienced this directly, witnessed an incident, or heard through a third party, our report and support tool will record the incident and inform our preventative work. Our community is an environment where prejudice and socially unacceptable behaviour are never tolerated. 

Ask the University to take action

For Students: If you would like to report concerns about harassment, sexual violence, discrimination or hate crime, which was carried out by a member of the Newcastle University community, you can discuss this with the Student Progress Casework Team. You can email them directly via Casework@ncl.ac.uk and with your consent and cooperation, they will initiate the appropriate complaint or disciplinary processes.  
For Colleagues: If you are a Newcastle University colleague and have experienced, witnessed or heard about harassment, sexual violence, discrimination or a hate crime, and wish to formally report it, you can do so by raising your concerns with your line manager in the first instance. If you do not feel this reporting mechanism is appropriate, you can speak to another manager or your local People Service Advisor (click here for a list of contacts). Alternatively, you can follow our grievance procedure (click here for more information). All complaints will be taken extremely seriously and investigated in line with our colleague policies and procedures. 

 Support for Students

Remember you do not have to make any formal report to the University or the Police to receive free and confidential support from the University. It may be a good idea to speak to your Personal Tutor or Research Supervisor to inform your school of the impact your experiences have had upon your studies and where this has had a negative impact on an assignment/examination you can seek an adjustment via the PEC system.
The Student Health and Wellbeing Teams are experienced in supporting students who have been victims of marriage and civil partnership discrimination or harassment and they work closely with local and national partners to link you to more specialist support, should you need it.
  • Our Faith and Spirituality Team provide dedicated and confidential support for anyone affected by harassment and in need of someone to talk to. They can be contacted by email: pastoral.support@ncl.ac.uk
  • You can receive confidential counselling support from the Newcastle University Student Health and Wellbeing Counselling Team.  In London, please come to the 4th floor Welcome Desk and ask to see the Student Welfare Officer, who can refer you to the London based counsellor.
  • All postgraduate students can receive free 24/7 personal support from our PG Support Service.
Newcastle University Student Union (NUSU)

Advice and support is also available from your NUSU Welfare and Equality Officer, BAME Officer and LGBT+ Officer who are advocates for minority groups on campus.

You can contact the officers via email:
Welfare and Equality Officer: welfare.union@newcastle.ac.uk
BAME Officer: bame.union@newcastle.ac.uk
LGBT+ Officer: lgbt.union@newcastle.ac.uk

If matters are affecting your academic work, your accommodation or financial situation you can contact the Student Advice Centre for support (SAC).

You can also report sexual harassment and violence, discrimination, initiations, domestic abuse, bullying or hate crimes perpetrated by a student, staff member or member of the general public directly to your Student Union via the anonymous ‘It Happens Here’ disclosure system.  Reporting into this system gives you 2 options.  Option 1 asks you to complete a disclosure/report form anonymously to the NUSU’s independent SAC.  Option 2 will ask you to provide contact details which allows the SAC to contact you to arrange an appointment (via telephone or in person).

Accommodation Services and ResLife
If you are a student living in the University owned or managed-partnership accommodation, you can also speak to a member of Accommodation Services or the ResLife team based in your student village. This support can be found across Castle Leazes Student Village, Park View Student Village, Kensington/Park Student Village, and the ResLife Helix Hub (specifically for those students living in the managed-partnership accommodation). The ResLife team is experienced in supporting students living in the student accommodation with free support, information and guidance affected by harassment or discrimination in any form. 

The ResLife team can be contacted:
Further Information regarding support available from ResLife can be found at the ResLife page.

Guidance from Accommodation Services can also be found at the Accommodation Services page.

Support for Staff

Newcastle University staff can access information, advice, support and counselling from the Employee Assistance Programme, which can include support to those supporting staff or students through difficult times.  The Employee Assistance Programme can be accessed via the following mechanisms.
  • Free 24-Hour confidential helpline: 0800 030 5182
  • Or for international calls: +44 0161 836 9498 (this will incur a charge) you will need to quote the username 'Newcastle' and the password 'University'
  •  Via the web portal (password as above). Navigate to 'Contact us' and you will find a form to request support.
  •  Via the Health Assured app (install the app onto your mobile).  There is a form to request support without making a phone call.
Staff are welcome to contact the Employee Assistance Programme directly.  Alternatively, managers can make a referral.  Information on how to make a referral can be found on our Employee Assistance Programme web page.

JustAsk is a listening service offering confidential support and signposting to staff.  It is operated by a team of volunteers who can provide a listening ear and information to their staff on a range of issues.

Our Faith and Spirituality Team also provide dedicated and confidential support for anyone affected by harassment and in need of someone to talk to. They can be contacted by email: pastoral.support@ncl.ac.uk.

The Education Support Network
Free telephone and online support and counselling for anyone who works in Education.

Trade Unions

Newcastle University recognises three campus trade unions: UNISON, UCU and UNITE.


Unison are here to support its members who feel they are experiencing discrimination in the workplace. Our branch officers and stewards are experienced in dealing with and advising on issues of discrimination. We are also backed up by regional and national self-organised groups who campaign for the rights of people with protected characteristics.

If you'd like to discuss any issues you are facing, please do not hesitate to email or call us directly for advice.

Contact details: Tel: 07557 922 884 / Email: unison@ncl.ac.uk


UCU (University and College Union) can support members who are experiencing discrimination in the workplace.  The branch committee and caseworkers are there to help staff experiencing discrimination, with the support of regional and national UCU officers.  If you wish to discuss any issues, please see our website for contact details.


Unite acts on behalf of its members and bargains with employers to achieve greater equality and diversity in the workplace. If you are suffering from discrimination, harassment or bullying at work you should contact your shop steward, representative or regional Unite office. All enquiries are treated as confidential.   

Email: unite@newcastle.ac.uk

External sources of support


0300 003 0396


A charity that aims to support relationships, working with couples, single people and families, regardless of age, sexual orientation and cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

Rights of Women

0207 251 6577 (Family Law)


A women’s charity working to provide women in England and Wales with the legal advice and information they need to understand and use the law and their legal rights.

Equality Advisory & Support (EASS)

0808 800 0082

Advises and assists individuals on issues relating to equality and human rights across England, Scotland and Wales.

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