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Support for Students Who Have Been Affected by Sexual Violence


UCL is committed to the safety and wellbeing of our students and will do our utmost to support anyone who has been, or is being, affected by sexual violence.

It can be difficult to know which actions to take following an incident/s, but only you can determine how to proceed. Should you wish to talk to somebody at UCL, the Student Support and Wellbeing Team can advise you of the support available to you, both internally and externally, and will work with you to ensure your needs are met.

You are not obliged to inform UCL if you have been affected by sexual violence, however, if you choose to do so we will ensure that you receive the appropriate support.

Should you not wish to disclose any information to UCL, you will find plenty of external support services dedicated to people who have been affected by sexual violence.

Details of support available at UCL and some external organisations can be found below.

What is Sexual Violence?

Sexual violence is any unwanted sexual act or activity. There are many different kinds of sexual violence, including but not restricted to: rape, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, sexual harassment, rape within marriage / relationships, forced marriage, so-called ‘honour-based’ violence, female genital mutilation, trafficking, sexual exploitation, and ritual abuse. Sexual violence can be perpetrated by a complete stranger, or by someone known and even trusted, such as a friend, colleague, family member, partner or ex-partner.

100% of the responsibility for any act of sexual violence lies with its perpetrator. There is no excuse for sexual violence – it can never be justified, it can never be explained away and there is no context in which it is valid, understandable or acceptable.

If you have experienced any kind of sexual violence, no matter where you were, what you were doing, what you were wearing, what you were saying, if you were drunk or under the influence of drugs, it was not your fault and you did not deserve this.

  • Consent is a positive agreement between participants to engage in specific sexual activity
  • Consent must be voluntary and cannot be coerced
  • Consent may be withdrawn at any time and can never be implied or assumed
  • Consent cannot be given by an individual who is substantially impaired or unconscious as a result of alcohol or drugs; or by an individual whom is asleep or unaware the act is being committed
  • Consent cannot be given by an individual who has been compelled by force, threat of force, or deception
  • Consent cannot be given by an individual whose consent is impaired because of a mental of physical condition
  • Any prior sexual activity or relationship, does not, in and on itself, constitute consent regardless of any previous sexual activity that has taken place on that occasion or at any other time

Remember: If it isn’t your choice, you haven’t given consent.

Who to contact if I feel at risk and need urgent help?

If you feel you are at risk, think that others may be at risk and/or need urgent medical help.

  • On UCL campus – call security24/7 from any UCL phone on 222 or 020 7679 2108 (Security can then call emergency services and ensure they are guided to the correct location)
  • Off campus – Call the police and/or an ambulance immediately on 999

How do I report sexual violence to the police?

You can find detailed information on how to report an incident of sexual violence to the police on the Metropolitan Police’s website. Here you will also find information on the investigation process, and the court process should your case be referred. It is important to remember:

  • You can report a crime at any time, regardless of when the incident happened
  • You can opt out of the police reporting process at any stage
  • If you decide to opt out, this will not affect any other support your receive

Who can I talk to at UCL if I have experienced sexual violence?

UCL Student Support and Wellbeing Team

To speak confidentially to the Student Support and Wellbeing team you can either report the incident online or contact us at student.wellbeing@ucl.ac.uk

The Student Support and Wellbeing team will then be in contact to arrange an appointment with you as soon as possible. If you would prefer to speak with someone of a specific gender please make this known beforehand. You are also welcome to bring a friend/ family member to accompany you.

During your appointment you will be given the opportunity to talk about your experience in as much or as little detail as you wish. You will also be given information about the support available to you and the options you have should you wish to report the incident to the police, however under no circumstances are you obliged to do so and the decision to do so will remain your choice.

Will it be confidential if I talk to someone at UCL?

Who you tell and whether you decide to report the incident/s to the police is entirely your choice. Any decisions made will be yours alone and respected.

If you wish, the Student Support and Wellbeing team are also able to report the incident to the police on your behalf without revealing your identity; therefore you will not be contacted or interviewed. Although the police will not be able to investigate, they will be able to use the information you give them as intelligence.

The only exception to this would be if there were concerns around your safety or that of others, in which case Student and Registry Services may be obliged by our duty of care to contact the police.

Can I make a formal complaint against another UCL student?

Yes, you can make a formal complaint under UCL’s Disciplinary Code and Procedure at any time but the action that UCL can take is dependent on the following factors:

  • UCL does not have any formal investigative powers so any action taken will depend on the level of evidence that can be provided
  • The extent to which action can be taken will also depend on whether or not the alleged misconduct would also constitute an offence under criminal law and, if so, the seriousness of the offence.
  • By its very nature sexual violence is a serious criminal offence and this will necessarily restrict UCL’s ability to take action as UCL is not permitted to act outside of the UK’s judicial processes.
  • If it is a serious matter and has been reported to the Police then the only action UCL may take is to suspend or exclude the student in question pending the conclusion of the Police investigation or prosecution.
  • In the case of all other offences then UCL can take action under its Disciplinary Code and Procedure.

What support services are available at UCL?

We recommend that you make an appointment with UCL’s Student Support and Wellbeing who will be able to provide you with information, advice and welfare support. You can contact us by completing the online appointment request form or by email at student.wellbeing@ucl.ac.uk.


The department includes Student Physiological Services, an effective professional resource for students who are facing psychological problems. You can self refer to access this service by registering online. This service is completely confidential.

Support from UCL Students’ Union (UCLU)

You can speak to UCLU Sabbatical Officers or staff in the Rights and Advice Centre who have been trained on how to listen to and support people who have experienced sexual violence. They can advise you on further internal and external support services.

To speak to UCLU Rights and Advice Centre you can go to the First Floor, 15 Gordon Street (Bloomsbury Theatre building) or call 020 7679 2998 or email uclu-rights.advice@ucl.ac.uk

To speak to UCLU Sabbatical Officers you can contact the UCLU Women’s Officer (wo@uclu.org) or the UCLU Welfare and International Officer (wio@uclu.org), If you feel comfortable meeting in person, please feel free to stop by the Sabbatical office on the 4th floor of 25 Gordon Street.

What external support services can I access?

The following support services are confidential; you can access any of these services without involving the police.

The Havens are specialist centres in London for people who have been raped or sexually assaulted in the past 12 months. You can call them 24 hours a day, seven days a week to make an appointment. If necessary, they will aim to see you within 90 minutes of request. They also offer follow-up care including counselling, tests and treatments.

Camberwell: 020 3299 1599
Paddington: 020 3312 1101
Whitechapel: 020 7247 4787


If you were assaulted more than 12 months ago, they can provide you with information on other organisations that can help.

Rape Crisis - for women and girls who have experienced sexual abuse and rape.

Call 0808 802 9999 between 12 - 2.30pm and 7 - 9.30pm


Survivors UK is a national charity for male survivors of sexual abuse.

Call 020 3598 3898 between 6-9pm (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday) or 12-2.30pm (Wednesday, Thursday). Informal web chat is also available.


The Samaritans are available on the phone 24 hours a day to support you through any trauma including sexual assault.

08457 909090 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.


Nightline are a confidential listening, support and practical information service for students in London and Open University. You can talk to them about anything – big or small – in complete confidence. Open 6pm – 8am every night of term.

Phone: 0207 631 0101 Email: listening@nightline.org.uk Skype Phone: londonnightline Skype Chat: chat.nightline Text (new): 07717 989 900

Page Editor: UCL Student Support and Wellbeing

Page last modified on 11 mar 15 18:16