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 Sexual Orientation Discrimination?

Sexual orientation discrimination refers to putting a person or group of people at a disadvantage because of their sexual orientation. For example, a bus driver asking you to get off the bus for holding hands with your lesbian partner. It’s illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of to whom they are attracted (whether they are attracted to people of their own sex, the opposite sex, and/or to non-binary individuals). Discrimination by association is also illegal: for example, being refused entry to a venue because of the sexual orientation of someone who is with you.
Discrimination relating to gender identity would not normally be categorised as sexual orientation discrimination. If a person is treated worse because they identify as a different gender to that assigned to them at birth, or are perceived to due to their gender expression, this would be Trans Discrimination .

Sexual orientation discrimination could involve direct/indirect discrimination, harassment, victimisation, or third party harassment through means including verbal, non-verbal or physical aggression towards a person or people because of their sexual orientation. This includes actions labelled as jokes, for example peers greeting a male student by the feminine version of their name even though he has asked them not to. Even if unintentional, it would be considered discrimination if it was unwanted behaviour that the person believed was motivated because of their sexual orientation.

Harassment can be a one-off incident, or part of an ongoing campaign, or may take the form of microaggressionsCitizens Advice details harassment may include:
  • verbal and physical abuse
  • bullying at university or work
  • teasing, hassling, intimidation or threats
  • violence and physical attack
  • online abuse
  • damage to property
Please see the online harassment article for further information and advice. 

What are the effects of Sexual Orientation Harassment?

Sexual orientation harassment is offensive behaviour that makes a person or a group of people feel humiliated, intimidated or degraded.  Harassment creates a hostile environment for all.
If you have experienced sexual orientation harassment, The Mental Health Foundation detail that you may:
  • feel uncomfortable, angry or upset
  • have poor mental health such as anxiety, low mood or depression
  • self-harm
  • be subject to unwanted comments
  • misuse alcohol and substances
  • feel isolated, ignored or excluded

What can be done if you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual orientation harassment or 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.
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 a crime is committed based on prejudice relating to protected characteristics  then this is a Hate Crime.

If you, or somebody you know, has been the victim of a crime which is based on prejudice relating to their sexual orientation (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 a hate crime based on prejudice 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 sexual orientation 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


01273 721211


Allsorts Youth Project listens to, supports & connects children & young people under 26 who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or unsure (LGBTU) of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.


National organisation of Disabled Lesbians, Gay Men, Bisexuals and Transgender People.

Broken Rainbow

0300 999 5428


National LGBT Domestic Violence Helpline providing confidential support to all members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) communities, their family and friends, and agencies supporting them.

MESMAC Newcastle

0191 233 1333


MESMAC Newcastle works with all men who have sex with other men to increase the range of choices open to them.


0800 050 2020


Help and advice for all all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people.

Northumbria Police


Northumbria Police have an online form for reporting incidents which specifically asks about threat, force, violence or intimidation which may be related to race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Stop Hate Line

0800 138 1625


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


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 that allows you to report hate crime quickly to the Police.


0800 555 111


Call anonymously with information about crime.

Equality Advisory & Support (EASS)

0808 800 0082


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

Victim Support

0808 168 9111
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.

There are two ways you can tell us what happened