St Mary’s University is committed to providing a safe environment for students to live and study in and does not tolerate any form of behaviour that constitutes Sexual Assault or Harassment.
The University is committed to supporting any student who has been a victim of sexual assault or harassment, and to responding appropriately to any incident or report of sexual misconduct of our students or staff.
If you have been a victim of sexual assault or harassment you can expect the University to;
- Listen to you
- Treat you with respect
- Respect your confidentiality
- Ensure you are aware of your options
- Signpost you to internal and external support
Are you safe?
If you or others are in physical danger or in need of immediate medical attention, call the emergency services on 999.
If you are on campus, contact the emergency Security line 020 8240 4060 for immediate assistance and to ensure that the emergency services reach you quickly when they arrive.
Deciding what to do next
If the situation is not an emergency, you may want to take some time to think and decide what to do next.
If you would like more information about support that is available to you or your reporting options you can contact Student Services or us at SMSU.
Generally, there will be no pressure to formally report an incident to the University or to the Police in order to get advice or support. Any decisions made about what to do next will be respected.
You can report an incident to the Police by calling 101, by visiting your local police station or you can make a report online.
You can make a report to the Police or access support regardless of how long ago an incident happened.
Whilst what you do next is up to you, there are some time limits for evidence collection and medical treatment. You can visit the Havens, a Sexual Assault Referral Center so that forensic evidence can be collected. Evidence can be stored, while you decide your next steps. You can also visit the Havens or A&E for immediate medical attention.
You can also make an appointment to see your GP for advice, support or non- urgent medical attention.
Incidents involving another student or a member of staff as the alleged assailant can be reported to the University through the Student Complaints procedure to be dealt with under the student or staff disciplinary processes.
If you have recently been a victim of sexual violence, including serious sexual assault you should avoid food or drink. You should also avoid unnecessary physical contact with others and should try not to smoke, brush your teeth, go to the toilet, shower or change your clothes. This is to preserve any forensic evidence. Even if you have not yet decided whether to report the incident or not, evidence can be collected while you decide your next steps.
Sexual misconduct is considered by the University as Gross misconduct under the staff and student disciplinary procedures. You can make a report to the University whether you decide to report to the Police or not.
The University is not able to conduct criminal investigations and therefore is limited in scope. Where an incident is also being investigated by the Police, internal disciplinary proceedings may be deferred. Where appropriate this may include temporary suspension pending the outcome of a disciplinary. Outcomes can include; permanent suspension, change in timetable or accommodation arrangements.
Where appropriate, Student Services is also able to offer informal resolution. This is often appropriate where a student wants a particular behaviour to stop, limited interaction with another student or for an individual to be provided with education around areas such as sexual harassment, assault and consent. In these cases, there is no investigation or findings but we will attempt to work with all parties to deliver a mutually agreeable outcome.
As a matter of course, staff will not go against a students wishes and report an incident to the Police or other authority without the students consent. However, in certain circumstances where the University considers there to be a significant Safeguarding risk or where there is an immediate or significant risk to the student or others, we may need to report the matter to the relevant authority. Where this is the case, where possible it will always be done with your knowledge and consent.
Supporting a friend
If a friend confides in you, you should;
- In an emergency call 999
- Listen, let them tell you what happened in their own words. Do not investigate or question their account.
- Ask them what they want to do and don't pressure them to make a decision. They might not be ready to talk to anyone else
- Let them know what support is available
Student Services can support you by explaining the reporting options, assisting you with making a report to the police or with confidential counselling whether you want to report an incident or not. They can also help you to access external support.
Alternatively you wish to speak with us in the Students’ Union, or someone or in your school such as your personal tutor. You will be provided with initial support and signposted to relevant support service.
There are also lots of external support options and helplines available. A helpful list of contact details can be found on SIMMSpace – you can find it by clicking here.