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Sexual harassment and/or violence: support at UCL and externally

If you have experienced sexual harassment and/or sexual violence, there is support available from UCL and other organisations.

As a UCL student, you become part of an open, inclusive, diverse and fair community. You are entitled to a safe and positive student experience where all students have equal access to opportunities and support.


Who to contact if you feel at risk and need urgent help

If you feel you are at risk, think that others may be at risk or need urgent medical help, please see below for contact details:

  • On UCL campus – call Security Services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from any UCL phone on 222 or +44 (0)20 7679 2108 (Security Services 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.

Key messages for students affected by sexual harassment and/or violence

If you have been affected by sexual harassment and/or violence, there are a few key messages that we would like you to remember:

  • it was not your fault
  • you are not alone; you deserve to feel supported and believed
  • there isn’t any particular action that you have to take, you have a choice in how to proceed
  • you can disclose to the police if you choose to do so
  • you can report any incident/s of sexual harassment and/or violence to UCL; you don’t have to do this, but if you do, we can direct you to appropriate confidential support and help with any adjustments to your study
  • you can disclose to an external Independent Sexual Violence Adviser (ISVA) here at UCL; this is offered by Rape Crisis and SurvivorsUK and no information will be shared with UCL, the police, or any other organisation
  • you can access additional independent support from Rape Crisis or Survivors UK

Support from the SSW advisers 

The first step to receiving support from UCL is to contact the Student Support and Wellbeing (SSW) team. The SSW advisers have received the appropriate training to deal with disclosures of sexual harassment and/or sexual violence.

You can contact SSW from Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays and university closure days) to request an appointment by using one of the following options:

Important: You do not need to disclose details of the incident when requesting an appointment.

You can talk about your experience with one of our SSW advisers in as much or as little detail as you wish.

If you would prefer to speak to someone of a specific gender, please make this known beforehand. You are also welcome to bring a friend or family member to accompany you.

In our support to you, we’ll be guided by your choices and can help with any adjustment to study and/or UCL accommodation; we can signpost you appropriately to further support.

Additionally, a team of therapists within SSW (Student Psychological Services) can support students in dealing with any emotional or psychological difficulties they may be experiencing. You can self-refer to this service by registering online.

You may feel more comfortable disclosing that you have been affected by sexual violence to a trusted person in your academic department, for instance your personal tutor or supervisor. While it is perfectly okay to do so, Student Support and Wellbeing (SSW) is the only team within UCL that has had the appropriate training on how to support students affected by sexual harassment and/or sexual violence.


Confidentiality of the disclosure  

A disclosure of an incident/incidents of sexual harassment and/or sexual violence to the SSW team is treated in accordance with the UCL Confidential Information Statement and is confidential within the SSW department. We will make a record of the incident that has been disclosed to us; however, this is stored confidentially and it is not linked to your academic record in any way.

Very rarely, and only in specific circumstances, it may become necessary for SSW to break confidentiality. This is because alongside any duties of confidentiality in relation to disclosures, UCL owes duty of care towards you as a student and the rest of the UCL community (and potentially to others). A serious risk of harm to you or others may require UCL to take further action in response to a disclosure, including in the most serious cases to make disclosures to the police. 


Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs) at UCL  

You do not need to disclose details of the incident/s to the Independent Sexual Violence Adviser (ISVA), but you may do so if you wish. Speaking to an ISVA is entirely confidential; no information is shared with UCL. If you require UCL to provide further support, for instance to make adjustments to your study or your UCL accommodation, you will need to speak to an SSW adviser separately.

Rape Crisis ISVA for female students

Rape Crisis is an organisation providing specialist, independent and confidential services for women and girls of all ages who have experienced any form of sexual violence at any time in their lives.

On your request, Student Support and Wellbeing (SSW) can arrange for you to meet with an Independent Sexual Violence Adviser (ISVA) from Rape Crisis on UCL’s premises.

The Rape Crisis ISVA can see you for a one-to-one 50 minute appointment at UCL. Telephone appointments are also available, if you would prefer speaking on the phone to a face-to-face appointment. This will not be a counselling session, but an opportunity to:

  • talk about the impact that the incident has had on you
  • discuss your options and the process of reporting to the police with the adviser if you wish to do so
  • find out about further support provided by Rape Crisis off campus

You would usually see the Rape Crisis ISVA for a one-off appointment only. However, it is possible that a further follow up session can be arranged if required.

To request an appointment with the Rape Crisis ISVA, please use one of the contact options below:

  • complete the online SSW appointment request form; if you would like an appointment with the Rape Crisis ISVA only, please state in the details section: ‘Appointment with a Specialist Sexual Violence Adviser only’.
  • email SSW at student.wellbeing@ucl.ac.uk to request an appointment with the Rape Crisis ISVA
  • call SSW on 020 7679 0100 to request an appointment with the Rape Crisis ISVA
  • attend one of the SSW drop-in sessions to request an appointment with the Rape Crisis ISVA

SurvivorsUK ISVA for male students

SurvivorsUK is an organisation that helps men who have been sexually abused at any point in their lives, which also provides support for their families, carers and supporters. They can support anyone who identifies as male, trans or non-binary or who has identified as male in the past.

Student Support and Wellbeing (SSW) hosts an Independent Sexual Violence Adviser (ISVA) from SurvivorsUK on UCL’s premises once a month.

The SurvivorsUK ISVA can see you for a one-to-one consultation at UCL. This will not be a counselling session, but an opportunity to:

  • talk about the impact that the incident has had on you
  • discuss your options and the process of reporting to the police with the adviser if you wish to do so
  • find out about further support provided by SurvivorsUK off campus

No appointment is needed to see the SurvivorsUK. To access this service, you simply need to attend the regular SSW drop-in session on the date below and indicate that you would like to see the SurvivorsUK ISVA on the arrival form.

The next SurvivorsUK Independent Sexual Violence Adviser (ISVA) drop-in session will take place on Monday 23 April 2018. Please come to the SSW drop-in on Level 4 of the IOE building, 20 Bedford Way at any time between 2pm and 4pm.


Support provided by Students’ Union UCL

In addition to the support provided by UCL itself, Students’ Union UCL also offers dedicated support to students affected by sexual violence.

You can speak to a Sabbatical Officer or staff in the Advice Service who have been trained on how to support students who have experienced sexual violence. They can advise you on further internal and external support services.

To speak to Students’ Union UCL Advice Service you can:

To speak to a Sabbatical Officer in person, you can visit the Sabbatical Office on the fourth floor of 25 Gordon Street.


External support available to UCL students

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

The Havens 

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. 

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

Contact: Call +44 (0)20 3299 6900, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Rape Crisis 

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

Contact: Call +44 (0)808 802 9999, from 12pm to 2.30pm and from 7pm to 9.30pm any day of the year, and from 3pm to 5.30pm on weekdays.

SurvivorsUK 

SurvivorsUK is a national charity for male survivors of sexual abuse. 

Contact: Call +44 (0)20 3598 3898, from 6pm to 9pm on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and from 12pm to 2.30pm on Wednesday and Thursday. Informal web chat is also available.

Women's Aid 

Women's Aid is the key national charity in England for women and children experiencing physical, sexual or emotional abuse in their homes. It is a free service.

Contact: Call +44 (0)808 2000 247 for the National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Samaritans 

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

Contact: Call +44 (0)8457 90 90 90, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Nightline 

Nightline are a confidential listening, support and practical information service for students in London and from the Open University. You can talk to them about anything, no matter how big or small, in complete confidence.

Contact: Call +44 (0)207 631 0101, from 6pm to 8am every night of term. You can also contact Nightline by email, on Skype using londonnightline for phone or chat.nightline for chat, or by text on +44 (0)7717 989 900.