Sexual Violence and Harassment Support
Student Services has a team of Student Support Advisers (Sexual Violence and Harassment) that help students who have experienced sexual violence, sexual misconduct or harassment. We provide a supportive, safe place for students of all genders who have been affected by harassment or violence whether it is something that has happened recently or in the past.
Our support is confidential, non-judgmental and independent from your department. We provide practical and emotional support to help you decide what to do next. We can give you information and support to make the choices that are right for you.
This page contains more information about how to access this support.
What is sexual violence?
Sexual violence describes any kind of unwanted sexual activity that was not consensual because it involved: pressure, manipulation, intimidation, threats, deception, force, or the inability to give free and willing consent due to intoxication, being asleep, or being tricked.
Sexual violence includes rape, childhood sexual abuse, sexual assault, spiking, flashing, intimate image sharing, sexual exploitation, voyeurism, unwanted sexual acts carried out online or through a phone.
Sexual violence is often carried out by someone known, for example a partner, ex-partner, boy/girlfriend, friend, colleague or other family member. Strangers or someone unknown also carry out sexual violence, although this is less common. Sexual violence can and does happen to people of any age, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, class, or background. People of all genders can experience sexual violence and it can occur in and outside of heterosexual and LGBTQ+ relationships.
We use the words sexual violence, however this does not have to mean there is always physical abuse or injuries. Threatening, pressuring or tricking someone, or taking advantage of a person when they are intoxicated are all forms of sexual violence. The act of taking away autonomy and control over someone's own body is an act of violence and abuse.
Our Student Support Adviser team provide confidential support and information about sexual violence, whether it's something that has happened recently or in the past. We know that talking to somone about sexual violence can be difficult, and making a decision about disclosing or reporting is a personal choice. Our specialist team can talk to you about the options available in a sensitive and non-judgemental way.
It is common for people to be confused or unsure of what has happened or not know the words to describe it. If something sexual happened that didn't feel right and that has left you with questions or feeling uncomfortable you can talk to us, we are here to listen to you and help you to find some answers.
Sexual Violence Support in the College
Student Services has a team of sexual violence and harrassment Support Advisers who can work with you to understand what support you need. We are experts with specialist training who take a trauma-informed approach to help you explore your options in a safe, non-judgmental space. We can help if you want to report something to the College or to the police, or if you want to access specialist support services outside the College. We will listen and give you a space to talk about what's happened. We can support you whether it happened on or off-campus, recently or in the past, involving College students, staff or someone outside of the College.
How can we help you?
- guidance and advocacy for the College's reporting procedures. We can help at every step, including explaining how the procedures work, helping you put together a report, and attending meetings with you.
- practical support: we can talk to you if you need academic adjustments, accommodation arrangements, or other aspects of your life are being effected. We can help with risk and safety planning, and putting together a support plan to identify and set up the help you might need.
- emotional support: we understand how sexual violence and harassment can impact people. We are not a counselling service or therapists, however we can provide you with a safe and non-judgmental space to talk.
- help to access specialist crisis, counselling and medical services both inside and outside of the College. We can talk about the different options, and help put you in touch with this support.
What about confidentiality? We handle your disclosure confidentially and respect any decisions you make. We know that disclosures are sensitive, that you might feel vulnerable and worried about who knows this personal information about you. Our team will not require or pressure you to report to the police or to the College, although we will support you if that's what you decide to do. We understand the reasons why this might not be the right option for you at this time.
Our team is part of the College's Student Services department, and with your permission we can share information that will help you to access other specialist support quickly and easily without needing to repeatedly talk about what has happened to you. We are independent from your department and we do not inform your department that you have contacted us or share any information about your disclosure unless you give us permission - however, with your permission we can share information with your department that might help you access mitigating circumstances or adjustments. We will always talk to you about these options and get your permission before speaking to anyone.
There are some limited and exceptional circumstances where we may be obliged to share information about you. In most circumstances we would inform you that we had to take this action. These are where there is a serious and immediate risk to your safety or someone else's safety, or under our legal obligations in relation to terrorism, radicalisation or safeguarding. Wherever possible this would be discussed with you first. We recognise that you might have some specific questions about protection of your confidential information if you are disclosing about sexual misconduct carried out by a member of College staff or someone in authority in the College. You can talk to one of our Support Advisers to find out more details about confidentiality and how we look after your data.
Your information is protected through the General Data Protection Regulations 2018, as applied through and detailed in our Privacy Statement.
How do I contact the Student Services team? The best way to get support from us is through the College's Report + Support online tool. This is a short online form that gives us some information about you and about what has happened. This information comes through to our team and is not seen by anyone else in the College. Using the Report+Support tool does not make a formal report to the College - it just puts you in contact with our support team, and lets us know how we can help you. You can also send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What happens when I contact the Student Services team? If you contact us
- Our team works Monday - Friday 9am-5pm, with the exception of College closure days. We read through all disclosures and prioritise any urgent issues based on safety and risk of harm.
- One of our team will let you know that we've received your disclosure, whether it's through the Report+Support online tool, or through email. We'll let you know who we are, where we're based, and ask you about the best options for contacting and supporting you. You will normally hear from us no later than 2 working days after you've been in touch with us.
- Your Student Support Adviser will arrange a meeting with you - this can be by phone, a video call or a meeting in person, normally on the South Kensington campus.
- Your adviser will carry out an intial assessment and develop a support plan with you - this will help to identify what support you want and help to prioritise your needs. They will outline the support available both through the College and external specialist services. Your adviser can talk to you in detail about making a formal report to the College or the police if you decide that is the right course of action for you.
- Your adviser will arrange follow up meetings with you if needed.