Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Enabling ServicesPart of Student Services

Bullying and abuse

Bullying, abuse and harassment can be very damaging to anyone's confidence, and especially at university where as a student you may feel less powerful than members of staff.

The University of Southampton does not tolerate breaches of its codes.

Bullying or abuse

Bullying or abuse is offensive behaviour which violates a person's dignity in an aggressive or subtle way. It is any behaviour which makes the recipient feel upset, threatened, humiliated or vulnerable and undermines their self-confidence.

Examples of bullying:

  • Preventing an individual progressing by unjustifiably restricting choice of study options or access to tuition, or intentionally blocking promotion or training opportunities.
  • Psychological intimidation, humiliation, excessive and/or unreasonable criticism or fault-finding of a colleague or peer.
  • Unfair allocation of work and responsibilities or setting unreasonable goals or targets in work or study, including both above and beneath reasonable expectations.
  • Asserting a position of intellectual superiority in an aggressive, abusive or offensive manner whether orally or in writing, publicly or in private.


Harassment encompasses many different types of physical, verbal and non-verbal conduct. It can occur as an isolated incident, many sporadic incidents, or on-going behaviour. Harassment that is related to a person's or group of people's age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation can constitute unlawful discrimination, for which staff and students can be held legally and personally liable.

Examples of harassment:

  • Behaviour that is unwanted and unwelcome.
  • Behaviour that subjects a person or group of people to intimidation, humiliation, ridicule, offence, loss of privacy or dignity, or creates an environment which is hostile, intimidating or offensive to that person or group of people.
  • Behaviour that is unwarranted by the working, study or social relationship between those involved and would be regarded as such by any similarly situated reasonable person.

If you are or suspect you may be having difficulties associated with bullying, abuse or harassment, please contact Enabling Services or visit the daily drop in for an informal chat with an advisor.

Harassment contacts

The University has a team of trained harassment contacts. They provide a confidential service to students who feel bullied or harassed, and they also support those who have been accused of harassment. You can find out more about the service and how to get in touch on the Harassment Contacts website.

Mediation service

The University also provides a free and confidential Mediation Service, which offers an opportunity to try to resolve any conflict between parties who may work, study or live together - it could be student/student or student/staff. This is as a voluntary process, so both parties must agree to take part.

Mediation allows you to have difficult conversations within a safe environment and a trained impartial mediator will be there to help each side listen to the other. They will also support you as you identify areas of commonality and difference. You can find out more on the mediation website.

Students' Union Advice Centre

If you need advice and support that is independent from the University you can contact the Advice Centre, which is a service available to all students and is provided by the Southampton University Students' Union (SUSU).

Formal complaints

The University Dignity at Work and Study policy gives further guidance on the procedures required to lodge a formal complaint and has information on University Disciplinary procedures.

Student Life

Student Life are available to all University of Southampton students 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Tel: +44(0)23 8059 8180



A student-run listening service available 8pm to 8am during term time.

Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5236 

First Support

Student crisis team that helps students access longer-term support.

Tel: +44(0)23 8059 7488



Emotional support available 24 hours a day.

Tel: 08457 90 90 90



If you need an emergency response, call Hampshire Constabulary on 999. If you want to talk about how the police may be able to help call 101.

Victim Support

National charity giving free and confidential help to victims of crime, whether or not the crime has been reported and regardless of when it happened.

Tel: 0845 30 30 900 


Community Safety

Southampton City Council, One Guildhall Square Southampton, SO14 7FP

Tel: +44(0)23 8083 4114


Out of hours

Support is available to help with extreme crises. Please contact the Central Control Room.

Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 2811

Mediation Service

Tel: +44(0)23 8059 7098


SUSU Advice Centre

Tel: +44(0)23 8059 2085


Privacy Settings