Harassment and Abuse

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Harassment and Abuse


Aston Students’ Union have zero tolerance for all forms of harassment, bullying and inappropriate behaviour. Such behaviour can significantly and deeply affect someone’s physical and mental health, their social life and their learning experience.

We do not tolerate it in any of our spaces and you do not have to tolerate it either. We will support you to report any such behaviour that you have experienced or witnessed so that action can be taken to prevent it from happening to others.


The University actively encourages any student, staff member, or visitor who considers they are suffering harassment, bullying or victimisation to take action using the procedures set out alongside the University’s Bullying and Harassment Policy.


What is harassment?

Harassment is any unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.

Usually for behaviour to be considered harassment, it must happen on more than one occasion. It can be the same type of behaviour or different types of behaviour on each occasion. However, a one-off incident that is particularly serious can constitute harassment.

Under the Equality Act 2010 harassment related to any of the protected characteristics below is unlawful:

  • Age
  • Disability (physical or mental)
  • Gender Reassignment
  • Marriage and Civil Partnership
  • Pregenancy and Maternity
  • Race (including ethnic and national origins, colour and nationality)
  • Religion or Belief (including lack of belief)
  • Sex (including sexual harassment)
  • Sexual Orientation

What is bullying?

Bullying is any persistent intimidating, offensive or humiliating behaviour, which has the purpose or effect of undermining a person and/or creating an intimidating and hostile environment that makes a person feel uncomfortable. It can also include an abuse of power where someone manipulates the other person to do something with the threat of punishment or being treated unfavourably.


Some Examples of Harassment and Bullying

Harassment and Bullying can occur in a number of ways such as face-to-face, in writing, by telephone, text messaging, email and on social media. Examples of harassment and bullying include:

  • Embarrassing, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, jokes or innuendo (particularly on the grounds of age, race, sex, disability, sexual orientation and religion or belief)
  • Unwelcome comments about clothes or appearance
  • Shouting or screaming at someone
  • Unwanted physical contact
  • Malicious gossip
  • Sexual advances
  • Aggressive behaviour, physical or verbal including making threats
  • Persistently demeaning or ridiculing someone
  • Inappropriate and derogatory remarks
  • Overbearing supervision or other misuse of power or position.
  • Stalking
  • Gaslighting - constantly undermining or excluding someone

It is irrelevant whether the harassment or bullying is unintentional if the person being harassed or bullied considers the behaviour as offensive, unacceptable, distressing or humiliating.


What can you do?

In an emergency situation:

Call the police on 999 If you or are being harassed and feel you're in danger. The police are the only organisation that may be able to provide protection if you are concerned for your safety.

The West Midlands Police have a webpage which provides information on how to contact them to report harassment and how they are likely to deal with it. You may also wish to visit your local police station to discuss the matter and/or report the incidents. There is a police station based in the city centre.

In a non-emergency situation:



How can we help?

Our Advice & Representation Centre provides a safe, non-judgmental and confidential space for you to discuss your experience. Our advisers can help by providing guidance and support so that you feel empowered and confident about what steps to take. We will also signpost victims to service that provide support based on their circumstances.

If you are experiencing harassment or bullying please contact one of our advisers at advice@aston.ac.uk.


Advice & Representation Centre,
Aston Students' Union,
8 Coleshill Street,
B4 7BX

Telephone: 0121 204 4848


Additional Support Services

Aston University Counselling and Mental Wellbeing Team

The Counselling and Mental Wellbeing staff are experienced in supporting students with a wide range of issues including personal issues, anxiety, academic stress, low mood and depression, relationship and family difficulties, and bereavement. They offer a range of counselling approaches including brief counselling, which is particularly suitable for students. You will also be signposted to self-help resources and referred to further specialist services should you need them.

Their contact details are:

Rights of Women

They can provide advice regarding criminal law including reporting offences to the police and also on reporting harassment and applying for a harassment injunction which is an injunction that you apply for yourself in the civil courts, such as a county court.

Contact details and other information: