Bullying & Harassment
Your choices if you are being bullied or cyber-bullied, harassed or sexually harassed, or have been the victim of domestic abuse or a hate crime or incident
It’s not OK that this is happening to you. The University of Salford is committed to providing a fair, equitable and supportive learning and teaching environment, in which all members of our community are treated with dignity and respect. The University will not tolerate bullying, harassment or victimisation. All allegations of bullying and harassment will be taken seriously and addressed carefully and appropriately. If this is happening outside the University we will work to support you. This guidance provides information that you might want to consider when making a decision about what to do next, and support which is available for you.
Sometimes people aren’t really sure what qualifies as abusive behaviour. Some examples include:
- Physical – Being hurt, injured and/or treated roughly.
- Sexual – Non-consensual intimate touching, sexual comments and/or suggestions.
- Psychological – Being pressured into doing something that you do not wish to do, frequent negative, critical destructive comments, or constant continuing contact that you can’t get away from.
- Cyber abuse – Being harmed in a deliberate, repeated and hostile manner through the use of internet and related technologies (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, email, mobile phone).
- Financial – Having personal finances taken by another or persuaded to hand them over against your wishes.
- Neglect – Not having your specific care needs met by another (in particular someone who is responsible for your care).
- Discriminatory – Treating you in a negative and different way based on your ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability etc.
Bullying, stalking and harassment and any kind of discrimination and abuse can change the way you feel about yourself and others. If hostility has been specifically directed at you because of a characteristic – such as age, disability or gender identity, it is not unusual to feel strongly affected by it, even if the incident itself was apparently quite minor. If someone who has authority or power over you is harassing you, it’s normal to feel isolated and helpless. People sometimes feel confused, ashamed, distressed, frightened or angry when being bullied or harassed. There is no right or wrong way to feel. However you are feeling, try to remember that this is not your fault, you are not to blame, and you are not alone.
You should not feel under any pressure to act in any specific way. Any decisions made will be yours alone and will be respected.
Please see below the checklist of steps to consider.
If you have been hurt or feel under immediate physical threat you can seek emergency help:
If you or others feel at risk or consider the situation to be an emergency, you can call the Police on 999.
If you need urgent medical help you should call for an ambulance (also on 999). This includes if you have suicidal feelings.
If you are on a University campus, after calling 999 you may wish to contact the University Security Service (emergencies: 0161 295 3333) for additional support and to help the emergency services reach you quickly.
Non-emergency help and next steps
Security on campus
You can contact the University’s Security Service by phone from any campus, or go to the Security Office at Maxwell Well on Peel Park Campus, 24 hours a day (down the road to left of main Maxwell entrance then turn right and ring the intercom).
If you require medical treatment but not urgently, you can access your G.P. or other NHS services (this website describes the different services and also allows you to search for services near you). If you are not sure what help to access you can call the NHS non-emergency advice line 111. If you would like some support for the mental and emotional impacts of the bullying / harassment, you can contact the University’s Counselling & Wellbeing Service.
Initial support and signposting
The University’s Counselling & Wellbeing Service provides a listening ear and can also support you if you want to know what next steps might be available for you. Their services are completely confidential. This client confidentiality will only be broken if the counsellors think there is a risk to you or someone else, or if there is a legal duty. How to contact Counselling & Wellbeing.
Alternatively, you may wish to speak to someone in your school such as your personal tutor or programme leader. School staff can provide initial support and signpost you to relevant support services. They can also help put a plan in place for your studies if you need any reasonable adjustments. They can be contacted during normal office hours, and if you are not sure how to get in touch your School Office can help you.
You can also access advice and guidance from your G.P. surgery (you may be registered with the University Medical Centre or otherwise you can look up your G.P.’s information here if you can’t remember).
The university works closely with Greater Manchester Police and has two assigned Police Liaison Officers. They can offer information and guidance about reporting bullying, harassment, hate incidents and crime. You can speak to the Police Liaison Officers without your query becoming an official complaint to the Police. You can also speak to the Police Liaison Officers anonymously (for example, over the phone without giving your name) if you wish. You can contact them via the askUS:Enquiries service or the Security team.
If you have an accommodation issue, and your landlord /accommodation provider can’t help, or you need financial help, or other non-academic advice, contact the askUS: Enquiries team.
Salford University Students’ Union Student Advice Centrealso provide independent advice and support on a range of issues.
Specialist support in the local community and nationally
You may prefer to speak to someone outside of the University instead of, or as well as, our services. The last section has a list of external agencies offering support.
Write things down. By putting what has happened on to paper, along with all the examples and evidence that you have (text messages, notes, photos etc.) you might find it easier to get it out of your head and see the big picture.
Talk it through with someone, or more than one person. One or more other perspectives might help you decide whether you have been putting up with behaviour which is hurtful and unreasonable, to see how much it is really impacting on you, or perhaps whether you are assuming you know what other people’s intentions are when you really can’t, or that they know what you are thinking or feeling when that may not be as obvious as you think.
Talk to the person, or one of the people, who are doing it. It is possible that they haven’t really thought about the impact this is having on you, or faced up to the fact that what they are doing is inappropriate. Just having this conversation can feel really hard, and it’s OK to be nervous – you could put it in writing, or talk through with someone what you might say. To keep things neutral try “I don’t know if you realise, but when you [do this behaviour] I feel [how you feel about it] and I’d like you to stop doing it” rather than “Your bullying behaviour is causing me to have a breakdown!”
Ask someone for help. For example, if you are living in a Halls of Residence, talk to a member of the management team. If the problem is happening in your School, talk to a member of staff you feel you can trust. They might not be able to fix the problem immediately, but they might be able to help. If you can, talk to someone before you have reached the limit of tolerance, while there is still a chance to sort things out. But, depending on the circumstances, that may not be possible.
Report the behaviour to the University. Whether the person who is doing this is a student or staff member, the University has expectations of appropriate behaviour between the members of our community. The University has internal procedures for addressing misconduct by students and staff, such as the Student Disciplinary procedure. You can speak to askUS: Enquiries services or a member of staff in your School to find out more about this. It’s helpful to be aware that as these are internal institutional procedures they are limited in scope and may be put on hold until the completion of any legal or criminal proceedings
Try Mediation. This is where trained staff can help two people or small groups of people to resolve a dispute, by helping to look at the situation in a new way and see if they can solve the problem together. It does usually take a day or two to complete and both parties need to agree to participate. However it can be very effective especially if you would like to preserve a relationship with the other person in the future. The University has a Mediation service for issues between students, staff, or students and staff; contact askUS:Enquiries to request that someone from the Mediation Network contacts you. Other community or specialist services may be available locally to you.
Report the behaviour to the police. Harassment, stalking, and criminal behaviour targeted at you because of a protected characteristic are all illegal. Even apparently minor actions if they are unwanted, and repeated, can be the subject of legal action. You can contact the police by:
- dialling 999 in an emergency
- dialling 101 if it is not an emergency
- going to your nearest police station – find out where it is and when it’s open here. You may want to ask a friend or relative to go with you
- contacting one of the University’s police liaison officers via askUS: Enquiries or University Security
Contact a solicitor. There are options in civil law as well – you can apply for a restraining order against another person, which requires them to stay away from you, for example. Some solicitors offer schemes where you can get 30 minutes advice for free.
Report hate crimes or incidents anonymously. You may decide that you aren’t going to take any action, but you would still like the incident to be on record. It is unlikely that the police would be able to prosecute anybody from an anonymous report, however it could alert them to information which could lead them to serial offenders or help to prevent future attacks, and it contributes to the national picture of hate crime activity. You can report it yourself online using the TrueVision site, also the university is a Hate Crime Reporting Centre, and our staff can support you in completing the report form if you like (for example you could talk to the askUS: Enquiries team).
Think about it for a bit longer. You might want to wait before taking further action. If you still think you might want to act in future then keep a detailed record of anything else which happens and keep any evidence.
Get some specialist information and support. If you are being picked out because of a protected characteristic, you might want support provided by other people who have the same characteristic or have been through the same thing. Also you might want to find out a bit more about what is happening to you. There are specialist resources available about bullying, cyber-bullying, harassment, sexual harassment, stalking, domestic abuse, and different types of hate incidents and hate crime, including victimisation because of a characteristic that someone else, who you have a relationship with, has. You might be surprised by some of what you find out, it might help to know what other people have experienced and how they reacted, and it might help you make a decision about the next steps for you. See the last section for some options for external support.
Go down a different route. You may decide that what you are experiencing isn’t bullying. It may be that someone else’s behaviour is not aimed at you specifically, it’s just unacceptable in general. For example if your housemate plays their music at full blast at all hours of the night whenever they feel like it. Sometimes their behaviour might not necessarily be completely unreasonable but it affects you very strongly because you both have really different personalities, needs, values or attitudes to life. For example if someone texts you to chat frequently throughout the day and into the evening, you might find it overwhelming, but they might expect to act that way with all their friends. In that case, many of the options above may well still be useful to you.
The National Bullying Helpline assists both adults and children with issues in the home, at study, in the community, the playground or the workplace.
Cybersmile is a cyberbullying charity committed to tackling all forms of online bullying and hate campaigns. They deliver professional advice, education and support to those affected as well as their families and friends. Their website contains a plethora of useful information and they also have a confidential helpline.
The Domestic Violence Guide produced by Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust offers useful information.
The 24-hour National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline run jointly by Women's Aid and Refuge, is a national service for women experiencing domestic violence, their family, friends, colleagues and others calling on their behalf. Translation facilities for callers whose first language is not English and a service for callers who are deaf or hard of hearing are available.
Men's Advice Line is a confidential helpline for men experiencing domestic violence from a partner or ex-partner (or from other family members). Monday - Friday 9am-5pm. Alternatively you can email them.
Greater Manchester Domestic Abuse Helpline assists women in domestic abuse situations, friends or family who would like to support someone or agencies who may wish to gain accurate advice to give to women and their dependents regarding domestic abuse. They can be contacted Monday to Friday 10am-4pm with an extended opening time on Tuesday to 7pm.
Trafford Domestic Abuse Service is a registered charity offering support to individuals and families who are affected by domestic abuse. They support both female and male victims of domestic abuse who live or work in the Trafford area. They can be contacted Monday to Friday 10am-4pm.
Salford Women’s Aid Women’s Aid is a national charity working to end domestic violence against women and children. The Salford branch has an in-house solicitor and can offer help with housing, benefits, social services, child protection and signposting. They can be contacted Monday to Friday 10am-4pm.
Respect offer information and advice to help domestic violence perpetrators stop their violence and change their abusive behaviours. The main focus of the Respect Phoneline is to increase the safety of those experiencing domestic violence by engaging with the abusers to reduce the risk. They can be contacted Monday to Friday 9am- 5pm. Alternatively you can email them.
End the Fear are a Manchester based service offering advice to those who wish to escape domestic abuse as well as to those who know of someone who is being abused.
National LGBT Domestic Violence Helpline provides advice and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people.
‘Honour’-based abuse and Forced marriage
Forced Marriage Unit offer support if you’re trying to stop a forced marriage or if you need help leaving a marriage you've been forced into. Trained professionals are available to give free and confidential advice on what to do next. Visit the website for more information or call 02070080151 Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.
Karma Nirvana support victims of honour based abuse and forced marriage whether they be male or female. Their helpline can be contacted on 0800 5999 247.
National Stalking Helpline offers specialist advice and support for anyone experiencing stalking.
Network for Surviving Stalking is a registered charity dedicated to support those affected by stalking of any kind.
Paladin, National Stalking Advocacy Service is a national service assisting high risk victims of stalking in England and Wales.
Survivors of Childhood abuse
The Childhood Sexual Abuse Guide produced by Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust offers useful information.
The Survivors Trust (TST) is a national umbrella agency for specialist rape, sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse support organisations throughout the UK and Ireland.
Information, Advice & Support Services
Salford Citizens Advice Bureau can provide free impartial and confidential advice and information on many issues including homelessness and legal problems. Give them a call or visit your local bureau. The nearest one to the University is based at Salford Precinct.
Salford Women’s Centre is a Women only community centre (exempt under Section 7 (2) (e) of the Sex Discrimination Act) offering a safe, friendly, relaxing, supportive environment and advice to women for their personal development.
North-West Victim Support offer support across the North-West with offices open Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm. If you've been a victim of any crime or affected by a crime committed against someone you know, they can help you. Their services are free and available to everyone, whether or not the crime has been reported and regardless of when it happened. They are not part of the police, the courts or any other criminal justice agency.
Rights of Women offer free confidential legal advice to women on their advice line. They offer specialist advice in family law, divorce and relationship breakdown, children and contact issues, domestic violence, sexual violence, discrimination and lesbian parenting.
Shelter provides a free, national telephone advice line staffed by trained housing advisers. They have helped thousands of people, from finding them an urgent place to sleep to suggesting how to handle mortgage arrears.
This document is based on guidance developed by the University of Brighton in consultation with Survivors Network, the Rape Crisis Centre for Sussex. It is based on The University of Cambridge’s Sexual Assault Disclosure Information Sheet for Students, The University of Sussex’s Sexual Assault Disclosure Information and Options Sheet for Students, and information provided on Survivors Network’s website: http://survivorsnetwork.org.uk/content/if-youve-just-been-assaulted
If you require this guidance in an alternative format, or have any questions relating to this guide, please contact the askUS: Disability Service firstname.lastname@example.org.