Harassment | University of Oxford

Harassment

The University is committed to fostering an inclusive culture which promotes equality, values diversity and maintains a working, learning and social environment in which the rights and dignity of all students are respected. Harassment or victimisation is regarded as unacceptable behaviour and is not tolerated in any form. All members of the University are expected to treat each other fairly and with respect, courtesy and consideration.

Help and advice

If you feel that you have recently experienced harassment, there are a number of people who are available to help and advise you by clarifying the options open to you, assisting you in resolving the matter informally where possible, and supporting you throughout the resolution of your concerns. Information will be held in confidence, except in cases where there is an unacceptable risk to a member of staff, student or to the University.

Advice from your department

Within your department and faculty, the University’s confidential harassment advisor network has two advisors (one of each sex) appointed who are available to talk through your situation. The advisor can help you decide on the best way to deal with the behaviour and will clarify the options available to you. A number of named advisors are available to contact specifically for support on sexual violence or domestic abuse, as well as advisors who identify themselves as black minority ethnic, or lesbian, gay or bisexual.  

Advice from your college

Colleges have also appointed their own confidential advisors whose contact details should be readily available eg on college noticeboards. Alternatively you may wish to discuss the matter in confidence with your college dean, or another college officer with pastoral responsibilities, the Common Room Welfare or Equal Opportunities Officer, or a student peer supporter in your college who has been carefully selected and trained to offer support and advice.  

Advice from other services

If you would prefer to speak with an advisor entirely unconnected with your department, faculty, or college, you can call 01865 270760 or email the Harassment Line. An alternative advisor will be found for you.

The Counselling Service is available for an appointment with an advisor who will provide confidential support for personal, emotional, social and academic problems. The Service also offers a variety of supportive resources including workshops, advice, and individual and group counselling.

OUSU’s Student Advice Service also provides a confidential and impartial listening and advice service. Whether you feel you are being harassed currently, or that you have been in the past, the Service allows you to talk through your feelings and experiences with an advisor.

In cases where informal action has not succeeded, or would not be appropriate, or when it is not clear where to take a harassment concern, you can contact the Director of Student Welfare and Support Services, Catherine Paxton. The Director ensures that students can access appropriate support in cases involving University staff and other students, including through the formal complaint stage, if appropriate. Support is also available to students accused of harassment. The Director can offer advice to students in cases when a criminal offence may have been committed.

Catherine PaxtonDirector of Student Welfare and Support Services

“I see it as my job to help students navigate the University’s harassment procedures. No two cases are the same. My office can also build up a picture of the problems which students are experiencing, allowing the University to respond where action is needed.” Catherine Paxton, Director of Student Welfare and Support Services.

Contact
Catherine Paxton, Director of Student Welfare and Support Services
Confidential email: director.swss@admin.ox.ac.uk
01865 280444

For an overview of the steps taken by the University when handling harassment complaints, please refer to the Harassment procedure flowchart for students.