Bullying & Abuse

+ Types of Bullying & Abuse

Social and emotional: 
This can include things such as: [Read more]

- Excluding someone on purpose
- Encouraging others not to be friends with you
- Spreading rumours and gossip
- Humiliating someone in front of others
- Making someone the butt of their jokes constantly.

This form of bullying takes place online via social networking sites, messaging apps, gaming sites and chat rooms. It can include:
- Fake profiles
- Negative comments intended to cause distress
- Sharing personal information without permission
- Stalking
- Harassment
- Trolling and spreading fake rumours.

Verbal Bullying:
This is one of the most common forms of bullying. It can include:
- Teasing
- Making derogatory remarks about appearance
- Taunting someone
- Making threats
- Using insults

Sexualised bullying: 
This is any behaviour, whether physical or non-physical, that is based on a person's sexuality or gender. It can include:
- Sexualised name calling
- Insults about sexuality or supposed promiscuity
- Pressuring you to engage in sexting, sharing of intimate images, texts and videos
- Inappropriate sexual remarks
- In its most extreme form, sexual assault or rape.

This can include:
- Pushing
- Punching
- Kicking
- Biting
- Scratching
- Spitting
- And any other form of physical violence.

This list above is not exhaustive and there can be plenty of other examples of bullying that can happen at university.

+ Bullying vs Banter

Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between harmless banter and intentionally hurtful behavior, and this is where the grey area is for many students. [Read more]

The best initial step is to explain to the person or people responsible that you don’t find the teasing or jokes funny. Nine times out of ten, they won’t have realised that they’re causing offence, and this should put an end to things. It’s always better to try and have a conversation to resolve the situation, rather than staying silent.

The key thing here is that it is about how you feel. If it makes you uncomfortable and you have told them to stop but they are still name calling, then this is verbal bullying. Banter becomes bullying when it is:

  • Intended to insult and humiliate the other person
  • If it becomes regular and persistent
  • Even after they have asked someone to stop, it continues

+ What to do

Talk to someone:
Try talking to a sympathetic friend who’s not part of the situation. This way, you’ll be able to share your feelings and you might be able to get a new perspective on what’s happening. You can also speak to charities and helplines etc. There is more information about this support later on this page [Read more]

Academic Issues:
You can speak to us or your personal tutor is you are worried about the effect the situation is having on your studies and we/they can talk you through your options.

University Complaint:

If the bullying consists of any of the types of behaviour described below and you cannot resolve the issue informally, you can make a formal complaint to the University:

- Aggressive or abusive behaviour, such as shouting or personal insults
- Spreading malicious rumours or gossip
- Unwanted physical contact, including groping
- Offensive comments or body language
- Displaying offensive material or graffiti relating to an individual
- Making threats or promises in return for sexual favours
- Innuendo or spreading gossip based on sexual orientation
- Inappropriate initiation ceremonies
- Using social or other on-line media to communicate negative, abusive, and harmful statements against students, staff and the University

You can do this by filling in the following Student Complaint Form. You can submit this by email to the University Student Complaints Officer at studentcomplaints@bristol.ac.uk.

Just Ask can talk you through the process and help you fill in the form.

For more information, including what happens once you have submitted the complaint, read the Student Guidance on unacceptable behaviour.

The most important thing is to talk to someone. The worst thing you can do is suffer in silence, because this will only guarantee that the bullying continues.

What other support is available?

Bullying UK offers useful information, Forums and a Helpline
0808 800 2222

University Counselling Service offers individual counselling, group counselling, workshops and self help resources

Ditch the Label offers useful Information, articles and research papers
01273 201129

Abuse and Violence in Relationships or  your Home

+What is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic abuse is where someone close to you (usually your spouse, partner, boyfriend/girlfriend or ex) behaves in a way towards you which is damaging [Read more]

“Abuse” or “violence” can be more than physical violence – it might be physical, mental, emotional, psychological, sexual, or financial.

It’s estimated that one in four women and one in six men will experience domestic abuse at some point in her life. Although this is a terrible statistic, it does show that if you are experiencing domestic abuse you are not alone. 

If you are experiencing, or have experienced, any of the following behaviours – please, please, speak to someone. This might be a friend, a Just Ask adviser, your personal tutor or one of the organisations we list below. The important thing is that someone knows what you are going through.

+ Behaviours

  • Physical attacks, such as slapping/punching, pulling hair, strangling or using weapons [Read more]
  • Intimidation, such as throwing and breaking things
  • Humiliation, name calling or constant criticism
  • Imposing unreasonable rules, curfews or ultimatums
  • Controlling what you wear, who you see or how you look
  • Threatening you or those close to you (including friends, children or even pets)
  • Forcing you to take part in sexual acts you don’t like or don’t feel comfortable with
  • Depriving you of financial independence

This list is not exhaustive! The bottom line is that no-one should make you feel hurt, ashamed or uncomfortable.

+ What to Do:

Tell someone! Abusers thrive on isolating their victims: just by making someone aware of what is happening to you, you take away some of their power. [Read more]

A Just Ask adviser can listen to you in an impartial way and help you to weigh up your options. We can also support you if your studies are suffering as a result of the abuse.

If you live with the perpetrator, Shelter has some really useful advice on what to do and what to think about.

As ever, if you think you might be in danger or need emergency assistance, call 999.


What other support is available?