What is Sexual Violence?

Sexual Violence is an overarching term for any unwanted sexual act or activity. In this context, "violence" refers to a lack of consent. There are many different kinds of Sexual Violence.
Sexual Violence can be perpetrated by a complete stranger, but is often by someone known and trusted, such as a friend, colleague, family member, partner or ex-partner. Sexual Violence can happen to anyone. 
If you live with, or are still in close contact with your abuser, you may also be experiencing domestic abuse which is also never okay. 

What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault is a legal term, referring to the act of intentionally touching another person, when the touching is sexual and the person does not consent. It involves all unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature and ranges from pinching, embracing, groping and kissing, to rape and other forms of sexual penetration without consent. All forms of sexual assault are sexual violence. 

What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment is unwanted and unwelcome words, conduct, or behaviour of a sexual nature that has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, embarrassing, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the recipient.
Sexual Harassment can include but is not limited to:
  • making promises in return for sexual favours
  • catcalling, following, making unnecessary and unwanted physical contact
  • sexual jokes and comments, giving unwelcome personal gifts
  • wolf-whistling, leering, staring or suggestive looks which are unwanted or unwelcome once someone has made their disinterest clear
  • derogatory comments, unwelcome comments about a person’s body or clothing.
  • intrusive questioning about a person’s private sexual activity  and sharing own sexual activity which is unwanted
  • engaging in unwelcome sexual propositions, invitations and flirtation - including unwanted touching, hugging or kissing
  • making somebody feel uncomfortable through displaying or sharing sexual material
  • sexual harassment does not necessarily occur face to face and can be in the form of emails, visual images (such as sexually explicit pictures on walls in a shared environment), social media, telephone, text messages and image based sexual abuse such as revenge porn, receiving unsolicited sexual images, and upskirting.

What is Sexual Misconduct?

Sexual Misconduct is how the University refers to behaviour of this nature which is being investigated under our Disciplinary Procedure. We use this term not to minimise the behaviour, but because we do not have the legal power to find someone guilty of a "crime". We can, however, make a finding about whether somebody's behaviour has fallen short of our expectations, as outlined in the Non-Academic Misconduct Disciplinary Procedure, and take action accordingly. 


Getting consent means actively gaining someone's permission to do something before doing it. 
Sexual consent means a person willingly agrees to engage in sexual activity. You should respect other people's bodies and personal boundaries. You should always make sure your partner is participating freely and readily. If you are going to be sexually active whilst at university, it is important that you understand consent. 

Consent must be

Given freely
You should not pressure, force, manipulate or coerce anybody into to doing anything they do not want to do.
A conscious decision
A person cannot consent if they are asleep, passed out or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you are unsure about whether someone is able to give consent you should not engage in sexual activity with that person.
They can change their minds at any time. Consenting to one type of sexual activity is not consenting to all sexual activity.


Our Sexual Violence Liaison Officers (SVLOs) can work with you one-to-one to talk you through your support options and reporting options, both within the University and externally. They will support you through whatever choices are right for you. You can access support from an SVLO whether something has happened recently or some time ago. Support is confidential and you will not be pressured into taking any particular course of action.  Complete this form to contact the SVLOs.

There are two ways you can tell us what happened