Sexual Violence - #NeverOK
The University and Bucks Students’ Union believe that everyone has the right to work, live and study in a safe and supportive environment that is free from harassment and fosters inclusivity and respect.
We are working to empower students to prevent, respond, support and speak up in cases of sexual harassment, assault and other forms of sexual violence.
What is sexual violence?
Sexual violence is an umbrella term covering: sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape and sexual abuse. It is defined as any unwanted sexual act or activity, involving physical contact, words spoken or written, or photographs, that takes place without the other person’s full and informed affirmative consent. Any type of Sexual violence, including rape and sexual harassment, are most commonly carried out by those known to the victim. Most often it is a partner, colleague, classmate, friend, family member, someone online or, least commonly, by a stranger.
Anyone can become a victim, no matter who they are, how old they are, their gender, their race, their sexual orientation, class, social standing, religion or background.
REMEMBER: if you have been a victim of any sort of sexual violence, including sexual harassment, It makes no difference where you were, what you were doing, what you were wearing, what you were saying, what your job is, if you were drunk or under the influence of drugs, if you invited someone in, if you appeared to ‘mislead them’- it’s #NeverOK. It was not your fault; you are not to blame, and you are not alone.
Getting support for sexual assault, whether current or historical, can be really daunting. At BNU, we realise it is very important for survivors of sexual violence to be given their own choices when deciding on support options.
If you think you have been sexually assaulted, it may be hard to know what to do or how to feel. Remember that what happened was not your fault. What you do next, however, is your choice.
Are you in immediate danger or do you need urgent medical care? If so, you can call 999.
Finding a safe space.
If possible, try and find somewhere you feel safe. If this isn't possible and you are on campus you can call security on 01494 605 070.
Speak to a friend. Talking things through with someone you trust can sometimes help.
If you're not sure whether you want to report to the police yet and the assault was recent, you might choose to go directly to the University’s nearest Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC). Here you can have a medical examination carried out and forensic evidence can be stored for a future date should you choose to report an attack. They will also offer you specialist support. It's good to take a friend or trusted person with you if you can.
If you live nearer to Aylesbury, please contact Bletchley Solace Centre, Sherwood Drive, Bletchley, Milton Keynes, MK3 6TP. You can contact either SARC by phone from 9am-4:30pm, Monday to Friday on Tel: 0300 130 3036.
If you’re off campus, you can find the nearest SARC here.
If you feel ready, contact email@example.com or call 01494 603063. We are here to listen to you, in confidence, and will help you access resources and make an informed decision about next steps - if and when you choose to. If you don’t want to inform the University, try to think about getting support from other organisations.
If you're thinking of reporting an incident to the police or going to the SARC, Rape Crisis have produced a useful list of things to think about, including preserving evidence.
The police will assign you a Specially Trained Officer (STO) who will support you, no matter who you are, or what happened, they’ll refer you to more help and crisis services if needed.
If you don’t want to report to the police, you can also report the incident anonymously by calling Crimestoppers at any point on 0800 555 111 or use their online form.
You are encouraged to report any incident to the University so that emotional support and practical help can be provided. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01494 602324.
Other support services include:
- Rape Crisis
- West London Rape Crisis Centre (female survivors only)
- Refuge – Provide Independent Sexual Violence Advocates (ISVA’s)
- The Survivors Trust
- BShaw Sexual Health Clinics
- Samaritans (Call free, in confidence, 24 hours a day on 116 123)
- Support for Men and/or LGBT+
- Survivors UK – (For those who have or currently identify as male or Trans)
- Galop – the LGBT+ anti-violence charity
- Man Kind
If someone discloses to you that they have experienced any form of sexual violence, believe and listen to them. Make sure you tell them it was not their fault and let them be in control of their decisions around reporting or getting support for the incident, whether it is current or historical.
If you are a staff member receiving a disclosure, you must alert email@example.com or call 01494 602324. All disclosures are treated with the utmost confidence.
The discloser doesn’t have to access external services if they contact the University, but we can help them with this should they decide to.
More advice is available on the #NeverOK Blackboard page - please click on the ‘report and support options’ link.
- If someone discloses an incident of sexual violence to you, please remember that this information is highly confidential. Only pass on information on a ‘need to know’ basis, and always with the person’s permission.
- If you are worried that they or others are at harm from the perpetrator or themselves, confidentiality can be breached as part of the University’s safeguarding policy. It is important to contact a member of staff such as your tutor or line manager. If you are concerned for an individual’s immediate safety or that of others, you should discuss this with them before any confidential information is disclosed to a third party. If you, or they, are in immediate danger contact the police on 999 or Security on 01494 505 070.
- Unnecessary disclosures to multiple parties could result in disciplinary action. Information may only be shared on a ‘need to know’ basis, with the consent of the survivor after explaining who you are telling and why, unless it is an emergency.