This week is National Stalking Awareness week. To raise awareness, Impact’s Laura Scaife interviewed Claire Thompson (Associate Director of Student Wellbeing) to find out what support the university offers victims of stalking.
When you make a report “it is not a formal complaint”
If you believe you are being stalked or harassed by an individual, your first step is to fill out a Report and Support form online. Claire Thompson emphasised that when you make a report “it is not a formal complaint” but instead enables the safeguarding team to get in contact to discuss your next steps.
The safeguarding team will look at your report within 24 hours and contact you. They will provide you with all the options on how to proceed and make a recommendation on what course of action you could take.
However, you will not be pushed down any one route, instead they provide you with the information necessary for you to decide whether you would like to make a formal report. If you decide to make a formal report, the university’s response will differ depending on whether the perpetrator is a student at the university.
The University can respond very effectively
If it is a student committing the act of stalking or harassment, the University can respond very effectively. This is because the wellbeing team can set out boundaries for the perpetrator whilst the incident is being investigated. This will prevent contact between the victim and the stalker as “violating these boundaries is a clear breach of the Code of Discipline”.
Once you have made an official report it will be investigated by the investigations team which is run by ex-police officers with specialised training. They will review the victim’s case and decide what actions need to be taken. In serious cases, the perpetrator will appear before the Senate and can even be expelled from the University for breaching the Code of Discipline.
If the perpetrator is not a university student, the university may be more limited in the support they can offer. This is because the University does not have authority to set boundaries preventing contact between the victim and perpetrator when the latter is not affiliated with the university.
However, the university reserves the right to ban a member of the public from campus, and the victim will be given a number to call to alert the security officers if the perpetrator breaches this ban.
The university “have a good relationship with the police and have found them to be responsive in the past”
The Wellbeing team will support you in reaching a decision on whether to report the perpetrator to the police and support you through the legal process. If you choose to contact the police, the security team have close connections with Nottinghamshire police and a local BEAT officer will talk you through your options.
The university “have a good relationship with the police and have found them to be responsive in the past”. Furthermore, the University can also support you even if the stalking and harassment is taking place off campus.
They may be more limited in their options, but they will offer support and guidance for your next steps. The university will also offer you emotional support. They will refer you to the support and wellbeing services and the stalking helplines to ensure you get support for what has happened to you.
So, if you are experiencing stalking or harassment at the university, please do not hesitate to fill out the Report and Support form. It does not mean you must file an official report but means you can receive support when planning your next steps. University should be a safe and welcoming space for us all.
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