Any form of sexual misconduct is never okay. 

Whilst sexual misconduct covers a broad range of inappropriate and unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature, we understand that some of the language used can be confusing, therefore we have tried to clarify these terms in further detail below. 

Sexual Misconduct 
Sexual misconduct covers a broad range of inappropriate and unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature and includes but is not limited to: 
  • Sexual assault 
  • Sexual harassment 
  • Sexual violence 
  • Intimate partner violence 
  • Grooming 
  • Coercion or bullying with sexual elements 
  • Sexual invitations and demands 
  • Unwanted and inappropriate comments 
  • Non-verbal communication 
  • Creation of atmospheres of discomfort 
  • Promised resources or advancement in exchange for sexual access 
  • Revenge Porn 
  • Filming and photographing people without consent 
  • Indecent exposure 

Sexual assault
Sexual assault is a criminal offence and contrary to university policy. A person commits sexual assault if they intentionally touch another person, the touching is sexual, and the person does not consent. 

It involves all unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature and ranges from pinching, embracing, groping and kissing, to rape and sexual assault which involves penetration without consent. 
What is consent?

Consent is agreeing by choice and having the freedom and capacity to make that choice. A person is free to make a choice if nothing bad would happen to them if they said no. Capacity is about whether someone is physically and/or mentally able to make a choice and to understand the consequences of that choice. 

For more information, refer to our ‘What is consent page?’ 

Sexual harassment
Sexual Harassment is behaviour, characterized by the making of unwelcome and inappropriate sexual remarks, gestures, or physical advances in a workplace or other professional or social situation. The conduct is such that a reasonable person would expect the conduct to cause another person to feel embarrassed, intimidated, insulted, or humiliated. Sexual Harassment affects all genders and includes a vast range of actions that can occur as a single incident or a series of incidents 

Whether or not the harasser intended to be offensive is irrelevant. The limit of acceptable behaviour is up to the recipient to decide. A single incident or persistent behaviour can amount to harassment. 

Sexual harassment can range from behaviour that stems from obvious to anyone or subtler behaviour less obvious to either the person responsible for the behaviour or to the recipient. Often the impact is not felt or witnessed immediately. The impact may go beyond the recipient to people who see or hear what happens or who try to offer support. 

Sexual harassment can include but is not limited to: 

  • Catcalling and wolf-whistling 
  • Stalking 
  • Making unnecessary and unwanted physical contact 
  • Unwanted sexual attention 
  • Sexual jokes and comments 
  • Unwelcome, inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favours 
  • Giving unwelcome personal gifts 
  • Leering and staring 
  • Derogatory comments 
  • Unwelcome questions about a person’s private life e.g., sex life, relationships or sexuality 
  • Engaging in unwelcome sexual propositions 
  • Sending explicit / sexually suggestive emails, text messages, memos, messages, or posts on social networking site 
  • Invitations and flirtation 
  • Unwelcome comments about a person’s body or clothing 
  • Making somebody feel uncomfortable through displaying or sharing sexual material 

Sexual harassment does not necessarily 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 and image-based sexual abuse, such as revenge porn and upskirting. 

If you think you have been the victim of sexual misconduct it may be hard to know what to do or how to feel. What happened was not your fault. What you do next is your choice. 


There are two ways you can tell us what happened