If you think this has nothing to do with you – think again
Every one of us has the right to study or work freely in an environment in which our dignity and privacy are respected.
By saying no to harassment we are protecting that basic right.
What is harassment?
When we talk about harassment it covers any form of attention based on gender, sexual orientation, nationality, colour, ethnic group, disability or other difference which is
Such attention can be verbal, visual or physical and includes:
- comments, jokes or abuse
- circulation of offensive images or literature
- offensive e-mail or telephone messages
- physical contact, including assault
- requests for sexual favours
- intrusive behaviour
It makes the recipient feel
and they want it to stop.
Defining harassment is very difficult. Basically it is how an individual feels that matters. If some form of attention feels uncomfortable, it may be harassment and it should stop.
Who is most likely to be harassed?
Here are some common assumptions:
- that it is older men who harass younger women; that these women are in junior positions, and are physically attractive
- that it is usually young white men who harass young black men.
In fact harassment can and does occur regardless of disability, colour or ethnic background, age or status, sex or sexual orientation, but is usually about power.
What each of us can do
There is something very positive you can do about it. You can help to make the University a place free of harassment.
- the language you use
- your behaviour
- your assumptions
Treat harassment as a serious matter.
- Challenge unacceptable practices or behaviour in others.
- Support anyone who is being harassed, e.g. draw attention to the Harassment Network.
If you think you are being harassed, you can
- firstly, ask the harasser to stop.
- if you don't feel comfortable doing this alone, seek the help of someone else – a friend or colleague, your Head of Department, a trade union representative, HR staff or your personal tutor, depending on whether you are a student or member of staff.
- talk to a member of the Harassment Network; their details and contact numbers are overleaf. This is a group of people trained specifically to provide initial help and support in such situations. You can approach any of them in confidence, just for a chat or to discuss your situation. They can help you to explore what action you can take.
- if the situation you are in is already serious, use the University's formal procedures to take action against someone who is harassing you. You can get help to do this from your Head of Department, trade union representative, Human Resources staff, Students Union or personal tutor, depending on whether you are a student or member of staff. You can also get information about the procedures at this website – www.lancs.ac.uk/users/equalopp/harpol.htm where there are guidelines for students and staff.
Perhaps, though, you don't want to take formal action. That's OK. You will not be persuaded or forced into action against your will. Perhaps something is bothering you but you are not sure if it is harassment. It doesn't matter – anyone on the Harassment Network will be happy to talk it through with you.
What is the Harassment Network?
The Network consists of women and men drawn from across the University, engaged in different types of work. They have a wide range of expertise and personal experience.They are all trained in dealing with cases of harassment. You can be sure of a sympathetic and constructive reception. You are free to speak to any of the people listed, regardless of department or position, and no matter what your problem. They will help you to explore what action you can take. (Please remember though, if your situation is already serious, you should go straight to one of the other support staff or agencies listed here.)
Will anyone else know?
The network has strict rules of confidentiality. These will be explained to you when you first make contact.
You can also contact the network at HarassNet@lancaster.ac.uk
For further information
For further information or if you would like to comment on this webpage or any other aspects of the harassment policy, please contact the Network Co-ordinator, Rob Kemp (Ext. 92810)
Harassment Network Members
|Tracy Hargreaves||94970||Lonsdale College|
|Ann-Marie Houghton||92907||Educational Research|
|Juli Shorrock||92296||Lonsdale College|
Help us to help you...
Get help with your problem early on – that's when it's easiest to deal with. Don't feel your problem is too small or that you have to manage on your own – make use of the staff and services mentioned in this leaflet. They'll be happy to help.