Bullying and Harassment


We as a College want to ensure all staff, students and visitors feel safe and respected. As such, the College takes bullying and harassment seriously. We believe that it is important for members of the College community to understand what is meant by these terms, and their own responsibilities to challenge such negative behaviours. Find out our definitions of bullying and harassment here.


What is bullying and harassment?

Bullying is characterised as “offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate, or injure the recipient.”

The Equality Act 2010 defines harassment as "unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characterisic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual's dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the individual."

The nine protected characteristics, as specified within the Equality Act 2010, are:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion and belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

It is unlawful to discriminate against anyone on the basis of these characteristics. It is important to remember that bullying, harassment and discrimination cannot be reduced to a prescriptive list, but can take many and multiple forms. If any member of the College believes that they, or a colleague, are being treated unfairly in any way, it is always worth reporting this.


For information on bullying, harassment and power dynamics within academia, please see the following resources and articles:


Policies and Guidance


How do I report a bullying and harassment incident?

The process for reporting bullying and harassment is to first talk to your Supervisor and ask them for support in resolving the issue. If speaking with your Supervisor is not possible, contact the PGR Lead within your department, the Director of Postgraduate Education for your School or one of the Anti-Bullying and Harassment Champions for the Doctoral School. We will seek to find a satisfactory resolution for you and with your agreement will call on support and report to other areas within the College. If a resolution is not found to your satisfaction, we will escalate to the Dean of the Doctoral School.


RH Be Heard

RH Be Heard is a new way for you to report issues in one place, through one simple online form. 

Universities can be complex communities, and it’s sometimes difficult to know who to contact when you need something resolved. Whether you have a concern, need to resolve a complaint, or report misconduct that you experience or witness, RH Be Heard makes sure that we can help. 

Reporting through RH Be Heard means that your question or complaint will be directed to the right team, first time.


Mental Health and Wellbeing support

Incidents of Bullying and Harassment can affect mental health and wellbeing and there is support available to you.

To discuss any concerns about harassment please contact one of the following:

The student counselling service and other sections of Mental Health & Wellbeing Support can also advise on external agencies that will offer confidential advice and support.

Anti-Bullying and Harassment Champions

If you'd like to dicuss your concerns with someone independent from outside your department / School please contact one of the Anti-Bullying and Harassment Champions for the Doctoral School:

Working at Royal Holloway

If you have experienced bullying and/or harassment at Royal Holloway while you are a staff member, please refer to the Dignity at Work policy.


Bullying and Harassment claims must be taken seriously by law.

Contact us

By email:

By phone:

  • 01784 276886
  • Manned 10am-4pm, Tuesday to Thursday

In person:

  • Visit our helpdesk in room S-105, Founder's South Tower
  • Open 10am-4pm on Tuesdays

Quick links

A to Z of the Doctoral School microsite

Wellbeing for PGRs

SU Advice Centre

RH Be Heard