Harassment is defined in the Equality Act 2010 as “unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, (which are sex, gender reassignment, race (which includes colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins), disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief and age), that:

  • has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual; or
  • is reasonably considered by that person to have the effect of violating his/her dignity or of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for him / her, even if this was not intended by the person responsible for the conduct.

This means that harassment is defined by its impact on the complainant and not simply by the intention of the harasser. Conduct may be harassment whether or not the person behaving in that way intends to offend. Something intended as a ‘joke’ may offend another person.

Examples of harassment include but are not limited to:

  • verbal harassment - remarks or innuendos which ridicule; embarrassing or insulting jokes of a derogatory nature; malicious gossip; offensive songs
  • non-verbal harassment – wolf-whistles; obscene gestures; sexually suggestive posters/calendars/screensavers; offensive letters or emails; text messages; social media posts
  • physical harassment – touching, patting, pinching or brushing against another employee’s body; intimidating behaviour
  • coercion – pressure to participate in political, religious or trade union groups
  • isolation or non-cooperation and exclusion from social activities
  • intrusion – stalking, pestering, spying etc.

What to do if you think you're being/have been harassed

Royal Holloway Students’ Union takes all harassment claims incredibly seriously. Incidents of harassment on or off campus may be reported to the college, or you are more than welcome to report the complaint to the Students’ Union directly.

You can read the college’s proceedings and advice on their website here. Please note that if you wish to contact the Vice President Welfare and Diversity, then please do so by emailing

If the incident has occurred on an SU Club Night, you may report the incident immediately to the security team attending the night who will deal with the situation appropriately. If the issue is not resolved, or you would like to pursue the issue further, please contact the Students’ Union where a complaint can be forwarded to the President and the situation can be escalated as appropriate.

If you believe that a crime is being/has been committed, you may report the incident to Surrey police by phoning 101.


The Students’ Union offers free support via our Advice Centre. Appointments with one of our advisors may be booked via email or over the phone, and are guaranteed to ensure confidentiality. Alternatively, the college offers their own student counselling service, which is also bookable and confidential.



Student Voice


VP Welfare and Diversity

SU Advice Centre

Student Counselling Service

Police Reporting

  • T: 101