What is bullying and harassment and how do I get help

The University of Portsmouth is committed to providing a positive experience for all students and staff. We believe that bullying, harassment, assault and discrimination are never acceptable.

What is bullying?

Bullying is unwanted behaviour, which is intimidating, offensive or insulting. Anyone can be bullied, but it usually involves individuals or groups with more power, bullying someone with less. The person who is being bullied can feel humiliated, threatened or upset and it can become a pattern of behaviour. 

What is harassment?

Harassment is unwanted actions or behaviour by individuals or groups, which violates a person’s dignity and creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. Sexual harassment is when these actions or behaviours are sexual in nature.

Harassment against a person due to a protected characteristic is considered a hate crime. This means that the behaviour or actions are motivated by hostility towards age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership or pregnancy and maternity.

Immediate help

●      Are you in immediate danger? If you are in immediate danger or seriously injured call 999 (or 112 from a mobile).

●      Find a safe space. If an incident has just happened, try to find somewhere you feel safe. If you are at the University, you can call University Security on 3333 or 3418 or go to your nearest University building and ask someone to phone Security for you.


Support for students

●      Make sure you look at the UoP Dignity and Respect Policy

●      Make sure you look at the Student Conduct Policy 2023

●      You can use this Report and Support system to report your concerns

●      Speak with one of the following for advice and guidance:

o   Personal Tutor

o   Student Union Advice Service

o   Student Wellbeing Service

o   A member of the Residence Life Team/Residence Life Assistant

o   Student Housing

o   Harassment and Bullying Advisor

o   Equality and Diversity


●      The University offers a range of health and wellbeing support through the Student Wellbeing Service. details of the services available and to book an appointment can be found here

●      Have an informal conversation with the Student Complaints Team, complaintsadvice@port.ac.uk, 02392 84 3103/3110

●      Access the Student Advice Service, Sort It Out, which tries to resolve disputes between students informally.

●      Consider submitting extenuating circumstances if your studies have, or are being affected.

●      Ditch the Label. An online advice and support community for young people up to the age of 25 who have experienced bullying.



Support for staff members

●      Make sure you look at the UoP Dignity and Respect Policy

●      Talk to your line manager. Particularly if your work has been/is being affected. If it is your line managers behaviour that is affecting you talk to their line manager

●      Have an informal conversation with any of the following:

o   Harassment Advisor

o   Equality and Diversity

o   HR Employment Practice Team

o   Your Trade Union representative

●      IF the situation is affecting your wellbeing talk to your manager about a Management Occupational Health Referral

●      You may wish to access the Staff Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) service 


Other sources of support

●      National Bullying Helpline for practical support to anyone who is experiencing bullying. Call 0845 22 55 787, 9am - 5pm Monday to Friday.

●      Victim Support helps anyone who has been the victim of a crime. They can support you coping with the after-effects of crime and help with reporting to the police.

●       Citizens Advice Bureau for information regarding bullying and harassment at work.


Reporting for students and staff members

●      Report and Support. Staff and students can report an incident anonymously, or with contact details for support, using the University’s Report and Support system.

●      To the police. You can report a crime using the non-emergency number, 101.

●      Make a formal complaint using the University’s procedures laid out in the Dignity and Respect Policy