Student Harassment


The College Code of Practice on Personal Harassment for students confirms that Royal Holloway is committed to upholding the dignity of the individual and notes that personal harassment can seriously harm working, learning and social conditions at the College.  The College prohibits abusive behaviour by students towards staff and / or other students, including via social media.  Harassment will be regarded seriously and could be grounds for disciplinary action, which may include termination of registration as a student.

Sexual assault or violence

If you have been the victim of sexual assault or violence on or off campus please refer to the more specialised webpages for advice and support .

What is harassment? 

The Code of Practice defines harassment as "behaviour that a particular individual or group of individuals finds disturbing.  Harassment can take many forms.  For an action to constitute harassment, it does not necessarily require that the action is deliberately intended to cause offence. If the particular recipient perceives the conduct as offensive, if this perception is broadly reasonable, and if the perpetrator is likely to be aware of this or has been made aware, the conduct may constitute harassment. Harassment is behaviour that degrades, patronizes, humiliates, intimidates or threatens a recipient. It may undermine a person's dignity, health and self-confidence. Harassment is normally characterised by more than one incident of unacceptable behaviour, but one instance may constitute harassment if sufficiently serious. Repeated similar behaviour towards different people may also constitute harassment."

How does the College deal with reports of harassment? 

Informal process: The College has a preference that - wherever possible - harassment complaints against students are resolved at an early stage without the need for formal proceedings.  We believe harassment complaints often arise because of misunderstandings or impulsive actions.  We would prefer people had the opportunity to explore any possible misunderstandings, to apologise when appropriate and to consider acting differently in similar situations in the future in a more informal setting that that of a disciplinary procedure.

Formal process: If the informal process has not been effective, or if the matter is too serious to be amenable to an advisory process, consideration can be given to treating the matter as a disciplinary offence, under the Student Disciplinary Regulations.  In deciding this the College will consider to what extent the described harassment (i) falls within the proper jurisdiction of the College, (ii) bears on the goals the College seeks to achieve in its equality policies and (iii) is otherwise appropriate for College disciplinary intervention. 

  • We would encourage students to report serious issues of harassment - which may constitute a crime - to Surrey Police on 101.

Who can I discuss my concerns with? 

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

The student counselling service and other sections of Support & Advisory Services can also advise on external agencies that will offer confidential advice and support specifically in cases of sexual assault or rape.

Social media use advice to avoid issues of harassment

Reports of harassment between students often centres around use of social media.  The Disability & Dyslexia Services office have prepared the following suggested guidelines for use of social media to try to prevent issues of harassment arising in this way.  

The importance of being you

  • Social media sites are communities where people often use their real names and identities, so we're all accountable for our actions.
  • It is often against their terms and conditions to lie about your name or age.  
  • Help keep the community safe and harassment free by reporting fake profiles to the social media companies, such as Facebook and Twitter, if you ever see them.  

"Don't talk to me again"

  • If you ever receive hurtful or abusive messages or posts on your profile page you have options.
  • Depending on how serious the situation is, you can ignore it, ask the person to stop, un-friend or block them and tell someone.  
  • Everyone deserves to be treated with respect.

Report abusive content

  • Be sure to always report abusive content - whether it is on your profile page or someone else's.  
  • You can also report inappropriate pages, groups, events, fake or imposter profiles.
  • Remember that reporting is confidential, so no one will know who made the report.

Top tips

  • Don't share your password with anyone.
  • Be authentic.  The real you is better than anyone you might pretend to be.
  • Only accept friend requests from people you know.
  • Don't post anything you wouldn't want your parents, lecturers or employers to see.
  • Learn about privacy settings and review them often.
  • Don't use abusive language and don't swear

Finally - think before you post....

It is easy to get caught up in the moment and write or do something that may seem funny at the time but remember that what you say can really hurt someone, or come back to haunt you.  Think before you post.  It only takes a second or two.  Ask yourself if you really want to say it.  Make sure you don't mind if your friends, classmates, housemates, lecturers, parents or employers hear about it later.

Remember that any information you post - whether in a comment, message, note, or a video chat - might be copied, pasted, and distributed in ways that you didn't intend.  Before you post, ask yourself - would I be okay if this content was widely shared at university or with my future employer?  How would I react if I saw this post on Facebook / Twitter? 

At the same time, we all make mistakes.  If you find yourself wishing you hadn't done something, delete it immediately and apologise to the person / people you upset.  It is never too late to offer an apology.


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Contact us to discuss or report harassment

01784 443394