This article provides information about the support services available for students at the University who are/have been subject to bullying/harassment from another student or staff member.

Dignity and respect is undermined by harassment and bullying. Both of these are regarded seriously and may be treated as grounds for disciplinary action. The University takes a zero tolerance approach towards harassment or bullying. It is also expects that dignity and respect towards others is demonstrated by all who work or study at the University

Harassment can be defined as unwanted conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of an individual, or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment. Bullying is not defined in UK law. However, it shares many characteristics with harassment. It can be defined as the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate or aggressively dominate others. The behaviour is often repeated and habitual. Bullying can be carried out by an individual or group of people and often involves an abuse of power or Authority.

For further information please refer to page 6 of the Dignity and Respect Policy.

If you think you are being bullied or harassed, do not feel that it is your fault or that this should be tolerated. It is important that you take action, and this can be done in a number of ways, both formally and informally

  • Attempts should be made to resolve any complaints rapidly and informally, wherever possible, as this can lead to the behaviour stopping and resolution to all concerned.

  • In many circumstances the person who makes the complaint will be the recipient of the behaviour complained of, but that may not always be the case. The person raising the issue can also be someone who has direct or sufficient knowledge of the behaviour to enable a complaint to be raised. For example, if they have overheard racist or sexist language which, while not directed at them, caused them offence and distress.

  • If your health is being affected by bullying or harassment you are encouraged to access the support services offered through the Student Wellbeing Services, Student Advice Service, or your own GP.

For further information please refer to page 8 of the Dignity and Respect Policy.

There are a number of sources of advice and support for staff and students who either feel they are being bullied or harassed, or have had a complaint about them. You should be aware that, if any of these sources of support is at any time given details of a potential criminal act, such as physical assault, they will advise you of their limited remit and refer you accordingly to others such as the police. A quick reference list with links is provided below:

A network of harassment advisers is available to help all staff and students who feel they may have been bullied, or have themselves been accused of bullying. While the advisers can't directly advise you what to do, they can inform you of your options and offer support. The decision on what to do is always yours.

All discussions with a harassment adviser are confidential, and brief records of their discussions will be recorded purely for statistical purposes. This information is anonymous and will be held in complete confidence.

If you think you may like to volunteer as a harassment adviser please read the role profile (.doc) for more information. To apply please complete an application form (.doc) and send it to .If you have any questions about the Harassment Adviser Network, would like more information on what the role involves, or to find out when the next training sessions are scheduled for please contact us.

  • Chaplaincy: see What does Chaplaincy do and how can it help me? article in the related articles box below.

  • Equality and Diversity Team

Professor Pal Ahluwalia Pro Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation

University's Senior Equality and Diversity Champion

Dave Small - Equality and Diversity Manager


T: +44 (0)23 9284 5774

Soraya Cotwal - Equality and Diversity Advisor (Student Experience)


T: +44 (0)23 9284 5779

Lesley Lee - Equality and Diversity Advisor (Charters Co-ordinator)


T: +44 (0)23 9284 5309

James Ross - Equality and Diversity Information Officer


T: +44 (0)23 9284 3715

You can also contact us through

University of Portsmouth

Equality & Diversity

Unit 3

St Andrews Court

St Michael's Road



  • Student complaints: see How do I make a complaint against the University? article in the related articles box below.

  • Counselling: see How do I access Wellbeing/ Counselling/Mental Health Support? article in the related articles box below.

  • Student Support Managers (halls): see Who are the Student Support Managers? article in the related articles box below.

  • Student Sabbatical Officers (UPSU)

For further information and a comprehensive list of support services, please refer to page 13 of the Dignity and Respect Policy.

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