Bullying & Harassment

Bullying & Harassment


Swansea University is committed to creating a working and learning environment which is free from harassment. It is expected that all members of the University, whether employees or students, will have an important role to play in creating and maintaining an environment in which all forms of harassment are considered to be unacceptable.

The University will regard any incident of harassment as a serious matter. Where an allegation of harassment has been substantiated, disciplinary action may be taken against the harasser, including dismissal or expulsion.

What is it all about?

What is Bullying?

Bullying is unwanted, repeated behaviour, which is intended to inflict emotional or physical harm. Bullying usually involves a real or perceived power imbalance.

Examples of bullying behaviour include:

  • Verbal bullying – name-calling, threats and taunting.
  • Excluding someone and spreading rumours.
  • Taking or breaking possessions.
  • Physical bullying – spitting, tripping and pushing. 
  • Cyber Bullying.

What is Harassment?

Harassment is behaviour which causes distress or alarm. It can be threatening in nature.

Examples of harassment behaviour include:

  • Unwanted communication such as phone calls, emails, messages, and visits
    online bullying.
  • Threats.
  • Being followed or turning up unexpectedly.


Harassment can also be targeted at an individual’s specific characteristics. Some of these characteristics are protected by law. Harassment targeted at these protected characteristics, can be a criminal offence.

Protected characteristics are:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

Practical advice & tips

How to Report It?

All students have the right to ask any member of the University, both students and staff, to stop behaving in a manner that is insulting, or offensive to them. It is understandable, however, that not everyone will feel confident enough to do this. There are some circumstances where this is inappropriate. Students can, (depending on the circumstances of each case) take action by using either the informal, and/or formal procedures outlined below.


In certain situations, it may be appropriate and useful to attempt a mediation to resolve a conflict situation. The Student Union provides a Mediation Service for students, and for staff.

SU Mediation is an impartial and confidential service open to all Swansea students. Mediators are trained to be neutral and non-judgemental. They listen to everyone's issues, clarify underlying feelings, and encourage a mutual understanding. 

It is not the role of mediators to advise on solutions. Instead, they support individuals to generate their own ideas and agreements to improve their working relationship for the future. You can access mediation at any time, no matter what the issues are, how you're feeling, or who the conflict is with. 

It may be that you simply wish to talk an issue through. They can help you deal with issues with housemates, problems with supervisors, or other peers.

Informal procedures

If a student thinks they are being harassed, they should keep a record of the incident(s) in order to recall what has been happening.

Stage 1:

In the first instance, the student being harassed should make it clear as soon as possible to the person causing offence, that their behaviour is unacceptable to them, if possible and appropriate to do so. A significant number of concerns can be resolved at this stage.

If the complainant feels unable to speak to the person causing offence, they could ask a sympathetic colleague/friend (who is a member of Swansea University), or a Students' Union representative, to go with them to speak to the person concerned, or to go in their place.

Where the complainant does not consider that it is appropriate, or possible for them to raise their concern with the alleged harasser, or their complaint remains unresolved thereafter, they should contact a harassment adviser (in accordance with Stage 2 below).

Stage 2:

The complainant can contact one of the University's trained Harassment Advisers, all of whom will be willing to discuss incidents, however large or small they seem. At this stage, they will listen sympathetically to the complainant’s problem, not making any judgements. Once the problem has been identified, the Harassment Adviser will be able to outline any appropriate actions. 

Any discussion will be confidential. Further action would not be taken, without the express permission of the complainant. (The exception to this is where a criminal act takes place, and the University has a legal responsibility to take appropriate action).

Stage 3:

The Harassment Adviser, together with the complainant, will implement the option(s) decided upon under Stage 2. For example, it could be agreed that the Harassment Adviser will send an e-mail to the alleged harasser, outlining the complaint. They could meet with the alleged harasser (with or without the complainant), to try to facilitate a resolution.

Any explanation, apology, or other response (verbally, by email or in writing) offered by the alleged harasser, should be passed back to the complainant by the harassment adviser. The ideal outcome is that problems are resolved, although this does not mean that there will be a punishment.

If following the initial action outlined above, the harassment continues, or is of a more serious nature than can be dealt with by means of the above, a formal written complaint can be made, in accordance with the Formal Procedures. The University’s Harassment Advisers should be contacted for advice about these procedures.

Formal procedures

Formal Procedures

If the matter cannot be resolved under the informal procedures, or where a complaint is of a more serious nature, then a formal written complaint may be made to the Director of Academic Services.

The Director of Academic Services (or nominee) will refer the complaint to the appropriate Head of College/Department (or their nominee), to investigate. Where appropriate, in the circumstances of the case, assistance will be provided to the Head of College/Department/nominee from the Academic Registry and/or Human Resources. 
Unless mediation is attempted, the Head of College/Department/nominee shall report in writing on the outcome of his/her investigation, to the Director of Academic Services. They will notify the complainant in writing, as to whether the complaint has been found to be substantiated, and (unless the need to maintain confidentiality prevails) the findings made.

Where the outcome of the report recommends that disciplinary action may be required, the Director of Academic Services shall:

1.Where the complaint is regarding another student - refer the report to be dealt with by a member of the Academic Registry, in accordance with the University’s Student Disciplinary Procedures;


2. Where the complaint is against a member of staff - refer the report to the Director of Human Resources, to be dealt with in accordance with the Staff Discipline Procedures [details of which can be obtained from Human Resources].

Dignity at Work and Study Policy
Swansea University has a dignity at work and study policy. It expects all students and staff to adhere to, when conducting themselves as members of the University. It aims to ensure that all individuals are free from harassment, not being targeted for having any protected characteristics.
You can find the Dignity to work and study policy in the ‘Further support’ section.

Where to go for further support

  • If you are experiencing difficulties, and are unsure of what to do or who to speak to, please get in touch with Welfare@CampusLife. We can provide a safe space to discuss any issues confidentially, and can provide you with advice and support about your possible options. Welfare email / Alternatively you can call on 01792 513889.



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