Understanding Sexual Assault & Misconduct

'Sexual assault’ is a term that covers a variety of offences. Any unwanted touch (such as groping or kissing) is covered by the phrase, as are very serious assaults such as rape.

According to the Revolt Sexual Violence at University report:

  • Groping and unwelcome/unnecessary touching in a sexual manner is the most commonly experienced form of sexual assault.
  • 39% of students that have been sexually assaulted or harassed were made to feel responsible for the incidents.
  • Only 6% of students reported the incident to police or their university.
  • Those that didn’t report sexual crimes to their university said it was because: they didn’t think it was serious enough (56%), they felt too ashamed (35%), they didn’t know how to make a report (29%).

Any incidents of assault and harassment are serious and are worthy of reporting. Remember, if it isn’t your choice, you haven’t given consent.

What is sexual misconduct?

The University’s student code of conduct defines sexual misconduct as any unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature that is committed without consent, by force, intimidation, or coercion. It includes rape, attempted rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, indecent exposure, image-based sexual abuse or so called “Revenge Porn”, and stalking. It includes online sexual misconduct, such a sextortion when someone threatens to share your private and sexual content online unless you meet their demands.

Reporting an incident

If you are in immediate risk, call for the emergency services on 999 or call the Live Fear Free Helpline 0808 8010 800.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault or harassment, there are many ways you can report it to the police.

You may prefer to report through the University. An incident, such as assault or harassment, is considered misconduct and is a breach of the Student Code of Conduct, that all students agree to when joining the University. To report an incident or seek support for managing how you feel as a result of what has happened, go to the USW Report + Support website.

Further support

Everyone responds differently to a non-consensual sexual experience, there is no right or wrong way to react. Healing and coping look differently for everyone but it’s never too late to seek support:

New Pathways

Live Fear Free Helpline – 0808 8010 800

Brook Consent Myths & Facts