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 24/7 from any UCL phone on 222 or +44 (0)20 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.

If you or a friend are affected by sexual harassment or violence there are a few key messages which 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 Sexual Violence Adviser here at UCL - this appointment is offered by Rape Crisis and no information will be shared with UCL, the police, or any other organisation or profession
  • you can access independent support from Rape Crisis or Survivors UK

      Support at UCL 

      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:

      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 with someone of a specific gender please make this known beforehand. You are also welcome to bring a friend/ 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 signpost you to further support.

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

      It may feel more natural to disclose that you have been affected by sexual violence to a trusted person in your academic department, for instance your personal tutor or supervisor. Whilst it is perfectly okay to do so, UCL 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 of sexual harassment and/or sexual violence to the SSW team is treated in line with the UCL Confidential Information Statement and is confidential within the SSW service. SSW will have 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.

      In some circumstances it may become necessary for SSW to break confidentiality. This is because alongside any duties of confidentiality in relation to confidential disclosures, UCL owes duty of care towards you as a disclosing student and the rest of the UCL community (and potentially to others). These circumstances may require UCL to take further action in response to a disclosure, including in the most serious cases to make disclosures to the police. 

      Additional support for female students provided by Rape Crisis at UCL 

      This appointment is confidential within the Rape Crisis service and no information is shared with UCL.

      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 female students to meet with a Specialist Sexual Violence Adviser from Rape Crisis on UCL’s premises.

      The Specialist Sexual Violence Adviser 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

      You would usually see the Adviser 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 Specialist Sexual Violence Adviser, please use one of the contact options below:

      • complete the online SSW appointment request form; if you would like an appointment with a Specialist Sexual Violence Adviser 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 Specialist Sexual Violence Adviser from Rape Crisis
      • call SSW on 020 7679 0100 to request an appointment with the Specialist Sexual Violence Adviser from Rape Crisis
      • attend one of the SSW drop-in sessions to request an appointment with the Specialist Sexual Violence Adviser from Rape Crisis

      You do not need to disclose details of the incident when requesting an appointment. Requesting the ‘Appointment with a Specialist Sexual Violence Adviser only’ option means that the details of the incident/s will not be shared with UCL. If you therefore require UCL to provide further support, for instance to make adjustments to your study or your UCL accommodation, you will need to contact SSW separately.

      Support for male students outside of UCL

      Both female and male students can expect the same level of support from Student Support and Wellbeing Advisers. In addition to the support provided by UCL, male students have access to the support provided by Survivors UK – the national charity for male survivors of sexual abuse. You can speak to a trained adviser in confidence on 020 3598 3898 or via individual web chat.

      Support provided by the Students’ Union UCL

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

      You can speak to a Sabbatical Officer or staff in the Rights and Advice Centre 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:

      • go to the First Floor, 15 Gordon Street (Bloomsbury Theatre building - see opening hours)
      • call +44 (0)20 7679 2998
      • email su.rights.advice@ucl.ac.uk
      • if you would prefer meeting in person, you can also stop by the Sabbatical office on the 4th 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 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. Call them on +44 (0)20 3299 6900.

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

      Rape Crisis is for women and girls who have experienced sexual abuse and rape. Call +44 (0) 808 802 9999 from midday to 2.30pm and 7pm to 9.30pm any day of the year and also from 3pm to 5.30pm on weekdays.

      Survivors UK is a national charity for male survivors of sexual abuse. Call +44 (0) 20 3598 3898 from 6pm to 9pm (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday) or from midday to 2.30pm (Wednesday, Thursday). Informal web chat is also available.

      Women's Aid is the key national charity in England for women and children experiencing physical, sexual or emotional abuse in their homes. National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge, is available on +44 (0) 808 2000 247 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is a free service.

      The Samaritans are available on the phone 24 hours a day to support you through any trauma including sexual assault. Call +44 (0) 8457 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. Lines are open from 6pm to 8am every night of term. Call +44 (0) 207 631 0101 or send on email.  You can also Skype Phone them using londonnightline, Skype Chat using chat.nightline  or use the text service on +44 (0) 7717 989 900.