Bullying is offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour involving the misuse of power, position or knowledge. Bullying can be physical, verbal and non-verbal (including through social media).
Examples of bullying:
- shouting at someone
- being sarcastic
- ridiculing or demeaning others
- deliberately excluding or ignoring an individual
- physical or psychological threats
- unfair blaming for mistakes.
Harassment is unwanted behaviour which violates a person’s dignity, or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. Harassment can be physical, verbal and non-verbal (including social media).
Harassment is against the law when it occurs because of a person’s age, disability, gender, gender identity, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation.
Examples of harassment:
- unwanted physical conduct including invading personal space and more serious forms of physical or sexual assault
- offensive or intimidating comments or gestures, insensitive jokes or pranks
- mocking a person’s disability
- racist, sexist, homophobic or ageist jokes
- derogatory or stereotypical remarks about an ethnic or religious group or gender
- outing or threatening to out someone as gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans
- ignoring or shunning someone.
Discrimination looks different for different people, and can make you feel excluded or ‘other’. Unlawful discrimination is when an individual or group of people is treated less favourably than others based on their age, disability, gender, gender identity, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief or sexual orientation.
Types of discrimination:
Direct discrimination occurs when someone is treated less favourably than another person because of a protected characteristic they have or are thought to have, or because they associate with someone who has a protected characteristic.
Indirect discrimination can happen when there is a condition, rule, policy or practice that applies to everyone but particularly disadvantages people who share a specific protected characteristic. However, it isn’t classed as indirect discrimination if it can be shown that the condition, rule, policy or practice is reasonable.
Hate incidents and hate crime
Hate incidents are acts of hostility or violence motivated by prejudice based on disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity.
Examples of hate incidents:
- abusive phone calls
- abuse through social media
- threats of violence and verbal abuse.
When hate incidents break the law, they are known as hate crimes.
Examples of hate crime:
- criminal damage
- hate mail
- sexual assault
Domestic abuse and stalking
Domestic (dating / intimate partner / family) abuse
Domestic abuse is patterned, repeated behaviour intended to assert power and control, by a partner, ex-partner or family member.
Examples of domestic abuse:
- coercive control (a pattern of intimidation, degradation, isolation and control with the use or threat of physical or sexual violence)
- psychological and/or emotional abuse
- physical abuse
- sexual abuse
- financial abuse
- online or digital abuse
- forced marriage
- female genital mutilation
- ‘honour crimes’
Stalking is a pattern of repeated and persistent unwanted behaviour that is intrusive and engenders fear. It is when one person becomes fixated or obsessed with another and the attention is unwanted. Threats may not be made but victims may feel scared. Even if there is no threat this is till stalking and it is a crime.
Social media and the internet are often used for stalking, and ‘cyber-stalking’ or online threats can be just as intimidating as other forms of stalking.
Sexual violence is any unwanted sexual comments and non-consensual sexual acts and activity.
Examples of sexual violence:
- sexual intercourse or engaging in a sexual act without consent
- attempting to engage in sexual intercourse or engaging in a sexual act without consent
- sharing private sexual materials of another person without consent
- kissing without consent
- touching inappropriately through clothes without consent
- inappropriately showing sexual organs to another person
- repeatedly following another person without good reason
- making unwanted remarks of a sexual nature.
A person consents to sex if that person 'agrees by choice and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice'. A person can also consent to one form of sexual activity but not to another, and they have the right to say no at any time.
The law clearly states that having any kind of sex without getting consent is illegal, and sexual activity without consent is rape or sexual assault. It is also a crime to target people who are under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Our Sexual violence leaflet (pdf) provides additional information, help and support for our students, including recommended contacts for specialist support services