The term ‘sexual misconduct’ covers a broad range of inappropriate and unwanted behaviours of a sexual nature. The University will not tolerate any form of sexual misconduct against any member of its community and recognises the impact that such behaviour can have.
Sexual misconduct includes:
Sexual harassment – Unwanted words, conduct or behaviour which is of a sexual nature, and which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. Examples of sexual harassment could include:
- Non-verbal harassment such as looking someone up and down, displaying pictures of a sexual nature, sending emails containing sexual content, making sexual gestures or asking for sexual favours.
- Verbal harassment such as whistling, catcalling, sexual comments or sexual innuendo.
- Telling sexual jokes and stories; spreading rumours about a person’s sex life.
- Sexual touching of the other person, unwanted sexual advances; kissing; touching; hugging; stroking; patting of someone’s clothes, body, hair; or rubbing up against someone, where the touching is of a sexual nature.
- Unwanted, repeated, obsessive and/or controlling behaviours that make someone distressed or scared, for example, following a person, watching or spying on them or forcing contact through any means, including social media.
- Recording and/or sharing intimate images or recordings of another person without their consent.
A single incident or persistent behaviour can amount to harassment. Whether the harasser intended to be offensive is irrelevant.
Sexual violence – Any unwanted sexual act or activity, such as:
- Engaging, or attempting to engage in a sexual act with another individual without their consent.
- Sexually touching another person without their consent.
- Inappropriately showing sexual organs to another person.
If what happened to you is not covered by these definitions, or you are unsure of the nature of your experience, we can still support you. Please do not let limited definitions prevent you from seeking support.
Where such behaviour is unwanted it means that a person did not give their consent. A person consents if they agree by choice, and have the freedom and capacity to make that choice. Freedom means not being constrained in any way to agree to sexual activity. Having capacity means the person can make and communicate a decision, understand the consequences and know they have a choice.