Bullying & Harassment

The terms ‘harassment’ or ‘bullying’ are often used to describe the same thing - behaviour which the recipient finds unacceptable, offensive or upsetting.  The behaviour is likely to result in an intimidating, hostile environment in which to study, live, work or enjoy a social life.  The term ‘harassment’ is used below.


• Harassment is behaviour which the recipient finds unacceptable, offensive or upsetting.


• Anyone can suffer from harassment.


• You may encounter harassment from any other person including fellow students, housemates, neighbours, work colleagues, members of University staff or landlords.


• A single incident or repeated incidents of unwelcome behaviour may constitute harassment.


• Even behaviour which was not intended to cause offence or distress can constitute harassment if the recipient is upset by it.


• Health, physical characteristics, personal beliefs, sexual orientation, gender and age are common harassment issues.


• Harassment can occur between people of the same or different gender, nationality, sexual orientation, age etc.


• Harassment can be verbal or non-verbal. ‘Cyber-bullying’ – via text, email and social networking sites is a more recent type of harassment.


• Cultural, language or attitude differences may mean that what is perceived as offensive behaviour or language by one person may not by another.



Talk to someone

Harassment can cause you to feel isolated or intimidated. It can be very useful to talk to someone about what is happening and how it is making you feel. This could be your personal tutor or Department Head, DMU Security, DSU Welfare adviser or friend /family member.


Tell the person who is harassing you how you feel

A useful first step could be to tell the person who is harassing you how you feel. Some people genuinely do not realise that their behaviour has caused offence or upset, and may stop if this is pointed out to them. Try to calmly and clearly explain why their behaviour is unacceptable to you, and ask that it stops. This could be done in person or by letter or email. Although you may feel nervous about tacking harassment so directly, it can be a positive experience if you manage to resolve the problem this way. It is not always possible to deal with harassment on your own. You may not feel comfortable contacting the person who is harassing you, or maybe they have responded negatively to your attempts. If so, it is important to consider other options.


Tell the University

If the person harassing you is a student or member of staff at this University you can ask the University to get involved in making it stop. The University has a harassment procedure to deal with reports of harassment.The policy applies to students and staff, and to harassment on and off University premises. In serious cases of harassment, the University can take disciplinary or fitness to practise action against the harasser. It is important to understand that the person accused of harassment will be informed of your allegations and given the opportunity to comment on them. http://www.dmu.ac.uk/dmu-staff/staff-resources/student-regulations.aspx


Tell the police

In serious cases it may be necessary to inform the police. Repeated (two or more) incidents of harassment may constitute a criminal offence, particularly if you are alarmed, distressed or feel at risk of violence. Harassment on grounds of race or sexual orientation may constitute a more serious criminal offence. A restraining order may be imposed on a person found guilty of harassment to stop the harassment continuing.


Seek an injunction

An injunction is a form of court order which prohibits the harasser from continuing their behaviour. You need to contact a solicitor to apply for an injunction. A solicitor can also advise you about court action to claim damages for suffering or losses caused by harassment. Speak to DSU Welfare for help in finding a solicitor.



If you are considering reporting harassment to the University or the police, it is useful to keep a diary of incidents. If you have any evidence, for example emails, text messages or voice-mails, take care to save these to assist whoever is dealing with your complaint.


Social media

Cyberbullying is when a person or a group of people use the internet or mobile phones to harass or bully someone else. Cyberbullying may not harm someone physically, but can cause long lasting psychological damage. Because of the prevalence of new technology, it can be very difficult for victims of cyberbullying to escape from it.



• Make a note of times and dates of abusive messages or postings and keep a copy in case you want to take action in the future.


• Change your username or ID.


• Change your password and make sure you don’t give it to anybody.


• Change your mobile phone number and only give it to people you can trust.


• Contact your mobile phone provider or ISP and report it to them.


• Block certain people from messaging or emailing you. If you can’t block an email address, you may be able to filter it straight to trash.


• Don’t respond to messages or emails. It is hard, but ignore them.


• If you are concerned about your safety, contact the police.



Forums and social networking sites will usually have an abuse team and you can report instances of bullying to them. You can also use any of the remedies suggested for other forms of harassment.


Remember the university has counselling and online resources that may help you cope. Here is a link to more information.





The University will follow the DMU disciplinary procedure contained in the General Regulations. If this is the case, there will be an investigation and a possible hearing to decide whether you are guilty of the allegation.


Depending on the type of course you are studying, the University may also follow the fitness to practice procedure. Please follow this link to find out more information on these procedures. Our disciplinary and fitness to practice information.


DSU Welfare can help support you through the process and represent you at any meetings or hearings. So please come and see us.


Need more help? Get advice and support from DSU Welfare