Sexual harassment can be defined as ‘unwanted conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity’.
It can take many forms and may include verbal comments, digital communication, social media postings and inappropriate physical contact.
Sexual harassment can be perpetrated by strangers or by someone known to you and can be based on individual characteristics and personality traits, such as gender, sexuality, mannerisms, gestures and behaviours.
Sexual harassment creates an intimidating, hostile environment for all.
What can be done if you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual harassment?
If someone is in immediate danger or is seriously injured
- Call 999 and ask for the appropriate responders.
- Additionally, if you are on Newcastle University Campus, inform Newcastle University Security about what has happened using the Safe Zone app or by calling 0191 208 6666.
Report to the Police
If you, or somebody you know, has been or is currently experiencing sexual harassment but is not in immediate danger then you can report it to the police by calling 101.
You can also report this to our campus police officer who holds drop-in sessions on campus twice a week.
The police will investigate the allegation and ensure that you are safeguarded. They will also link you to appropriate local and national support services.
When it comes to reporting, remember the choice is yours; no one should pressure you into any decision or action.
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 and Receive Support from the University
Students can receive support from the University if the student’s contact details are provided when a report is made using this reporting system. Once a report is made we will link the student with one of our Sexual Violence Liaison Officers (SVLO), who will provide practical and emotional support, along with information about further options available.
The SVLO’s will also link the student with other teams who can take action to help with other areas of need, such as studies and living accommodation.
If you are supporting a survivor of sexual harassment, it is important that you take care of yourself and support for you is available via the services detailed below:
- PGR’s and PGT’s can receive support from our 24/7 PG Support Service.
- All students can receive support from the University’s Counselling services.
- Staff can access help via the Employee Assistance Programme.
Support for Students
Newcastle University Sexual Violence Liaison Officers (SVLOs):
Newcastle Student Health and Wellbeing Teams: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/wellbeing/
SafeZone is a free new app for all students and staff that connects you directly to the university security team when you need help while you are on campus.
You can get urgent help if you or someone near you, feels threatened or is the victim of an assault or robbery. You can also call for First Aid or help in less urgent situations. When you raise an alarm or call for help, all on-campus security team members will be alerted to your situation and location so that they can co-ordinate to help you quickly and effectively.
Safezone App: https://www.nusu.co.uk/support/respect/safezone/
Newcastle University Student Union (NUSU)
NUSU Welfare and Equality Officer: https://www.nusu.co.uk/yourvoice/officers/welfare/
If matters are impacting on your academic work, your accommodation or finance you can contact the Student Advice Centre for support.
NUSU Student Advice Centre: https://www.nusu.co.uk/support/sac/
You can also report sexual harassment directly to your Student Union via the anonymous ‘It Happens Here’ Disclosure system.
NUSU reporting system: https://www.nusu.co.uk/support/ithappenshere/
Support for Staff
Employee Assistance Programme:
24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year support
- Confidential support, independent organisation from the University.
- Accessible via phone, email, website.
- No cost to you.
- No limit to the number of issues you can receive support on.
The Education Support Network:
Free telephone and online support and counselling for anyone who works in Education.
Newcastle University recognises three campus trade unions.
External sources of support
A charity, which supports lesbian, gay, bi, trans, and queer people affected by sexual and domestic violence.
National Association for People Abused in Childhood
The UK’s leading national charity offering support to adult survivors of all types of childhood abuse, including physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect.
Newcastle Rape Examination Advice Counselling Help
Newcastle’s sexual assault referral centre, which provides free, confidential counselling, support and advice service for men and women who have been subjected to an attack of a sexual nature.
Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland
A charity, which provides free, safe, professional support and information for women and girls over 13, who have experienced any form of sexual violence at any time in their lives.
Revenge Porn Helpline
Funded by the UK Government Equalities Office, this helpline provides a service dedicated to supporting all adults who have been victim of intimate image abuse. They provide free, non-judgemental and confidential advice and support via email and phone.
The Samaritans charity provide 24/7 support to help reduce feelings of isolation and disconnection.
Tel: 116 123 (24 hours) https://www.samaritans.org
Someone Cares Newcastle
A charity, which offers a free counselling service for survivors and supporters of abuse, specialising in childhood sexual abuse, rape and sexual assault.
Survivors UK (National)
Information, support and counselling for men and boys who have been raped or sexually abused.
Free and confidential support to help deal with your experience, whether or not you report the crime to the police.
Tel: 0808 168 9111 https://www.victimsupport.org.uk/