Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

What incidents can I tell ARU about?

You can tell us about any of the following behaviours.

Bullying is offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour involving the misuse of power, position or knowledge. Bullying is intentional and can make a person feel humiliated, threatened, undermined and vulnerable. Victims may not always recognise what is happening and so may feel trapped, isolated or powerless.

Bullying tends to happen persistently, often without witnesses, over time. It can involve one individual against another or involve groups of people. Bullying can take the form of physical, verbal, and non-verbal conduct and so can include social media communications, telephone communications, filming or taking pictures of people and/or using these without their knowledge or consent.

This is not an exhaustive list, but examples of bullying may include:

  • being shouted at, being sarcastic towards, ridiculing or demeaning others
  • deliberately excluding or ignoring an individual
  • physical or psychological threats
  • unfair or excessive supervision or monitoring
  • unfair blaming for mistakes or unwarranted fault finding
  • singling out or treating an individual unfairly.

Harassment is unwanted behaviour which violates a person’s dignity, or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.

Harassment is often persistent, although a single incident may be serious enough to constitute it. Harassment can be deliberate or unintentional, however the effect on the victim is the main factor to be considered in claims of harassment, not the intention behind it.

Harassment can take the form of physical, verbal and non-verbal conduct and so can include social media communications, telephone communications, filming or taking pictures of people and/or using these without their knowledge or consent.

This is not an exhaustive list, but examples of harassment may include:

  • unwanted physical conduct or ‘horseplay’ including touching pinching, pushing, grabbing, brushing past someone, invading their personal space and more serious forms of physical or sexual assault
  • offensive or intimidating comments or gestures, or insensitive jokes or pranks
  • mocking, mimicking, or belittling a person’s disability
  • racist, sexist, homophobic or ageist jokes, or derogatory or stereotypical remarks about an ethnic or religious group or sex
  • outing or threatening to out someone as gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans
  • ignoring or shunning someone, for example, by deliberately excluding them from a conversation or a social activity.

Sexual violence is engaging or attempting to engage in a sexual act without consent. You can read more about this in our Rules, Regulations and Procedures for Students.

We believe that all members of our community have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. And we continue to reflect on what more we can do to challenge and eradicate sexual violence and harassment.

What is consent?

Consent is agreeing by choice and having the freedom and capacity to make that choice. Capacity is based on the person: being the right age, being sober, having the mental and physical ability to agree freely, not being threatened or afraid of harm and not being detained against their will. Consent should not be presumed from a previous sexual encounter but should be sought at every stage.

Something has happened to me

If you been subjected to sexual violence, you can attend your nearest Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC). A SARC can guide you through and carry out forensic medical examinations (if the incident was within the last 7 days) and can signpost you to support, counselling and crisis/ongoing support.

Use the NHS service search tool to find your local SARC*

*You do not have to report the incident to the police to access this service.

You can also access support from our Student Sexual Violence Advocacy (SSVA) service. The SSVA is here to listen to you, believe you and offer you support and advocacy.

Domestic abuse is patterned, repeated behaviour intended to assert power and control, by a partner, ex-partner or family member.

Anyone can experience domestic abuse regardless of race, ethnic or religious group, sexuality, class, or disability, but some women who experience other forms of oppression and discrimination may face further barriers to disclosing abuse and finding help.

Women are more likely than men to experience multiple incidents of abuse, different types of domestic abuse (intimate partner violence, sexual assault and stalking) and in particular sexual violence.

Examples of domestic abuse:

  • coercive control (a pattern of intimidation, degradation, isolation and control with the use or threat of physical or sexual violence)
  • psychological and/or emotional abuse
  • physical abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • financial abuse
  • harassment
  • stalking
  • online or digital abuse
  • forced marriage
  • female genital mutilation
  • ‘honour crimes’.

Discrimination looks different for different people and can make you feel excluded or ‘other’.

Unlawful discrimination is when an individual or group of people is treated less favourably than others based on their age, disability, gender, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership (in employment), pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief or sexual orientation. You should be protected from discrimination when you are:

  • at work
  • in education
  • as a consumer
  • when using public services
  • when buying or renting property
  • as a member or guest of a private club or association.

You’re legally protected from discrimination by the Equality Act 2010.

Types of discrimination

Direct discrimination occurs when someone is treated less favourably than another person because of a protected characteristic they have or are thought to have, or because they associate with someone who has a protected characteristic.

Indirect discrimination can happen when there is a condition, rule, policy or practice that applies to everyone but particularly disadvantages people who share a specific protected characteristic. However, it isn’t classed as indirect discrimination if it can be shown that the condition, rule, policy or practice is reasonable.

Hate incidents are acts of hostility or violence motivated by prejudice based on disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. When hate incidents break the law, they are known as hate crimes.

Examples of hate crime:

  • assault
  • criminal damage
  • hate mail
  • sexual assault
  • theft.

Examples of hate incidents:

  • abusive phone calls
  • graffiti
  • abuse through social media
  • intimidation
  • threats of violence and verbal abuse.

The term spiking refers to putting a substance (usually drugs or alcohol) into someone’s drink or causing it to enter their body, without their knowledge and/or their consent. Spiking can take various forms, but the most common form of spiking is adding extra alcohol into someone’s drink.

Spiking is a serious crime, and there is never an excuse for it. It is extremely scary and distressing for victims/survivors and it can also lead to serious and dangerous consequences. Spiking with intent to cause further harm, such as sexual violence is an even more serious offence. Regardless of the intent, spiking someone else can carry criminal charges.

All our students should have the right to be able to have a good time, free from worries about spiking. If you have been spiked, it is not your fault. We understand and acknowledge that it is not easy to talk about, and there are many reasons why you may not feel able to share what happened to you.

Support is available for you from ARU if you would like it, or you can tell us about your experience anonymously. Visit our Harrassment support at ARU page for details.

You can access support from the Student Sexual Violence Advocacy (SSVA) service. Find out more about Sexual Violence Support - ARU.

You can also formally report spiking to ARU here: Making complaints and reporting concerns.

If you would like further information about spiking, from the potential impacts to how to seek immediate support, there are lots of different resources available: