Hear about harassment advisers on campus.

Published Thursday, 15th November, 2018 in University news

This week, the Anti-Bullying Alliance is asking us to ‘Choose Respect’ for Anti-Bullying Week. The theme is designed to highlight that bullying is a behaviour choice. Unfortunately, bullying and harassment does sometimes occur on campus. We spoke to one of the Harassment Advisers, Shereen Sally, Deputy Head of Student Experience and Engagement, about the support she and the team can offer if you experience bullying. Here she tells us more about her role and shares her thoughts on Anti-Bullying Week:

How was the Harassment Adviser Scheme set up?

In survey results it was identified that by previous students that an informal way for people to get advice and share their experiences of bullying was needed.

What made you want to volunteer to be a Harassment Adviser?

I wanted to be able to support students who may be going through a difficult time.

How did you prepare for the role and what is involved?

We had specialised training consisting of ‘Dignity at work’ and ‘Mediation.’ We work in a confidential manner so we also had training about etiquette, safeguarding and note-taking. The role requires us to be understanding, non-judgemental and neutral. While sometimes we are the first point of call for someone who is opening up about difficult and sensitive issues, our job is mainly to signpost and make people aware of the policies, procedures and processes in place with regards to bullying and harassment.

Why do you think Anti-Bullying Week is important?

Bullying can happen to anyone regardless of where they are from, who they are and even how old they are. There is a misconception that bullying happens at school, however it can just as easily happen in adulthood. I think Anti-Bullying Week is important to raise awareness and make sure people know where to go for support. It’s also important to recognise and feel comfortable to call out any bad behaviour, even if we are not the ones being directly affected. Looking out for each other is a responsibility for all of us as we are all part of the City community.

Why would you encourage students who feel they might have experienced harassment to speak to an HA?

Sometimes it is helpful just to have a sounding board. Speaking to a Harassment Advisor is free and confidential so you have nothing to lose. It may be helpful to know that you are supported and find out all the options available to help you through a difficult time or situation.

What other support services are you aware of at City for students?

There are a number of other support services available if you are being bullied or harassed. You can go to your personal tutor, course officer, the Student Counselling and Mental Health service or the Union Support Service in the Students’ Union.

Anti-Bullying week runs from 12th – 16th November. Keep an eye out for the sports teams wearing odd socks in to support the campaign on Wednesday 14th November.

Over the past six months the Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Working Group has been looking at how City’s policies and support in these areas can be improved for both staff and students and will share their recommendations soon.