If you need help in an emergency, please call 999 or if the emergency is on campus or in University accommodation, contact the University Security Services emergency number on 0113 343 2222 (available 24 hours a day). 
There are a range of words that are used to talk about behaviours that are intimidating, malicious and/or offensive.  Defining what we mean by these words can help to understand what is happening to you. These are for guidance and will not cover every possible behaviour or experience. There are informed by legal definitions which would be used if a report was made to the Police, as well as our university's Dignity and Mutual Respect Policy. If you don't feel that what you experienced is captured within the definitions below, don't worry. If you experienced or witnessed something that made you feel scared, sad, hurt or uncomfortable then it is valid. 


Bullying is the unwanted, aggressive behaviour or intentional hurting that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behaviour is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated.   It can happen face to face or online and includes verbal abuse, threats, insults, deliberately demeaning you (especially in front of others), spreading rumours, unfair work demands that are different to others and continuous insensitive jokes or comments.

Harassment is a pattern of unwanted behaviours that are, physical, verbal or non-verbal which may intentionally or unintentionally violate a person’s dignity or create an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment which interferes with an individual’s learning, working or social environment.  It can also include unwanted and excessive messages, gifts, threats of what may happen or promises of what could happen if you behaviour in a certain way.

Discrimination takes place when an individual or a group of people is treated less favourably than others based on one of the nine protected characteristics in the Equality Act (2010). These include age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; sexual orientation. You can experience direct or indirect discrimination.  The types of behaviour include discriminating if you have a mental health condition or family responsibilities.  You may feel you don't get the same opportunities, derogatory comments based on your characteristics or receiving less pay for doing the same job as colleagues.

Stalking is a pattern of repeated and unwanted behaviour that is used by a person to affect their victim. Every stalking situation is different.  It may include;  unwanted attention, contact, harassment, leaving frequent messages, unwanted gifts, turning up at places you are at and monitoring where you are and who you are with.   Stalking behaviours may be committed in person or by monitoring and harassing the victim electronically.

Blackmail (also known as extortion) is a criminal offence.  It is the action of demanding payment or another benefit from someone in return for not revealing compromising or damaging information about them.  This can include threats to share images of a sexual nature and threats to inform the university or others that you have accessed online sites including academic cheat sites.  You may be being blackmailed by someone you know or it could be anonymised.  

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