Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harrassment/Assault is unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature that violates your dignity, makes you feel intimitdates, degraded or humiliated or creates a hostile or offensive environment. Read this page to find out more about sexual harrassment and assault, how to report it and support available.

+ What is Sexual Harassment/Assault?

Click here to see what could be categorised as sexual harassment/ assault

Sexual Harassment is repeated unwanted behaviour of a Sexual Nature that:

  • Makes you feel intimidated, humiliated or degraded
  • Creates a hostile environment
  • Offends you
  • Violates your dignity

Sexual harassment can be:
- Verbal (comments about a person's body, spreading sexual rumours, sexual remarks or accusations, dirty jokes or stories)
- Physical (grabbing, rubbing, flashing or mooning, touching, pinching in a sexual way, sexual assault) or
- Visual (display of naked pictures or sex-related objects, obscene gestures).

Sexual harassment can happen to women and men, transgender and intersex persons, and those who are non gender-conforming. It is not limited by sexual orientation.

Sexual Assault is different. Sexual assault refers to a sexual act in which a person is forced to engage against their will. It is a form of sexual violence and can include:

  • Rape
  • Groping
  • Drug facilitated sexual assault

Sexual Assault is a statutory offense, meaning it can be punished by a court.

+ How do I report Sexual Harassment/Assault?

Click here to see some of the ways in which you can report sexual assault

There are many ways you can report a Sexual Assault:

  • The Police: Call 999 to report the incident, as soon as you can after the crime.

If the offence has recently happened:

  • keep the clothes you were wearing and don’t wash them - the police may need them as evidence for the investigation
  • try not to shower as there may be evidence which the police can use

The police will then:

  • arrange for you to have a medical examination - and treatment for any injuries you have
  • give you support and advice
  • explain what happens next

The police have specialist teams who are trained to deal with rape and sexual assault. You can ask to speak to an officer or staff member who’s the same sex as you.

  • The Bridge
  • The Bridge is a Bristol based Sexual Assault Referral Service. They provide information and practical support, where the victim can choose whether or not to report the incident to the police.
  • Call The Bridge on 0117 342 6999
  • A Crisis Worker will listen to what has happened to you and explain how they can help
  • They can arrange for a doctor or nurse to examine you to check you are ok and look for forensic evidence
  • They will store forensic samples. If you decide to report to the police the samples can be used as evidence in their investigation
    You can have an examination even if you have already washed, although there will be more DNA evidence on your body if you feel able to wait until after an examination
  • They will make sure that your sexual health is looked after
  • They can give you emergency contraception if needed
  • They will offer you practical and emotional support, including counselling.

Why should I report it?

By reporting incidents or crimes when they happen to you, you may be able to prevent these incidents from happening to someone else. You will also help the police understand the extent of sexual crimes in your local area so they can better respond to it.

+ What other support is available?

Click here to see what support is available for those who have suffered sexual assault

  • The Bridge
    Free, confidential advice. They also offer examinations for forensic evidence if the incident was less than 8 days ago. You can then choose whether or not to report the incident to the police.
    0117 342 6999
  • SARSAS: Somerset & Avon Rape & Sexual Abuse Support
    Helpline, Counselling and Anonymous Reporting

0808 801 0456 for women & girls
0808 801 0464 for men & boys

  • Victim Support

Information and support line.

08 08 16 89 111

  • Nightline

Free, anonymous information and listening service run by students, for students. Open from 8pm til 8am every day in term time.
0117 9266 266

  • University Counselling Service

Individual Counselling, Groups, Workshops and Self Help resources.

0117 954 6655