Newnham College is committed to maintaining an environment for study, work and living which is free from harassment and sexual misconduct of any kind.
This page explains what to do if you, or someone you know, has been sexually harassed or assaulted. This advice is for all members of Newnham College – JCR, MCR, staff and Senior Members.
- What is sexual harassment?
- If you have been sexually harassed or assaulted
- Harassment Advisers and other sources of support
- Emotional support
- Reporting sexual harassment formally
- Anonymous reporting and informal procedures
- Reporting to the police
- Reporting procedures: an overview
- More information and guidance
Sexual harassment is any form of unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, or with a sexual element. It is especially serious if continued after it has been made clear that the behaviour is unwanted. Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to: unwelcome comments, innuendo, gestures or contact; unwelcome display of body or images; stalking or following; and conduct verging on criminal sexual assault. Sexual harassment may be of individuals or groups, by individuals or groups or by incitement of others.
Sexual harassment is not your fault. Whatever your role within the University and College, you do not have to put up with harassment. No-one, whatever their role within the University or College, has the right to harass others.
If you have been sexually harassed or assaulted, you can choose to
- talk to an adviser
- seek emotional support
- report harassment to the College and University
- report harassment anonymously
- report an assault to the police
It is your choice which of these you do. Talking to an adviser does not commit you to doing anything else.
All members of College, staff, students and Senior Members, can seek advice from
- our College Harassment Advisers:
Dr Kate Fleet, Graduate Tutor
Dr Barbara Blacklaws, Fellow and Director of Studies
Hugh Shilson-Thomas, Chaplain and Director of Studies
Anne Schumann, College Nurse
- the Senior Tutor, Prof Liba Taub
To contact the Harassment Advisers, please send an email indicating that you would like to have a discussion on a sensitive topic, and suggest some times that you could meet them. They will arrange an appropriate time and place to meet. (Our advisers have varied working hours, but are likely to be available during weekdays between 9 and 5. Contact details are on their profile pages, linked to above.)
Students can seek also advice from
- your own Tutor
- a welfare officer of the JCR or MCR
- the University’s Sexual Assault and Harassment Adviser
If you have witnessed sexual harassment, please report the incident to one of the above.
For 24 hour emergency support, please see the University’s Emergency Contacts information.
Counselling services are available whether or not you decide to report the harassment formally.
The College Counsellor and the University Counselling Service can provide emotional support if you have been sexually harassed or assaulted.
The University’s Sexual Assault & Harassment Advisor can provide specialist support for students.
Senior Members and staff may have access to specialist support via their union, if they are union members.
You can find more guidance on the Breaking the Silence website
If you choose to report sexual harassment, there are different processes depending on your role within the College (student, staff, Senior Member), and the harasser’s role (student, University staff, College staff).
The College Harassment Advisers will be able to explain the relevant process to you, help you with the report and, where appropriate, offer support during the process.
You may not know yourself whether the harasser is a student, a member of University staff, College staff or neither. This doesn’t matter: the Harassment Adviser can find out and advise you on the relevant process. The different processes are outlined below.
A student will never be disadvantaged for raising a complaint that they believe to be genuine. If you raise a complaint against a staff member, the University and College will ensure that you will not be assessed by or taught in a small group by that person. Again, the Harassment Advisers can talk to you about this.
Anyone can anonymously report any type of bullying, harassment or sexual misconduct to the University using the anonymous reporting tool. However, its purpose is to gather a broader picture of harassment at the University, not to address any specific incidents.
You can talk to a Harassment Adviser to get advice without needing to take it further.
If you are a student, you can speak to a JCR or MCR Welfare Officer informally. They will not be able to take formal action, but they will be able to signpost you to sources of support.
Sexual assault and rape are serious criminal offences. You can choose to report them to the police, who have the authority and resources to investigate. You can report a rape at any time, including many years after the event.
Cambridge Constabulary website has information on how to report sexual offenses and rape.
The University’s Sexual Assault and Harassment Adviser can provide students with emotional and practical advice following an assault.
If you report a matter to the police, you can still report a matter to the University or College. The University is able to take precautionary action whilst the police are conducting an investigation, which will prevent the other person from having any contact with you during the investigation.
This is an overview of the different processes that would be followed, depending on if the harasser was a student, or who they were employed by. This is intended to give you some context – the Harassment Adviser would guide you through this process.
i. Students reporting sexual harassment by a student
If you are a student who has been sexually harassed by a fellow student, the complaint will be dealt with by the University. The approach will be the same whether the student harassing you is at this or any other College.
You have two options about how to report the behaviour, depending on the outcome you would like to see. The Harassment Adviser can discuss these options with you.
You can follow the Procedure for Student Harassment & Sexual Misconduct, if you would like to limit your contact with the other student.
You can follow the University Student Disciplinary Procedure, if you would like the matter to be formally investigated, with the possibility of sanctions imposed on the student. You can read about these in more detail
ii. Students reporting sexual harassment by a University staff member
If you are a student who has been sexually harassed by a University staff member, the complaint will be dealt with by the University.
The Harassment Adviser will discuss the process with you.
At no point during the investigation will you be expected to be in the same room as the staff member. You will not need to attend any hearing. You will always be informed of the outcome of your complaint and any actions that directly affect you. Find out more about this
iii. Students reporting sexual harassment by a Newnham College staff member or Senior Member
If you are a student who has been sexually harassed by a Newnham College staff member or Senior Member, the complaint will be dealt with by the College following the relevant procedures.
This can be a formal or informal process, depending on the situation. The Harassment Adviser will discuss the options with you, and support and advise you during the process.
The processes are set out in the Staff Handbook and the Senior Member’s Handbook under ‘Dignity at Work’.
iv. Students reporting sexual harassment by a staff member or Senior Member of another College
If you are a student who has been sexually harassed by a member of staff or Senior Member of another College, the complaint will be dealt with by that College.
A Newnham Harassment Adviser can work with you to report the harassment to the appropriate person at that College, and to support and advise you during the process.
v. Staff and Senior Members of Newnham reporting harassment by other staff or Senior Members of Newnham
If you are a staff member or a Senior Member who has been harassed by another staff or Senior Member at Newnham, the complaint will be dealt with by the College, following the Dignity at Work procedures. These are set out in both the Staff Handbook and the Handbook for Senior Members. These are available via the Intranet.
You can choose whether to make a formal or an informal complaint. The Harassment Advisers can work with you to decide which you would prefer. You may also wish to talk to the HR Manager.
vi. Staff and Senior Members of Newnham reporting sexual harassment by students
If you are a staff member or a Senior Member who has been harassed by a student (either at this College or elsewhere), the Harassment Adviser will work with you to address the case following the student disciplinary procedures, and to support you while this is resolved. You may also wish to talk to the Senior Tutor.
vii. If you’ve been accused of harassment or sexual misconduct
If you’ve been accused of harassment or sexual misconduct, guidance and information about the procedure is available on the University website. For staff members and Senior Members, information is also available in the Staff Handbook and the Handbook for Senior Members.
Breaking the Silence is the University’s campaign against sexual harassment and misconduct.
The Office of Student Conduct, Complaints and Appeals (OSCCA) has a very helpful webpage, aimed at students, which explains the process of reporting harassment.
The University has a specialist Sexual Assault and Harassment Adviser who provides emotional and practical support to students who have been raped, sexually assaulted, or harassed, recently or in the past.