Sexual Harassment and Violence Support Service | University of Oxford
Here for you
Here for you

Sexual Harassment and Violence Support Service

If you have experienced sexual harassment and violence in any form, we are here for you – whoever you are, whatever has happened, and whenever it was.

About the service 

The new Sexual Harassment and Violence Support Service provides a safe place to be heard - independent of your college or department. We offer free support and advice to any students who have been affected by sexual harassment or violence.

The service will support students in all situations, whether the experiences of sexual harassment or violence happened in Oxford or elsewhere, and whether it was recent or in the past. 

Our specialist advisors are trained to support you at your pace. We’ll help you explore your options, and we’ll be here to support you whatever you choose to do.

The service is open throughout the academic year. We will be closed for the Christmas vacation from 22 Dec to 6 Jan 2019.

To speak one of our advisors email:

What we do

We are specially trained in responding to incidents of sexual harassment and violence. We offer a response that is non-judgemental, non-directive and puts you in control of what happens next.

When you come to speak to one of the team we'll provide a confidential and quiet space to speak and a cup of coffee (or other drink). You can share as much or as little as you would like or feel able to.

We listen to what has been going on, and will go through all of the options that are specific to you. The options fall broadly into four categories:

  • Immediate health needs
  • Reporting options - to college, university, or police
  • Therapeutic support options
  • Practical support - managing impact on your academic work, keeping you safe and feeling safe

We'll talk through each of these with you and whatever options you want to pursue we'll be here to support you through them.

The team

The support service is run by a team of three highly trained specialist advisors and soon an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA). We have female and male advisors and we will do our best to ensure that you can see someone you feel comfortable talking to.

To speak one of our advisors email:

What is sexual harassment and violence?

Sexual harassment and violence is any unwanted sexual behaviour which takes place without consent, whether you know the person or not. It can happen to anyone regardless of your gender, sexual orientation, race, religion or age. It does not always happen in person. It may happen on online, for example on social media, via e-mail or messaging.

Sexual harassment and violence can include:

  • Catcalling, wolf-whistling, leering, unwanted comments or jokes about a person’s body, clothing or sex life

  • Stalking someone or following them (in person or online)

  • Unwanted physical contact, such as groping, sexual assault, abuse or rape

  • Relationship abuse

  • Unwelcome sexual requests

  • Non-consensual photos like up-skirting or sharing of explicit material.


The University Counselling Service has compiled a list of self-help resources on surviving traumatic events that may be helpful when thinking about any challenges that you may be facing and what you can do to address these.

The Counselling Service has a number of counsellors who are experienced in working with survivors of sexual harassment and violence. The service also offers a specialist therapy called Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR) which is endorsed under the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines as a highly effectively treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Sexual harassment and violence abroad

If the incident happened in another country and you are still there, you can contact the local British Consulate or Embassy for assistance, including medical and legal help. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office website includes additional information. Visit the Rape Crisis Network Europe website for information about specialist support services in other European countries.


External support

There are a number of specialist organisations outside of the University who provide support to people affected by sexual harassment and violence.

Oxfordshire Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre

A service for women, 18 or over, offering  a free and confidential service to women who are dealing with the effects of sexual violence. Specialist staff will work with you to create a tailor-made support plan to suit your needs and provide emotional and practical support through each stage of the police and criminal justice procedure, and can also provide more information on what is involved before you decide to report. Telephone: 01865 725311

Survivors UK 

A free and confidential telephone helpline for men and boys who are dealing with the effects of sexual violence. Telephone: 020 359 83898


An LGBT anti-violence and abuse charity, providing advice and support to people who have experienced sexual violence, domestic abuse, biphobia, homophobia or transphobia. Telephone: 0300 999 5428

Karma Nirvana 

Supporting victims of honour crimes and forced marriages. Telephone: 0800 5999247

The Kiran Project 

For Asian women fleeing domestic violence and abuse. Telephone: 020 8558 1986      

Freedom Charity 

24/7 helpline staffed by trained professionals to help victims of forced marriage and their friends who are seeking help, support and advice. Telephone: 0845 607 0133

National Association for People Abused in Childhood

National charity offering support to adult survivors of all types of childhood abuse, including physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect. Telephone: 0808 801 0331

Help for Adult Victims of Child Abuse

Run by survivors for adult survivors of child abuse. They provide support, friendship and advice for any adult who’s life has been affected by childhood abuse.

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