Anti-harassment and anti-bullying policy and procedure

Student and staff behaviour

The University's Equality & Diversity and Anti-Harassment & Anti-Bullying policies cover all student (as well as staff) behaviour whilst engaged in university-related work or study.

A supportive and inclusive environment

These policies, developed in consultation with University of Plymouth Students' Union (UPSU), highlight our commitment to provide a supportive and inclusive learning, working and social environment in which all members of the University community can realise their potential and are treated with dignity and respect. In particular, the policies seek to support ongoing work with UPSU in relation to the Know the Line campaign and work to eradicate ‘lad culture’ related issues.

The policies also reaffirm the University’s support for regional hate crime incident reporting and have been simplified to make clear links to existing formal complaint procedures for both staff and students.

How to report a racist, homophobic, biphobic, transphobic or disablist incident (staff and students).

It's important to us that we promote a harmonious work and study environment for every student and member of staff. That's why we treat harassment and bullying very seriously. We don't tolerate bullying or harassment of one member of the University community by another, or by a third party working on behalf of, or visiting us.

If you believe you’re being harassed or bullied by another student or member of staff, we'll work to support you. And we'll deal with any unacceptable behaviour. We've successfully resolved cases of harassment and bullying in the past and encourage you to bring any issues forward.

The harassment advisor network

It helps to have someone you can talk to in confidence about harassment or bullying. We know you may want to talk to someone informally about what's happened and how you're feeling. Our network of trained, voluntary harassment advisors (University login needed) are available to offer you help and advice. They'll discuss ways to resolve the matter informally, if that's appropriate. In most cases it's entirely up to the person reporting to an advisor whether any further action is taken. 

In addition to our harassment advisor network, the teams in the UPSU Advice Centre and Student Services can also help you understand more about the options and support that we provide.

What is harassment and bullying?

In simple terms, harassment and bullying is unwelcome behaviour that affects a person's dignity. It’s the conduct of one person against another or others when an intimidating, hostile or offensive atmosphere is created for the complainant(s). Harassment is defined under the Equality Act 2010 as being: 

"...unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual."

There are three types of harassment covered by this law:

  • Harassment related to the following ‘protected characteristics’ (as defined by the Equality Act 2010): age; disability; race; sex; gender reassignment; religion or belief; sexual orientation.
  • Sexual harassment.
  • Less favourable treatment of an employee or student because s/he submits to or rejects sexual harassment related to sex or gender reassignment.

You'll find lots more detail in our anti-harassment and anti-bullying policy and procedure (linked to above). There are further details about bullying and harassment, what the Equality Act says about this, and the procedures we have in place at the University to support you if you need to talk to somebody about what you've experienced.