Harassment Advisor Network

It may be that you have recently experienced an incident of harassment for the first time and want advice on trying to prevent further incidents from occurring. Alternatively, you may have suffered a prolonged period of harassment in silence and feel as though you have finally reached breaking point. Whatever stage or circumstance, there are a number of people who are available to help you.

You may, in the first instance, want to discuss the matter in confidence with a friend or colleague who is familiar with the setting in which you work or study. If you are a member of staff, you may want to discuss the matter with your Head of Department, departmental administrator, immediate supervisor, or trade union representative. If you are a student, you may want to discuss the matter with your college dean, or another college officer with pastoral responsibilities. At a common room level, the Welfare or Equal Opportunities Officer may be a good person to talk to. OUSU’s Student Advice Service also provides a confidential and impartial listening and advice service. Alternatively the University has a professionally staffed confidential Student Counselling Service for assistance with personal, emotional, social and academic problems.

You may, however, prefer to make use of the University’s confidential harassment advisor network. There are approximately 370 harassment advisors within the University, with two (one of either sex) appointed within each department and faculty. Details of the harassment advisors are posted on departmental and faculty office notice boards. There are also confidential advisors appointed within the colleges.

The University recommends that you discuss the situation with a harassment advisor before taking any other steps in response to the alleged harassment. Talking through the events and your feelings with the advisor will help you decide on the best way to deal with the behaviour and will clarify the options available to you.

I would like to speak to a Harassment Advisor outside of my college / department.

If you would prefer to speak with an advisor entirely unconnected with your department, faculty, or college; the Harassment Line can find an alternative advisor for you.

What can the Harassment Advisor do?

  • Listen to staff and students who believe they are being harassed, to clarify the options open to them and to assist them in resolving the matter informally where possible
  • and provide similar support to those accused of harassment.
  • Where requested, support individuals throughout the resolution of their concerns.This may include discussing with the individual what they may wish to say or write to the person who they feel has harassed or bullied them or to a senior member of staff who can take action. The aim is to empower and support the individual.
  • Deal with all cases with the utmost confidentiality except in cases where there is an unacceptable risk to a member of staff, student or to the institution.

The Harassment Advisor cannot:

  • Make statements to the effect that particular behaviour definitely constitutes harassment that will lead to disciplinary action or to the  effect that a particular behaviour is NOT harassment, 
  • approach the alleged harasser in an attempt to mediate or resolve the matter for you;
  • act as your representative or advocate; or
  • be involved in any formal stage of the process, be it in writing the formal complaint, the investigation, disciplinary or grievance procedures, except by way of giving you the support you need during this time.

I have experienced sexual violence and I would like to speak to Harassment Advisor.

A core group of Harassment Advisors have attended training with the Oxford Sexual Abuse & Rape Crisis Centre on supporting survivors of sexual violence. Please contact any of the following Advisors to arrange a meeting:

I would like to speak to someone about domestic / relationship abuse.

Three Harassment Advisors have completed the Oxford City and County Council Champion training:

The Champion is seen as the lead for domestic abuse issues within their agency or unit and acts as the contact in and out of that unit/agency. They will be able to advise their colleagues on management of individual cases and ensure that they are aware of and have access to local resources and support. For more information on the Champions programme and the local Domestic Abuse helpline, Reducing the Risk, visit: www.reducingtherisk.org.uk

The two Student Advisors in the Student Advice Service are also trained champions:

I would like to speak to a Harassment Advisor who is BME (Black Minority Ethnic).

We have two Harassment Advisors who identify themselves as BME:

I would like to speak to a Harassment Advisor who is LGB (Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual).

We have six who can be contacted direct: