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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 Online Harassment?

Cyberbullying or online harassment is offensive behaviour, based on protected characteristics, that makes a person or group feel humiliated, intimidated or degraded. It creates a hostile and offensive environment for all. 

Online harassment can include publishing or sending:
  • offensive or threatening comments;
  • inappropriate messages/emails; and
  • embarrassing pictures/videos/websites.
It can also include cyberstalking, online impersonating, doxxing (publishing someone’s personal information online as a call for others to harass them) and trolling.  Criminal legislation can apply to associated behaviours such as criminal harassment, stalking, malicious communications, and disclosing private sexual images.

As with other forms of harassment and hate crime, online harassment is often a result of discriminatory attitudes. Online harassment can also be considered discrimination if the person or group are being targeted because of a protected characteristic: (age, disability, transgender, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation).

Online harassment may be taking place on one of the many social media platforms.  Facebook, Instagram and Twitter being the most commonly used.  If this is happening, it might be a good idea to report the harassment via their reporting tool to begin with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

What are the effects of online harassment?

Online harassment can have severe and long-term impacts on physical, emotional and mental wellbeing and affect academic achievement and lifelong social engagement.

If you have experienced online harassment, BullyingUK detail that you may:
  • experience low self-esteem;
  • withdrawer from family / friends and spend a lot of time alone;
  • be reluctant to allow parents / friends / family anywhere near your mobile / laptop etc.;
  • lose weight and change appearance;
  • self-harm;
  • abuse alcohol or substances;
  • have poor mental health such as anxiety, low mood or depression; and
  • find excuses to stay away from work / university or engage with work / studies.

What can be done if you or someone you know has been the victim of online harassment?

 
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.

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. 


Report to the Police

If you, or somebody you know has been or is currently experiencing online harassment (but is not in immediate danger) then you can report it to the police by either phoning 101, or reporting online.

You can also report incidents to our campus police officer (Newcastle).  For London, we ask that you please report this to the Welcome Desk on the 4th Floor.

If you have been the victim of online harassment and choose to report it to the police, they will investigate the allegation and ensure that you are safeguarded. They will also link you to appropriate local and national support services.


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 online 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

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 

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

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

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 resources


Stop Online Abuse

www.stoponlineabuse.org.uk

Find out more about online abuse and harassment, what you can do to stop it and where to get support.


The Cyber Helpline

www.thecyberhelpline.com

Supporting victims of cybercrime.


National Stalking Helpline

0808 802 0300

www.suzylamplugh.org/Pages/Category/national-stalking-helpline

Advice for victims of stalking.


Victim Support

0808 168 9111
 
www.victimsupport.org.uk

National Hate Crime Report and Support Centre supporting people affected by crime and traumatic incidents in England and Wales regardless of whether a crime has been reported.


Northumbria Police

https://services.northumbria.police.uk/online-services/report-an-incident/

Northumbria Police have an online form for reporting incidents, including hate crimes.
 
 
Crimestoppers

0800 555 111

www.crimestoppers-uk.org

Call anonymously with information about crime.

 
Stop Hate Line

0800 138 1625

www.stophateuk.org

Contact Stop Hate UK for immediate advice and support. Anyone who is either a victim or a witness of a hate crime will be able to report the incident directly to the Helpline.


True Vision

www.report-it.org.uk
 
True Vision: Police funded website designed to provide information about hate crime and aimed at improving the service that Police provide to minority communities. Self-reporting and information pack available as well as online facilities to report hate crime quickly to the Police.
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