We want all our students to feel safe and supported during their time at University Centre Leeds. If you experience prejudice, discrimination, harassment or violence as a student, please know you are not alone in dealing with this - help and support is available.
What is harassment?
Harassment includes any unwanted behaviour or conduct which intends to violate a person’s dignity, or create an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment due to any of the following protected characteristics:
- Gender reassignment
- Religion or belief
- Sexual orientation
Harassment also includes:
- Incidents of physical violence towards a person due to a protected characteristic
- Hate crimes perceived to be motivated by hostility or prejudice
- Domestic violence and abuse (which involves control, coercion and threats), and stalking
What is sexual misconduct?
Sexual misconduct relates to all unwanted conduct of a sexual nature. This includes but is not limited to:
- Sexual harassment
- Unwanted conduct which creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment
- Physical unwanted sexual advances
- Intimidation, or promising resources or benefits in return for sexual favours
- Distributing private and personal explicit images or video footage of an individual without their consent
Harassment and sexual misconduct can happen through any medium, including online.
If you have experienced harassment or sexual misconduct of any kind, we are here for you and can provide you with the necessary support should you choose to report or disclose an incident to us.
You can report your experience to our Safeguarding team here - the information you provide will be dealt with in a sensitive and confidential manner.
Alternatively, for more information, please visit the Safeguarding site.
Find out more on our Safeguarding Children and Adults Policy here.
Call it out
Our call it out campaign urges staff and students to call out any form of harassment or sexual misconduct.
‘Call it out’ aims to raise awareness of the help and support available if students face discrimination, prejudice, harassment, sexual misconduct or violence.
If you experience a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable, such as inappropriate, offensive or unwanted behaviour or comments, call it out.
Increase your awareness of unacceptable behaviour.
Speak to a trusted member of staff if you experience harassment.
Be an ally
Support those around you by standing up against any forms of harassment.
University Centre Leeds offers support to all students who have experienced harassment or sexual misconduct.
There are a number of charities and organisations that offer advice and support:
Practical information about reporting incidents and the police force in your area.
Citizens Advice provides information on what you can do if you or someone you know has experienced a hate incident or crime. These may occur due to prejudice or hostility based on a person’s disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or personal identity.
Rape Crisis helps you find your nearest Rape Crisis centre, as well as offering online emotional support and self-help tools.
Stonewall can recommend local LGBTQ+ support services and community groups.
TellMama offers a support service for people across England to report any form of anti-Muslim abuse.
Rights UK runs a dedicated helpline for students with disabilities. They also campaign to improve rights for those with disabilities and to tackle hostility, bullying and hate crime.
The CST charity aims to protect British Jews from any form of antisemitism.
If you believe you are experiencing harassment or victimisation, do not feel it is your fault or that you have to put up with it. Our main priority is getting you the appropriate support, assistance and confidential advice you deserve.
Anyone who experiences or witnesses harassment or victimisation should not wait until the situation becomes intolerable. While there is no time limit, it is easier to stop any unwanted behaviour as soon as it occurs, as incidents can be described in detail and witnesses are able to recall more vividly what they saw.
You have the opportunity to make a formal complaint at any stage – however, where possible complaints of harassment and victimisation will be dealt with informally as this is likely to produce speedier and more successful outcomes.
If you witness acts of harassment,victimisation or behaviour you consider to be inappropriate, it is helpful if you:
- Where possible and if you are comfortable doing so, intervene at the time of the incident
- Encourage the individual or group to seek appropriate support and guidance
- Offer appropriate support yourself, for example by volunteering to provide an accurate witness statement
- Report the incident(s) to a tutor/member of staff; if you believe the tutor or staff member has contributed to the development of the incident, the matter should be raised with the person above them in the organisation’s structure
If you feel harassed or victimised as a result of an incident, or you have been accused of harassment or victimisation, you may need support.
Support is primarily available from the Safeguarding team and the HE Progression & Wellbeing Tutor, but you may also wish to speak to your personal tutor/course leader or the Student Support team. The primary role of anyone supporting you is to listen, provide independent support and make you aware of the options available to you. All matters will be treated in a sensitive and confidential manner, within the remit of legal responsibilities and the need to investigate the allegations.
External support sources can also be found above.
If you have been accused of harassment or victimisation, either by a fellow student or member of staff, you should seek advice from another member of staff. You should bear in mind:
- The complainant does not have to raise the issue directly with you before making their complaint and in some instances they may not feel able or willing to contact you in person
- You may feel shocked, upset or even outraged to have received an accusation. However all students and staff have the right to ask a person to stop behaving in a manner which they feel is insulting, degrading or offensive towards them
- Differences in attitude, background and culture may lead to a misinterpretation of social signals. This could mean that what is perceived as harassment by one person may not seem so to another
- Try to remain calm and listen carefully to the complaints and the particular concerns, remembering that it is the other person’s reaction to the behaviour which is important, not the reaction you think they should have
- Try to agree with the complainant, or with others who are discussing or raising the complaint with you, on ways to resolve the situation productively
- Consider whether you have in fact behaved inappropriately, and whether it would be advisable or appropriate to change your behaviour
University Centre Leeds has a duty to investigate all reported incidents of harassment and victimisation. We also have an equal duty of care to both the accuser and accused, and allegations will not be presumed proven until properly investigated using appropriate procedures.
If you have received notification that a formal complaint has been made in relation to an incident or incidents, you should:
- Read the formal notification informing you of the complaint made, noting any actions required on your part
- Read through the procedures and note your own obligations as a member of the college’s community
- Avoid contact with the person who has made the allegation
- Make notes relating to any incidents that have occurred involving the person making the allegations against you and be prepared to respond to questions relating to these incidents