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Durham University

Sexual Violence & Misconduct: Prevention and Response

Policy & Procedure

Sexual misconduct and violence is defined as any unwanted conduct of a sexual nature. It is an umbrella term used to represent a range of related behaviours which can include, but is not limited to, rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, ‘revenge porn’ or image-based sexual abuse, domestic abuse, stalking, and coercive and controlling behaviour. It does not necessarily have to occur in person (e.g. this can occur online), and is characterised by an absence of consent.

We define consent as an agreement to engage in a sexual act. For consent to exist, you must have the freedom and capacity to make your own decisions. This can be inhibited by consuming drugs or alcohol, or if consent is only given as a result of force or coercion. It cannot be assumed to exist, and it may be withdrawn at any time.

At Durham University, we recognise that incidents of sexual misconduct and violence can happen within our community. That is why we are committed to promoting a consent culture where consent is normalised and in which those who are involved in an incident of sexual misconduct are given the support and information that they need in order to move forward. We thoroughly address all incidents of sexual misconduct, to ensure that we preserve a safe environment for our students and staff to work and study.

Please click on the links below to access the full policy and procedure documents.

  • Sexual Misconduct and Violence Policy

    • This policy applies to all students and staff and sits above the related procedures listed below.

  • Procedure for Students

    • This procedure relates specifically to those experiences which have occurred during the course of study or work at the University, in which the Responding Party is a current student of the University.

    • Any individual who discloses an incident of bullying, harassment or sexual misconduct and violence will not be subject to disciplinary action by the University if they have engaged in behaviour in violation of the social distancing and public health measures taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic at the time of the incident or events leading up to the incident.

Please see the Related links box for additional resources.