Bullying is offensive, intimidating, malicious, or insulting behaviour involving the misuse of power that can make a person feel vulnerable, upset, humiliated, undermined or threatened. Harassment is behaviour that has the purpose or the effect of offending, hurting, degrading or intimidating a person or persons or violating dignity. It may be a single event, sporadic events or a continuing process. Both can be in person, online or through any other form of communication. Non-verbal conduct includes postings on social media outlets. 
Bullying may be broadly defined as behaviour which is:
  • usually persistent
  • unwarranted and unwelcome
  • offensive, intimidating, humiliating, malicious, or insulting.
It undermines another’s confidence, reducing feelings of self-esteem and self-worth. Examples of behaviours that may amount to bullying include but are not limited to:
  • physical or verbal abuse, including threats
  • psychological intimidation, humiliation, excessive and/or unreasonable criticism
  • unjustifiable removal of areas of responsibility
  • ostracism (deliberately excluding someone from activities or communications without good reason)
  • setting unreasonable and unrealistic workplace goals/targets
  • asserting a position of intellectual superiority in an aggressive, abusive or offensive manner; threats of academic failure; public sarcasm and humiliation. 


Harassment may involve sexual harassment or be related to a protected characteristic such as age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.
Some forms of harassment are considered a Hate Crime.  A hate incident or crime is any act of violence or hostility against a person or property that is motivated by hostility or prejudice towards a person due to a particular protected characteristic. 
Examples of harassment may include but are not limited to the following:
  • derogatory name-calling, derisory remarks, verbal abuse, insults and threats, ridicule or belittling of an individual
  • tone of voice such as shouting, raising one's voice unnecessarily or inappropriate or intimidating body language
  • repeated gibes in respect of personal traits or appearance, practical jokes or invasions of privacy, any or all of which may cause physical or psychological distress
  • verbal or practical jokes which mock, offend or cause distress to individuals or groups
  • deliberately using the wrong gender pronoun or the birth name of a trans person, known as mis-gendering or dead-naming
  • exclusion from normal workplace / academic  conversations or activities, and  social events
  • unfair allocation of work and responsibilities.
A person may be harassed even if they were not the intended target. For example, a person may be harassed by racist jokes about a different ethnic group if they create an offensive environment. Other similar examples could include jokes about outing the sexuality of someone else or mocking or mimicking another person's disability.
Harassment may occur where an individual or group is targeted on the grounds of:
  • an actual protected characteristic, for example, a disability
  • perceived protected characteristic, for example, a student decides not to do group work with another student because they believe they have a disability
  • a person who is linked to one of the protected characteristics via association, for example, a student who has a disabled child is not allowed to attend a graduation ceremony because of fears about the child’s behaviour.
Harassment or bullying may not be deliberate or intentional. In some cases the person against whom a report has been made may be unaware that their behaviour is having a detrimental impact on another person, has caused offence or has been interpreted in a particular way.
More information on bullying or harassment and procedures surrounding this can be found in the University Dignity at Work and Study Policy and the Non-Academic Misconduct Disciplinary Procedure.


There are two ways you can tell us what happened