"There is no place here for behaviour which undermines the dignity and human rights of other members of the community. None of us should adopt such behaviours. And none of us should accept or condone them. That is why I support and endorse the Zero Tolerance movement here at our university."
Professor Peter Slee, Vice Chancellor
We are a learning community. We are building an environment in which our students and staff can grow, develop to make the most of their talents and to make a positive and decisive difference to the communities they choose to serve. Our university environment is under-pinned by shared values. To promote excellence, creativity, enterprise and professionalism we must always seek to act with integrity and mutual respect. The way we behave towards each other is a defining part of what we stand for.
If we are to thrive as a university, then every one of us, staff and students, must treat other people with the respect we would wish to see returned to us.
There is no place here for behaviour which undermines the dignity and human rights of other members of our community. None of us should adopt such behaviours. And none of us should accept or condone them.
That is why I support and endorse the Zero Tolerance movement here at our University.
This movement promotes a strong and unshakeable consensus about the kind of community we want to be, and defines a culture of zero tolerance towards behaviour we consider unacceptable.
And it is a movement which is promoting practical and far reaching steps to promote the kind of values we all wish to uphold.
We, along with the Students’ Union, are:
- Codifying and promoting our shared values about zero tolerance.
- Delivering training for students and staff to create a wider and deeper understanding about what is and what is not acceptable.
- Encouraging those who have suffered from inappropriate behaviour to come forward and speak out. I promise you will be heard. And I promise we will work to stamp out all forms of abuse.
- Building good practice surrounding consent, bystander training, and disclosure.
- Providing better support to victims of sexual harassment, assault or violence.
- Building stronger partnerships with city-based agencies to promote student safety in Leeds.
But to build the positive, inclusive and nurturing University community we want to enjoy we must all make a personal and positive commitment to upholding the values that underpin it.
So I ask you now to Support-Report-Respect and to play your part in making Leeds Beckett University a community where everyone can thrive and meet their full potential.
What can you do to help change the culture?
Be clear about consent
Look through these training slides to be clear about what constitutes consent for sexual activities. It will take you about 15 minutes.
Become an Active Bystander
Staff and students can join the growing number of 'active bystanders' in the university by joining the 2 hour Sexual Violence Prevention workshop to gain the knowledge and skills to safely and positively intervene in situations involving sexual harassment and violence. Dates and locations are shown below. To sign up email firstname.lastname@example.org. Students may apply to train as a student facilitator, assisting with delivery of Bystander training across our campuses.
Take the Pledge
Over 1000 individuals, teams and businesses have joined us in ‘Taking the pledge’ to support the Zero Tolerance campaign. Show your support and take the pledge yourself.
For staff only
All Leeds Beckett staff can access an online module on handling disclosures of sexual misconduct via the People Development online training library. It takes about 15 minutes to complete.
Staff are also invited to attend Responding to Disclosures of Sexual Violence training. This six hour session intends to build your confidence in responding to students who disclose to you any form of sexual assault, abuse or harassment. It is particularly relevant for those interacting with students in a frontline or 1-2-1 capacity, or those who wish to build their knowledge in this area. We have three sessions remaining this academic year, offered via Zoom. Book your space now.
Thursday 4th March 2021
Tuesday 11th May 2021
Thursday 17th June 2021
Sexual harassment is any unwanted conduct of a sexual nature. You do not have to have objected to a certain kind of behaviour in the past for it to be unwanted and constitute harassment.
The law states it is sexual harassment if the behaviours have the effect or intention to:
- violate your dignity
- makes you feel intimidated, degraded or humiliated
- create an embarrassing, hostile or offensive environment
Sexual harassment can include, but is not limited to:
Catcalling, following, making unnecessary and unwanted physical contact, giving unwelcome personal gifts, wolf-whistling, leering, derogatory comments, unwelcome comments about a person’s body or clothing, asking questions about a person’s sex life, engaging in unwelcome sexual propositions, invitations and flirtation, making somebody feel uncomfortable through displaying or sharing sexual material.
Sexual harassment does not always 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 etc.
Sexual harassment can happen to all genders and is not limited by sexual orientation.
Reactions to Sexual Harassment
It is important to remember that if this is happening to you, you did not ask for this and you are not being unreasonable by objecting to it.
If you are treated badly or less favourably because of your reaction to sexual harassment, you may have a claim under the Equality Act. The Act says this is also harassment, whether the judgement comes from the perpetrator or someone else.
Sexual violence is used as an umbrella term to refer to and include the different sexual offences: Sexual assault, abuse or rape / domestic abuse / controlling relationships / harassment / stalking / any other form of violence or abuse. For a full list of terms and their definitions, please see here.
Sexual Violence is any behaviour of a sexual nature, which is unwanted and takes place without consent or understanding. If you or any one you know has experienced sexual violence or assault, there is support available. Please visit our 'Get Support' tab for information on how you can access support.
One important thing to remember if you have been raped or experienced any other kind of sexual violence - no matter where you were, what you were doing, what you were wearing, what you were saying, or if you were drunk or under the influence of drugs - it was not your fault; you are not to blame.
- Sexual violence is often carried out by someone known to the individual. They may be a friend, partner, workmate, neighbour or a person in authority. It is a myth that sexual violence is only carried out by strangers.
- By law, a person consents to sexual activity if she or he agrees by choice, and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice.
- If you say ‘yes’ to something because you were scared, or if you were asleep, unconscious, or incapacitated through alcohol or drugs, then you didn’t agree by choice nor did you have the freedom to do so.
- If you froze, didn’t put up a fight or say the word ‘no’, or if you couldn’t say anything at all- it doesn’t mean you gave your consent for what happened to you.
- Appearance, age, status, cultural background, gender, occupation or previous relationships are irrelevant to this form of abuse; anyone can suffer serious sexual assault.
If you think you might have been a victim of sexual violence, you might find the information on this website helpful in deciding what you would like to do next.
Domestic abuse, also called domestic violence, is usually about one person’s desire to control their partner, even if they are not aware of this themselves.
The government defines domestic violence as ‘Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.'
This can include, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse:
- Physical abuse
This is the most recognisable form of abuse. It can range from a slap or a shove to a black eye, cut lip, broken bone. In the most extreme cases it can result in death. Don’t underestimate what is happening to you. Over time, the violence usually gets worse.
- Sexual Abuse
Your partner should not use force or threats to make you have sex. They should not make you perform sexual acts with which you are uncomfortable.
- Emotional Abuse
This can include mental torture, blackmail, threats to disown you or kill your children. It can also be controlling – meaning you are not allowed out of the home on your own, or to make contact with your family or friends or to have access to money or obtain a job of your choice.
- Financial Abuse
This may include your partner taking your money; stopping you from working; placing all bills and debts in your name; or monitoring how you spend money and other financial resources.
- Psychological Abuse
Leaving a violent partner may not end the abuse and it may get worse. Most stalkers are ex-partners. If your ex-partner is harassing you or others, this should be taken seriously.
Domestic violence is not the victim's fault. You are not to blame and you are not alone. There are many others in your situation and help is available.
If you are concerned you may be experiencing, or have previously experienced domestic abuse, please see our 'Get Support' tab for information on how you can access support for this.
If you have experienced any form of sexual harassment or violence, it is entirely your choice whether you report the incident or not. Below is a range of options of how you can report an incident of sexual harassment or violence, if you choose to. Using our online reporting form is one option. The reporting form also allows you to access initial emotional support, if this is something you would like. You can either complete the form anonymously or provide your contact details. Providing your contact details allows a Sexual Violence Liaison Officer to contact you and offer support in explaining your options for reporting and accessing therapeutic support.
You can also read our guidance for students who have experienced sexual harassment, violence or misconduct document for full details on your reporting and support options.
More Information about Reporting
You do not have to tell anyone about what has happened if you don’t want to, but there are lots of people across our University who can help you get the support you need, such as a Residential Officer, a member of the Wellbeing Team or your Academic Advisor. They won’t normally report this incident without your consent, unless the incident was violent and the perpetrator could be a risk to others.
Allegations of sexual assault or sexual harassment by another student
If you experience inappropriate behaviour of any kind, including sexual harassment or sexual violence, from a fellow student and don’t want to report the incident to the Police, you can report this to the University by making a formal complaint against the student under the Student Complaints Procedure. You could also make a formal allegation against the student under the Student Code of Discipline. A senior member of staff will then undertake a formal internal investigation of the incident, and apply sanctions under the Student Code of Discipline, as appropriate. We advise that you contact the Students’ Union for advice / representation during either of these processes.
Allegations of sexual assault or sexual harassment by a member of staff
The Student Complaints process also applies if you experience inappropriate behaviour from a member of staff. An investigation will be undertaken and the Staff Disciplinary Procedure applied, as appropriate.
Sexual violence is a criminal offence and can be reported to the Police, who have specially trained officers to deal with allegations of sexual violence. If you do decide to report the incident to the police, the criminal process and police investigation will take priority over any University investigations. We will only carry out internal investigations and disciplinary processes if you have chosen not to report the incident to the police, or after the police investigation has concluded.
If you not sure yet whether you want to report to the police but think you might want to at some point, you can have a forensic medical examination carried out at your nearest Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), where forensic evidence can be stored for a future date.
If you want forensic evidence to be collected, time is an important thing to consider, and forensic evidence must be collected within 72 hours of the rape or assault, if possible.
If possible, try to take these steps:
- Do not wash
- Do not brush your teeth
- Do not have a cigarette
- Do not eat or drink
- Do not change your clothes
- If you do change your clothes, do not wash them but put them in a clean plastic bag
- Try not to go to the toilet
- Do not clear up anything from the area of the incident
Don't worry if you have already done some of these things. It's possible that there is still forensic evidence to collect.
If you report to the police, you will be asked to make a statement. Although you may find it difficult, upsetting and embarrassing to talk about some of the details, it is important that you don’t miss anything out of your statement. It’s ok if you can’t remember everything about what happened, let the police know this, and avoid trying to speculate over what might have happened. Be honest with the police about other things that you may be worried about, like how much alcohol you'd had to drink or if you'd taken illegal drugs; remember that regardless of these factors, it is not your fault and you are not to blame.
If you would like support or advice but would rather not speak to a police officer or someone in the university, other agencies can help. Please see our 'Get Support' tab for more information.
Police Liaison Officer
PC Mark Fox is the universities Police Liaison Officer. You can arrange to meet with Mark in person or speak to him via phone or e-mail and he can offer advice on your options in relation to any incident, including details on what happens once a police report is made. If you disclose your details and / or the suspect’s details, it is Mark’s duty as a Police Constable to report it and record it on Police systems. If you simply want information, options and reassurance then you can hold back from disclosing personal details about yourself or the suspect to Mark.
Contact Mark directly:
Mob - 07872358458
Email - email@example.com
Email 2 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Support for Leeds Beckett students
We understand that experiencing sexual harassment or violence can be very difficult to work through on your own. If you have been affected by sexual violence or harassment, or know someone else who has, we hope we can help you with accessing the support that is best for you. We will listen to you and support you and take all forms of harassment and violence seriously.
We also recognise that sexual harassment and violence can intersect with other forms of harassment and oppression, such as racism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. We will ensure you can access support which is tailored to your individual experience.
You can find information on the range of support available to our students in the University, as well as in the community and nationally.
You can also view our guidance for students who have experienced sexual harassment, violence or misconduct document for full details on your reporting and support options.
Support for Leeds Beckett staff
If you are a member of staff who has experienced any form of sexual harassment or violence, there are a number of sources of support available to you including:
- Health Assured, the Employee Assistance Programme, which offers a free, confidential counselling and legal advice service 24/7.
- Dignity & Respect network, comprised of trained volunteers from across the university who are able to provide support and advice to anyone with a query regarding a dignity at work or study issue.
- HR services who can provide information and advice on how you can make an allegation against another member of staff
- You can also refer to the external support services detailed below
Support in the University for students
Sexual Violence Liaison Officers
Once you have completed the online reporting form, you will have the opportunity to meet with a Sexual Violence Liaison Officer for initial support following an incident of sexual harassment or violence.
Sexual Violence Liaison Officers are university staff within Student Services who have undergone and specialist training to support students who have been victims and survivors of sexual violence and harassment.
Our Sexual Violence Liaison Officers can listen to you and your experiences, help you access other professional support services and talk through your options for taking the report further.
Sexual Violence Liaison Officers
Students' Union Advice Centre
If you have been a victim of any form of sexual assault or violence, the SU Advice Service can offer you practical advice and support on what you can do next; they understand that you may not always want to report this to the police. The SU Advice service can provide you with guidance on practical steps you can take if you feel that the situation is or has impacted on your academic performance or if you want to make a complaint about the perpetrator (if they are a Leeds Beckett student/staff member). They can also point you in the direction of places that can provide you emotional support. The Students' Union is also a Hate Incident Reporting Centre, where you can report any incident of prejudice towards disability, race, religion, transgender identity and sexual orientation.
The Advice Team
Telephone: (0113) 812 8400
Support for Student Survivors of Gendered Violence
Further Support from Wellbeing
The Wellbeing Team offers a free and confidential service aimed at providing you with information, practical and therapeutic support to help you manage any difficulties you are experiencing. The team can advise you about reporting the incident and support you through the process practically and emotionally.
Click here to complete the online registration form to access support.
The Student Wellbeing Team
No: (0113) 812 8507Website: Student Wellbeing
Advocacy & Counselling Service for Women & Girls in Leeds
SARSVL is the Rape Crisis Centre for Leeds. They are a feminist organisation that exists to support all women and girls who have been affected by sexual violence of any kind at any time in their lives. They promote their needs and rights and work towards the elimination of sexual violence.
Women’s safe space emotional support appointments for are available in the city centre, Mondays from 6pm, Wednesdays from 6pm and Sundays from 2pm.
They also offer support via their text helpline number on 07860022880.
Sexual Violence Services
The ISVAs (Independent Sexual Violence Advocates) will help you decide on what action you want to take and the support and help that feels right for you. They often support survivors through the criminal justice system, if you choose to report the crime, and need health and support services.
Victim Support can help anyone of all genders affected by crime, not only victims and some witnesses, but their friends, family and any other people involved. Because they are an independent charity, you can talk to them whether or not you reported the crime to the police. They can support you without the involvement of the criminal justice system, and will not contact them about you unless they feel someone is at risk.
The Hazlehurst Centre
SARC is a joint initiative between West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner and NHS England aimed at improving the provision of services to victims of rape and serious sexual assault.
The Hazlehurst Centre SARC offers free support and practical help to anyone in West Yorkshire who has experienced sexual violence and/or sexual abuse. Their service is completely confidential and you do not have to give any personal information in order to get help or report the incident to the police. If you would like to speak to someone they are available 24/7.
Services that are available within the SARC are:
- Access to a Forensic Medical Examiner
- Referral care pathways for ongoing healthcare needs
- Referral care pathways to the ISVA (Independent Sexual Advisors) service
We acknowledge that LGBT+ victims and survivors of sexual violence may have specific needs and potentially unique issues and concers, which require more specialist support.
Galop is the LGBT+ anti-violence charity. They provide confidential and independent advice and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer people who have experienced sexual assault, abuse or violence, however or whenever it occured.
How they can help?
- listen and support you to talk about what happened
- practical advice and support
- get counselling support
- if you choose to report to the police, we can help you to get an appropriate and effective police response, and support you through every step of the criminal justice system
- our service is based on the values of inclusion and empowerment- we take an individualised approach, in the way that best suits you
Trans Survivors Switchboard
A dedicated helpline which offers support to trans people including those who are non-binary or questioning, who have experienced sexual violence at any point in their lifetime.
Leeds Domestic Violence 24 Hour Helpline
24-hour Helpline for anyone in Leeds wanting immediate advice, support and information related to domestic violence and abuse.
Domestic violence and abuse can encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Financial abuse
- Psychological abuse
Behind Closed Doors also offers people in the Leeds area whoes lives have been, or are, affected by domestic abuse.
For the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline call: 0808 2000 247
24 hour safe emergency accommodation for anyone fleeing an abusive relationship
In partnership with Leeds Domestic Violence Service, Leeds Women’s Aid provides a 24-hour domestic violence helpline as well as drop-in support at health settings across the city, additional shared refuge accommodation, the Staying Safe group ‘Healthy Relationships’ programme, and support and accommodation for women who have been trafficked.
Leeds Survivors Support Group is for men, Trans men, non-binary, and intersex people. The support group is a comfortable and confidential space to meet other survivors of sexual violence and share stories and strategies. The aims of the group are to gain confidence and find support in through day-to-day life.
The group meets fortnightly on Mondays at MESMAC Leeds, 6.30-8.30pm.Click here for more information about MESMAC
Specialist Sexual Violence and Abuse Support Service
Survivour led service-offering pathways for Emotional, Psychological & Self-Help for Men in the community who have experienced sexual violence or abuse at any point in their lives.
- Online helpline
- Independent Sexual Violence Advisor Services
- Individual Counselling
They can also be contacted via SMS (020 3322 1860) and Whatsapp (074 9181 6064)
You may also find the following contact information useful
- Connect Helpline: Emotional Support Helpline (18:00 – 22:30pm) - 0808 800 1212
- Leeds Student Medical Practice: 0113 295 4488
- The centre for Sexual Health Leeds
- Elland Road Police Station: Elland Road, Leeds, LS11 8BU - Tel: 101. Opening times: Mon-Sun 8am to 10pm
- Rape Crisis
- Samaritans (24hours): National - 116 123 / Local - 0113 2456789
- Nightline (listening and advice telephone service): 0113 380 1381
Supporting a Survivor
If someone discloses an experience of sexual harassment or violence, it is sometimes difficult to know how to respond in a way that is genuine, appropriate and empowering. It is ok to not have all the answers and you don’t need to be an expert to support them. Your role is to provide a safe space that encourages the individual to seek what they need. Below is information about the basic foundations of supporting someone who has experienced sexual violence, as well as professional support who can assist you and resources for you to use.
If you are concerned about a friend, you need advice or you are not sure what to do, you can contact Sexual Violence Liaison Officers, Student Wellbeing or the SU Advice Service for confidential guidance and support. You should not share the survivor’s confidential information with anyone else unless completely necessary.
You might find it helpful to visit our Get Support page to find out about the support available. You can also read the Information for Friends booklet; it is an informative resource to assist you in supporting someone who has experienced sexual violence.
Remember, it is very important to look after your own wellbeing too. You cannot always offer what the survivor needs, but there are services out there with trained staff who can offer professional support.
How can you help?
Listen, and show that you are listening to what she/he/they have to say, even if it is difficult for you to hear. You might have many questions but try not to interrupt. Accept periods of silence; do not feel like you have to fill the space. Let them tell the story and concentrate on what’s being said.
Give them Control
Sexual violence/ harassment can make a person feel powerless. It is important that they are given full control over their disclosure and what happens next.
You can signpost them to the Get Support Page and talk them through their options. However, it is most important to respect whatever route they choose to take and respond sensitively and supportively.
It might not be easy for them to start talking about their experiences. They might feel ashamed, responsible, traumatised or threatened.
By telling you about the incident, they have put their trust in you, so avoid encouraging them for details before they are ready.
If it is your partner, who has experienced sexual violence or harassment, whether it is recently or in the past, they might find intimacy and sexual contact difficult. Remember that this is not a reflection of your relationship. Reassure them and be patient.
Respect their courage
It takes so much strength to speak out about sexual harassment and violence.
As long as you do not judge them or disclose the incident to anyone else without their consent- You can really help someone in the initial stages of sexual violence, seek out the support they need.
Survivors often worry that they will not be believed. People rarely lie about rape and sexual violence. It is so important, especially in the early stages of the disclosure, that we convey genuine belief and devote our full attention to them.
Try not to ask questions that sound like you’re questioning their story-
For example, questions that start with ‘Why did you?’.
Remember it’s not their fault
They did not ask for this to happen. No survivor should ever be blamed for not preventing what happened to them. The responsibility lies with the perpetrator. Negative judgements about themselves may be made by the individual and those around them. Therefore, it is important that these are not reinforced.