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If you have been affected by sexual assault, harassment or violence we are here to support you.  

Please see this page for more information.

If you tell us about an incident of misconduct we will allocate a member of staff to support you. You may want to consider making a report to the police or making a formal complaint to the university. This is your decision and no one will try to influence you, whatever you decide we are here to support you and this is our primary concern.  

The key differences in making a police report and making a complaint to the university: 

table outlining the difference between making a complaint to the university and reporting to the police.
 Making a police report  Making a complaint to the university
 The Police will consider whether a criminal offence has been committed.  The university will consider whether a breach of our Assault and Sexual Assault Policy has occurred.
 The police have greater powers of investigation and can obtain forensic evidence.  The university has limited powers of investigation compared to the police, for example the university cannot obtain forensic evidence and university CCTV footage can be kept for only a short period. 
 In criminal proceedings, the case against the defendant must be proved ‘beyond reasonable doubt’  The university uses the civil standard of proof ‘the balance of probabilities’, this means the investigation will decide whether it is more likely than not that the incident occurred.
 The result of a police investigation may be a criminal prosecution and a trial in court.   The outcome of a university complaint may be a referral to the Student Disciplinary Procedure or the Procedure for Consideration of Fitness to Study or Practise or another sanction. The university will share outcomes with you where possible, but may not be able to share information on sanctions imposed on others with you due to our obligations under GDPR.

Making a formal complaint about sexual misconduct or assault to the university 

  • You will be allocated a supporter. Please contact the Academic Registrar or Dean for Students if you need help with this.  

  • Your supporter will have access to training and will talk through the process with you. 

  • You need to complete a Complaint form. Your supporter can help you with this.  

  • Complaints cannot be submitted anonymously. 

  • Please note that the university will not investigate an allegation of sexual misconduct while it is being investigated by the police. Students on clinical courses who are the subject of a criminal investigation must notify the Academic Registrar immediately. The university can investigate on completion of the police investigation whatever the result of the police investigation. 

  • There are some steps in the formal complaints process which you do not need to follow when you are reporting sexual misconduct: 

  1. You do not need to attempt to resolve your complaint informally. You do not need to submit your complaint within 3 calendar months of the incident.

  2. However the person you are complaining of must still a member of the university community and please note that recall of events can be unreliable after a long period of time and this might make the investigation more difficult.
  3. If you wish you can fully describe your experience on the complaint form. Alternatively, if you do not wish to do this, you will have an opportunity to speak to an Investigating Officer (IO). We understand that it can be difficult to repeat and relive your experiences, the IO does need to hear your description of events, we are keen to support you to do this in the best way for you. 
  • You are entitled to be accompanied by your staff supporter at all stages of the complaint. 

  • Your complaint will be reviewed initially by a member of the Student Conduct and Compliance Team who will decide whether to refer the complaint to an Investigating Officer (IO) for investigation. If you have a preference for a female or male IO please let your supporter know or include this on your complaints form.  

  • The IO is impartial, they will have no previous university or personal connection with you or the respondent (the person you are complaining about) and must remain neutral throughout the investigation. 

  • The university has a duty to the respondent (the person you complain about) and must ensure that the process is fair and supportive. The respondent will be allocated a supporter and will have an opportunity to respond to the complaint. 

  • The IO will offer to interview you and you will be interviewed before the respondent. The IO will ask you questions about your complaint and your evidence. This can feel tough for students. We encourage you to take your time and ask any questions you may have, you can ask for a break and you can be accompanied by someone you choose, your staff supporter, a family member or friend. The IO will want to hear from you during the interview but may invite your supporter to comment at the end of the interview.  

  • The IO may interview witnesses and they will discuss this with you. Sometimes it may not be appropriate to interview witnesses, for example if details of the case have been shared between students or the evidence it is suggested they have is not thought to be relevant to the allegation.  

  • Unfortunately it is often difficult to make a judgement ‘on the balance of probabilities’ about an incident, particularly where it has happened in private between individuals who provide different accounts and where there is no external evidence. Investigations therefore often result in no clear judgement and no sanction for the respondent and we understand that this can be distressing for students. It does not mean that we don’t believe you and we do not want to deter you from submitting a complaint. Our focus will be on supporting you and learning from your experience.  

  • Please be assured that submitting a complaint will not have any implications for your academic studies or your career. 

  • Following your complaint your supporter will help you manage your ongoing study, we understand that it may be difficult if you are likely to encounter your respondent. In some cases we are able to reduce the chance of this happening onsite or on placement.  

  • We are keen to hear about your experience with the process of your complaint, please feedback to your supporter if you wish to do this.  

  • If you have questions about the process please feel free to ask your supporter or anyone else involved in your case. 

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