This article provides information about the support services available for students at the University who are/have been subject to bullying/harassment from another student or staff member.

Dignity and respect is undermined by harassment and bullying. Both of these are regarded seriously and may be treated as grounds for disciplinary action. The University takes a zero tolerance approach towards harassment or bullying. It is also expects that dignity and respect towards others is demonstrated by all who work or study at the University


What is bullying and harassment

Under the Equality Act 2010 harassment is unwanted conduct which is related to one of the following: age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation, and is therefore illegal.

Harassment can be defined as unwanted conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of an individual, or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.

Bullying is not defined in UK law. However, it shares many characteristics with harassment. It can be defined as the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate or aggressively dominate others. The behaviour is often repeated and habitual. Bullying can be carried out by an individual or group of people and often involves an abuse of power or Authority.

For further information please refer to page 6 of the Dignity and Respect Policy.


What to do if you think you are being bullied or harassed

If you think you are being bullied or harassed, do not feel that it is your fault or that this should be tolerated. It is important that you take action, and this can be done in a number of ways, both formally and informally.

  • Attempts should be made to resolve any complaints rapidly and informally, wherever possible, as this can lead to the behaviour stopping and resolution to all concerned.
  • In many circumstances the person who makes the complaint will be the recipient of the behaviour complained of, but that may not always be the case. The person raising the issue can also be someone who has direct or sufficient knowledge of the behaviour to enable a complaint to be raised. For example, if they have overheard racist or sexist language which, while not directed at them, caused them offence and distress.
  • If your health is being affected by bullying or harassment you are encouraged to access the support services offered through the Student Wellbeing Services, Student Advice Service, or your own GP.

For further information please refer to page 8 of the Dignity and Respect Policy.


Sources of advice and support

There are a number of sources of advice and support for staff and students who either feel they are being bullied or harassed, or have had a complaint about them. You should be aware that, if any of these sources of support is at any time given details of a potential criminal act, such as physical assault, they will advise you of their limited remit and refer you accordingly to others such as the police. A quick reference list with links is provided below:

SPEAK UP Form -anonymously record an incident of harassment, bullying, discrimination or violence

For further information and a comprehensive list of support services, please refer to page 13 of the Dignity and Respect Policy.


Volunteer as a harassment advisor

If you think you may like to volunteer as a harassment adviser please read the role profile (.doc) for more information. To apply please complete an application form (.doc) and send it to If you have any questions about the Harassment Adviser Network, would like more information on what the role involves, or to find out when the next training sessions are scheduled for please contact us.