The Students' Union is committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment in which every student is able to participate.
This policy reflects the Students’ Union’s core values and exists to:
The Students’ Union recognises that sexual harassment, discrimination and violence intersects with other forms of harassment, discrimination and violence that are related to factors including but not limited to gender identity, class, race, sexual orientation, disability, age, and faith.
All Union staff, officers, volunteers, members and visitors attending Union events, activities and affairs or on our premises must abide by the Policy. Members must also must abide by the Policy as a condition of their membership. Failure to comply may lead to sanctions, including the indefinite suspension of any or all of the privileges of membership of the Union.
This policy extends to online communication, communication by text, email and instant message which are made through official and student media accounts and directly linked to content published by the Students’ Union.
Our Equality and Diversity Policy outlines which characteristics are protected by law. The Head of Campaigns and Representation is the member of staff responsible for the Union’s compliance with the Equality Act 2010.
Unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual.
Treating someone less favourably than another person because of the protected characteristic that they have or are perceived to have, or their associations with someone who has a protected characteristic.
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that tends to create a hostile or offensive environment.
A person commits sexual assault if they sexually touch another person without that person’s consent.
We define sexual violence as a sexual act committed against someone without that person's freely given consent.
We define sexual objectification as the treatment or use of images of a person’s body as a non-autonomous sexualised object, including sexualised images of people’s bodies taken and/or distributed without consent.
A person consents if they ‘agree by choice, and have the freedom and capacity to make that choice’. (Sexual Offences Act 2003)
It can be difficult to apply legal definitions to lived experiences, so some examples are provided.
Examples of sexual harassment and discrimination include:
Examples of sexual assault include:
If a Union member, staff member, officer, volunteer or visitor attending Union events, activities and affairs or on our premises witnesses, experiences or is informed of an incident of sexual harassment, discrimination or violence they should follow the guidance viewable on our website on how to report an incident of misconduct by a member.
Union members can report to any of our front-line staff, including Union staff and full-time elected officers working in Falmer House, as well as Customer Service Assistants and Supervisors in our bars, who are able assist you to make a formal report, if you so choose. Alternatively, anyone can submit the details of an incident through our online reporting tool.
The Students’ Union will record and monitor all reported incidents of this nature through the online reporting tool. All data will be kept in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.
The Students’ Union will annually review any incidents which may be considered a breach of this policy, and where appropriate seek to identify where enforcement of the policy can be improved and where any potential breaches of the policy could be prevented.
The Students’ Union has a Discipline Procedure, which covers the misconduct of individual members, as well as sports clubs, societies, Union-affiliated groups and visitors in relation to sexual harassment, discrimination and violence. The sanctions imposed on individuals or groups who breach this Policy include indefinite removal of all of the privileges of membership of the Union. Alternatively, we may determine, with the consent of the complainant, that the nature of the complaint is sufficiently serious that the issue(s) should be referred to the University’s disciplinary procedures for investigation.
We regularly review our Discipline Procedure in the context of our Zero Tolerance approach towards sexual harassment, discrimination and violence to ensure that those who have experienced these incidents are properly supported.
Union members will be informed of the Policy through signage displayed throughout all areas of the Union. This Policy will be communicated on publicity for relevant events, e.g. Freshers Week, and information will be available on the website and through Students’ Union online and social media platforms. This is subject to the availability of space and what is viable.
The Union will ensure that members are aware of this Policy by referring to it in prominent places throughout the Union website, e.g. club and society webpages, as well as in relevant information guides, e.g. society packs, sport packs, event packs, application forms for clubs and societies.
Union or Union-approved publicity, marketing or communication does not contain any of the following:
The Students’ Union will not work or partner with individuals, companies or organisations which breach the publicity, marketing and communication guidelines outlined in this Policy with regards to any Union-affiliated activities or events, and may refuse to work with such individuals or organisations again if it is felt that these guidelines have been breached.
When working with external companies or organisations, we endeavour to ensure that they have appropriate training, policies and procedures to foster a Zero Tolerance environment and enable them to respond effectively to incidents of sexual harassment, discrimination or violence. This includes but is not limited to; pubs, clubs, bars and promotion companies that host Union-affiliated events and any contracted security staff working at our events.
In order to implement the Policy, Union members and staff at the Union are supported in understanding the issues in order to raise awareness about them and to respond sensitively to disclosures of this nature. The Union will run a rolling annual programme of relevant training for all frontline staff and commercial outlet supervisors, who are most likely to be first responders. All trained staff are able to guide survivors through both the Union and the University discipline procedures, refer to appropriate services on and off campus, and respond appropriately. The first responder should help the student make an informed choice, and not make the choice for them. Additional relevant training will be provided to frontline staff as required, in particular to frontline staff working in areas where there are additional identified risk factors such as the sale and presence of alcohol.
We offer training to all of our Sports and Societies committee members in consent workshops annually at the Societies Conference and at Sports handover meetings and provide them with information on how to sign their club or society members up to workshops in information packs and regularly throughout the year. The Union will provide a number of opportunities for students to learn more about sexual consent, and proactively publicise support for students who have experienced sexual harassment, discrimination or violence.
The Students’ Union have a Support and Advocacy team who can offer support in a number of ways, including acting as a first responder, and by providing advice, support and guidance through both the University and the Students’ Union’s disciplinary proceedings.
All frontline staff are trained as first responders in dealing with disclosures. Staff are able to signpost to both immediate and ongoing support within the University and the local community.
We endeavour to maintain strong links with services in the local community that support survivors of sexual and domestic violence.
The full time elected officers and Chief Executive will be responsible for monitoring the day-to-day implementation of the Policy.
The Policy will be annually reviewed to evaluate its effectiveness and passed to Council for approval.
This policy was approved by Students' Union Council on 7 November 2016.
For further information, contact the Welfare Officer - firstname.lastname@example.org
This is part of ongoing social policy work to better support victims of sexual harassment and violence.
Our campaign, I Heart Consent, aims to tackle myths, misunderstandings and problematic perspectives about rape, sexual consent and sexual harassment, and educate Sussex students on this issue.