The SU strongly believe that everyone deserves the right to go through University feeling safe, comfortable and happy in their surroundings. Wherever or whenever it occurs, be it online, at home or on campus, the SU operate a zero tolerance approach to sexual harassment.
Holly Stewart, Students’ Union Women’s Officer 2014-15, introduced the Sexual Harassment Policy for the Students’ Union to state categorically the SU’s zero tolerance position for sexual harassment. The policy runs alongside the University’s policy against sexual assault and lead to a greater understanding and awareness around the issue of sexual harassment. The policy will also help to inform the campaign for Inclusive Sports at the University of Chichester and the challenges associated with the misogynistic, sexist and chauvinistic attitudes that can be evident within, but not limited to, the sporting culture.
Why is sexual harassment such an important issue?
- In 2010 NUS did a hidden marks report into the experiences of women students. The results revealed that:
- 1 in 10 women have been victim of serious physical or sexual violence.
- 68% of women students have experienced harassment in or around their institution. Behaviour such as groping, flashing and unwanted sexual comments has become almost ‘everyday’ occurrences for some women students.
- 12% reported being stalked while at university or college.
What is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment is a form of sexual discrimination. It is very important to recognise that anyone can be involved in an incident of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment can occur between any of the same or different sexes, any gender identity or sexual expression.
It could include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours or any other form of physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature or demeaning actions directed at a person.
What sort of things can be defined as sexual harassment?
It’s important to recognise that there is no definitive list on what is or is not sexual harassment, if you believe you are being sexually harassed then you most likely are.
Sexual harassment can be physical, such as groping but it can also include persistent online messages, spreading malicious rumours of a sexual nature, sexual threats and cat-calling.
What is the law?
The Equality Act (2010, Section 26) defines 3 types of harassment:
i) Unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the complainant, or violating the complainant’s dignity.
ii) Unwanted conduct of a sexual nature (sexual harassment)
iii) Treating a person less favourably than another person because they have either submitted to, or did not submit to, sexual harassment or harassment related to sex or gender reassignment.
What can I do if I feel I have been sexually harassed?
If you’re worried about your safety - get yourself somewhere where you feel safe as soon as possible (communal areas, staffed areas, etc.). Find emotional support from someone you fully trust, such as a friend, member of staff, Student Advisor, Nurse Health Adviser or contact the police.
If you feel you have been subject to sexual harassment, there are a number of avenues which you can take. You can contact a member of the SU (contact details can be found on UCSU.org) and we can support you and advise you on what you can do and where you can get further help.
Experiencing Sexual assault
The SU relies on the University of Chichester’s sexual assault policy in dealing with sexual assault. If you have been victim of sexual assault then get yourself to a safe space as soon as possible and follow the University’s advice on what steps to take.
What can the University do?
The Student Support and Wellbeing team are available within working hours (09.00 – 17.00) to provide support, advice and assistance as required. We can escort you or provide and arrange transport to the sexual assault referral centre.
Consequences of Sexual Harassment for Perpetrators
The SU and the University of Chichester have a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment.
Individuals engaging in sexual harassment will be taken through the University and/or the Students Union’s disciplinary procedures and could face sanctions from formal warning through to suspension and/or expulsion from the University.
Where criminal proceedings are deemed appropriate and the matter is reported to the police, then criminal proceedings take precedence over the SU and University disciplinary procedure. Action by the University and/or the SU will be considered upon completion of criminal investigation by the police.
All complaints and allegations will be dealt with in the strictest confidentiality. The SU and the University will always consider the safety and well-being of the victim above all else in the pursuance of complaints regarding sexual harassment.
Student Wellbeing Advisor: 01243 816238 / AdviseU@chi.ac.uk
Nurse Health Advisors: 01243 816111 / email@example.com
Director of Student Support and Transition, Dave Corcoran: 01243 816459 / firstname.lastname@example.org
UinMind Mental Health Advice Service: 01243 816402 / UinMind@chi.ac.uk
If calling out of hours (21.00 – 05.00) the following can be contacted:
Security: 01243 816363
SIZ (up to 22.00): 01243 816222
Duty Manager: 07974 829935
Police: 01273 475432 or 101 (non-emergency) or 999 (emergency)