C7: Harassment & Sexual Misconduct Policy

ORMS is dedicated to creating and maintaining a safe, welcoming, inclusive and diverse learning environment which provides for a culture of mutual respect and consideration, allowing students and staff to thrive without fear of sexual violence, abuse, coercive behaviours or related misconduct.

The procedure for handling student cases of harassment and sexual misconduct is different to other procedures as it gives more control to the complainant, the involvement of students is not included on their student record and no penalties can be forced upon the respondent student.

Reporting procedures for students include a complaints procedure where students can request that another student’s behaviour is investigated without formal action being taken; and the full disciplinary procedure.

Definition:

ORMS defines harassment as single or repeated incidents involving unwanted or unwarranted conduct towards another person which it is reasonable to think would have the effect of violating that person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment for that person.

Harassment may be verbal, psychological, or physical, in person or via a virtual platform, or through other methods of contact. Harassment may occur in the course of an academic, sporting, social, cultural, or other activity either within Outreach’s premises or grounds, or elsewhere in the context of a person’s membership of ORMS, or in circumstances where the victim of the harassment is a member of staff, director, or associate member of faculty (e.g. Practice Educator) of ORMS.

Under this policy unacceptable behaviour, whether intentional or not, can take a variety of different forms. The following descriptions are not exhaustive, but give an indication of the types of behaviour which ORMS considers to be unacceptable:

  • making sexually offensive comments about dress or appearance, the display or distribution of sexually explicit material, or demands for sexual favours;
  • engaging in harassment on the grounds of a person’s sexuality (or assumptions about a person’s sexuality) including making derogatory homophobic, transphobic, or biphobic remarks or jokes aimed at a particular person, offensive comments relating to a person’s sexuality, refusal to acknowledge a person’s gender or identity, or threats to disclose a person’s sexuality to others;
  • making offensive references to a person’s race, ethnicity, skin colour, religion or nationality, dress, culture, background or customs which have the effect of ridiculing or undermining an individual or fostering hatred and/or prejudice towards individuals or particular groups;
  • ignoring, disparaging, or ridiculing a person because of mistaken assumptions about their capabilities, or making offensive reference to an individual’s appearance, in the context of their disability;
  • controlling or coercive behaviour, such as pressure to subscribe to a particular political or religious belief.

Online harassment may take the form of intimidating, offensive, or graphic posts on social media sites or chat rooms, or communications by email, text, or instant messaging.

Sexual misconduct includes the following, whether or not within a sexual or romantic relationship, including where consent to some form of sexual activity has been given and then withdrawn, or if consent has been given on previous occasions:

  • sexual intercourse or engaging in a sexual act without consent;
  • attempting to engage in sexual intercourse or engaging in a sexual act without consent;
  • sharing private sexual materials of another person without consent;
  • kissing without consent;
  • touching inappropriately through clothes without consent;
  • inappropriately showing sexual organs to another person;
  • repeatedly following another person without good reason;
  • making unwanted remarks of a sexual nature.

Dealing with low-level harassment yourself

If you would like to speak to someone about their behaviour you are advised to seek support on a confidential basis from your Tutor or another staff member.  Because of the possibility of counter-accusation or recrimination, you should alert a supporting person to the problem before you approach the person concerned, even if you feel able to take this course of action on your own.

If you do approach the person yourself:

  • try to describe the behaviour very precisely, where and when it happened;
  • make it clear how you feel about what has happened and describe the effect it is having on you;
  • say what you want to happen going forward.

Even if you are able to resolve the situation yourself, you should tell your Tutor or one of the administrators at ORMS about the person whose behaviour you have complained about, so that they are aware of the circumstances. You could ask the Academic Tutor or your Practice Educator to do this for you.

If an attempt at alternative resolution has not had or would not have the desired effect, if you feel that this approach would be inappropriate, or the harassment has been too severe for this to be appropriate, then you can report the behaviour to ORMS.

Reporting Student Harassment and Sexual Misconduct

As a student, you can report another student to ORMS.  If your report relates to either sexual misconduct or harassment, we can use either the Disciplinary process, or the C1b: Sexual Harassment and Misconduct procedures.