Sexual harassment is defined as 'any unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature that you find offensive, or which makes you feel distressed, intimidated or humiliated'. Even if the person didn’t feel offended, distressed, intimidated, or humiliated, if this was the intention of the person carrying out the behaviour, it can still be classed as sexual harassment. Sexual harassment may include:
  • sexually degrading comments/gestures.
  • staring or leering at a person’s body.
  • sexual jokes or propositions.
  • messages with sexual content.
  • unwelcome sexual advances or physical touching.
  • intrusive questions about a person’s sex life.
  • the display of sexually explicit pictures in a shared space, such as at work.
Those who have experienced sexual harassment are often told that they are being 'too sensitive or 'can’t take a joke'. Sexual harassment is never funny and should not be happening.

If the above sounds like the experience of somebody you know, you may feel powerless about what to do but there are simple things you can do to support them: 
  • Listen. Showing somebody that you believe them and that you care can be very important, you may be the first person they have told about what has happened. Don’t push the person for further details, they may not want to tell you everything that happened. 
  • Give them options. The person has taken a big step in speaking to you about their experience, this is the first step and may not mean that they are ready to take further action such as reporting the incident yet. You can be supportive by providing them with information around their options, so that they know where to go if they choose to seek further help in the future. 

University support services for students

Report and Support is a disclosure site, which allow students to inform the University of incidents including sexual harassment. Students and staff can report anonymously, or can request to speak to an advisor who is a trained Sexual Violence Liaison Officer to discuss their disclosure and options, this will be in line with University's privacy statement and does not instigate the start of formal complaint. Our Counselling, Mental Health, and Wellbeing Service is also available if a student needs support with their mental health or wellbeing. 

External Support

Sexual harassment is a form of unlawful discrimination under the Equality Act 2010, and certain forms of sexual harassment are crimes such as stalking, indecent exposure, 'upskirting', and any sexual harassment involving physical contact. Other forms of sexual harassment can also be a crime, dependent on the situation. For example, if someone experiences sexual harassment on more than one occasion that is intended to cause them alarm or distress, this could be the crime of harassment. This link explains how Greater Manchester Police can support somebody; it is very important that this is the choice of the person experiencing the harassment. 

If the person does not want to speak to the Police at the moment, they can still access support:

Greater Manchester Rape Crisis can support you via their helpline, their Independent Sexual Violence Advisor service, and counselling. 

Survivors Manchester support male victims of sexual abuse/harassment through 1-2-1 support, group support, and online support. 

If the person needs help with your mental health, SHOUT provides text-based crisis support. Text SHOUT to 85258. You can also call the Greater Manchester NHS Mental Health Helpline available 24/7 on 0800 953 0285. 
If the person chooses to disclose sexual harassment via Report and Support to speak to an advisor, they will be able to explore further signposting relevant to them and their identity. 

There are two ways you can tell us what happened