Sexual abuse may take many forms. In addition to rape and sexual assault, it includes sexual harassment, i.e. any behaviour that is humiliating, intimidating or hostile, and may include actions like derogatory name-calling, belittling remarks, insults, threats, unwanted personal attention.
It can also include any form of sexual activity that takes place without the other person’s full and informed consent – involving physical contact, words, or photographs online or by text message.
Sexual abuse can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, class, or background. The majority of rape and sexual assault are mostly carried out by someone known to the victim; a spouse, partner, friend, colleague or family member.
Sexual violence can also be committed by strangers. If you’ve been sexually assaulted you don’t have to report the assault to police if you don’t want to, however only the police can carry out a formal investigation into these types of matters.
The university takes a zero-tolerance approach to any form of abuse and will take action against any student or staff member who is deemed to have breached the Student Disciplinary Procedures or Staff Dignity & Respect (Harassment) Policy and Procedure.
How to report an incident
All students, staff and visitors to our campus can report an incident in any of the following ways:
- Use our online form to report an incident, you can choose to do this anonymously. Your report will be sent confidentially to dedicated staff within BU.
- If there is an emergency on campus call 01202 962222. For off campus emergencies call 999.
- If you're deaf/hard of hearing or speech impaired you can use the emergency SMS/Text: 80999 or non-emergency SMS/Text: 67101 for off campus incidents. Please note: you'll need to register your mobile phone first to use this service.
Support on campus
You can contact any of our teams below for further support:
- [email protected] team
- BU's Neighbourhood Policing team
- Student Wellbeing
- Jacquie O'Brien, [email protected] Officer: email [email protected] or call 01202 969696
- You can also speak to an AskBU Adviser in confidence
- Student policies and procedures - Conduct and Welfare
- Staff Dignity & Respect (Harassment) Policy and Procedure
- Sexual Trauma and Recovery Service drop-in
The STARS service run a drop-in at the Student Wellbeing office on the first Monday of the month, between 11am - 2pm, on 9 May, 6 June. The service is completely confidential and supports anyone who lives, works or studies in Dorset and has been affected by some form of sexual trauma at anytime in their life, it does not have to be a recent incident and does not have to have occured in the county.
If you want to go elsewhere for support you can always contact the below organisations:
- The Shores – this is the dedicated Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) for Dorset, providing a comprehensive service to anyone who has been raped or sexually assaulted and can support you even if you do not wish to report an incident to the police. They offer a safe and non-judgemental environment which focuses on the needs of you, the individual. All clients are treated with dignity and respect. The Shores are contactable 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
- Disrespect NoBody
- STARS: Sexual Trauma and Recovery Service
- NHS: Help after rape and sexual assault
- Rape Crisis
- The Survivors Trust.