If you think you have been the target of sexual misconduct, assault or harassment, it may be hard to know what to do or how to feel. What happened was not your fault. What you do next is your choice. The guidance below is a resource to help make informed decisions about next steps and the support available.
You can also view the process of getting support as a visual guide.
- Are you in immediate danger? If you are in immediate danger or seriously injured, you can contact the emergency services on 999 (or 112 from a mobile phone). Report and Support is not an emergency reporting tool.
- Find a safe space. If an incident has just happened, try and find somewhere you feel safe. If you need to find a safe space, see the contact details and other information about Health and Emergency services near you.
- Report and Support. Report and Support is the University's online reporting tool that provides direct, confidential help, whilst not immediately triggering a formal complaint. Students can report an incident using the University’s Report and Support system. You can choose to do this anonymously or you can request support from an advisor. If you choose to talk to an advisor, they will be able to talk through the options and support available to you, in confidence. No formal investigation will be triggered without your consent, but you can still access confidential support.
- University Procedure. If you choose to make a formal complaint to the University about a student or member of staff there are procedures which set out the steps you'll need to follow. Further details can be found on the Student Conduct and Complaints page.
Not sure about reporting to the police?
- Deciding whether to report the incident to the police can be a difficult decision to make, especially if you are in a state of shock. If the incident has just taken place, and you are thinking of reporting to the police, try to go to the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) or police as soon as you can and within 72 hours if possible. If you do decide to report the assault, please try not to drink, eat, wash, smoke, brush your teeth, go to the toilet or change your clothes, if possible. Please also try to keep any condoms, bedding or clothing in separate, clean plastic bags. This will all help to preserve any forensic evidence. There is useful information on the Rape Crisis website about how you can preserve evidence yourself
You do not have to report the incident to the police. You can take your time to think about this option. You may want to ask a trusted friend to come and be with you and talk through your decision with them.
- A member of staff can support you through this if you wish them to. Please see above about how to contact someone for support from the University. Please be assured that the reporting process will be taken at your own pace and your involvement in it is voluntary throughout. You can discuss your reporting options with both the Specialist Wellbeing Adviser (Sexual Assault/ Harassment) and/or Sexual Assault Responders (SARs). The specialist staff at the university will never make assumptions about what you want to do, and will respect any decision that you make. The only exception to this will be if it is considered that, there is a substantial risk to you or to members of the University Community.
Self-Referral to a SARC
If you do not want to involve the police or the University you can seek external support from, Beech House Kent and Medway Sexual Assault and Referral Centre (SARC) who accept self-referrals. If you need to attend the SARC, a specialist member of University staff can accompany you and the University will pay for any travel costs.
They offer a number of services including: crisis support, medical examinations and counselling referrals. A full medical examination usually takes around 3 hours depending on circumstances. They can also hold any forensic evidence gathered for up to two years should you decide to report to the police at a later date. You do not have to have a medical examination, and you can have a discussion with them about the support you need, and what you do not agree to.
You do not need to report the incident to the University or police immediately, but please note the following important time limits:
- If you suspect you were given any type of drug, it is best to be tested within 24 hours.
- If you are thinking of having a forensic medical examination, try to go to the SARC or police as soon as you can and within 72 hours if possible.
- If you need emergency contraception, the medication should be started within 72 hours. Information about accessing a nurse can be found on the Health Services page.
- If you think you may need HIV prophylaxis, the medication should be started within 72 hours.
You are able to access support from the University 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you would like to speak to someone about the incident you can contact any of the following services:
Support during office hours - Specialist Wellbeing Adviser (Sexual Assault/ Harassment)
- A specialist member of staff who is able to provide practical support and advice to anyone who reports an incident (support available at both Medway and Canterbury). You can book an appointment with the Specialist Wellbeing Adviser (Sexual Assault/Harassment) by emailing KentSSW@kent.ac.uk, or by calling 01227 82 3158 from Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm.
- If you decide to report an incident via Report and Support the Specialist Wellbeing Adviser (Sexual Assault/Harassment) will be informed and if you choose to provide contact details, they will be in touch within 3 working days.
- Please see Confidentiality information for details on how data will be stored.
Support out of hours
- Sexual Assault Responders. If you would like to speak to someone and it is out of hours (5pm to 9am weekdays, and all day at weekends/bank holidays), support from a Sexual Assault Responder (SAR) can be accessed via Campus Security. You can access support through campus Security 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can be contacted as follows:
- Canterbury Campus Security on 3333 or 01227 823333 or go to Campus Security (24 hours) located next to Santander Bank.
- Medway Campus Security on 3333 or 01227 82333
- Sexual Assault Responders will not automatically be called if you support a report via Report and Support. You will need to use the numbers above to access this service. Sexual Assault Responders are trained members of staff who support and advise students who report incidents outside of normal office hours. They offer support, advice and information in a safe and confidential space (on campus) about what next steps are available. Any student, regardless of gender, gender identity or sexuality, can access a Sexual Assault Responder. Sexual Assault Responders also work in conjunction with the Specialist Wellbeing Adviser (Sexual Assault/Harassment).
- Harassment Contacts. If you are experiencing harassment (including bullying, discrimination, hate incidents or sexual harassment) and wish to seek further support, you can also make use of the Harassment Contacts within the University. The University has appointed and trained members of staff, who can be contacted for advice and support. You can choose to contact any of the contacts and may prefer to speak to someone from a different department or section.
- Domestic Violence: If you think you are (or someone you know is) in an abusive relationship, you can go to a One Stop Shop at Rising Sun Domestic Violence and Abuse Service, or with the University's Specialist Wellbeing Adviser by emailing KentSSW@kent.ac.uk or by calling 01227 82 3158 from Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm.
- Medical Support: If you think you require medical assistance following an incident, you are able to access Health Service Information. Accessing medical support would be dealt with confidentially in accordance with the NHS Code of Practice and would not be shared with the University. You can also view the process of getting medical support as a visual guide.
Reporting to the Police
If you are in immediate danger or are seriously injured, you can call 999 (or 112 from a mobile). If you do decide to report the assault to the police, and it is not an immediate emergency, call 101. To find out more information about how Kent Police can support you, please click here.
A member of staff can support you through this if you wish them to. Please see above about how to contact someone for support from the University. Please be assured that the reporting process will be taken at your own pace and your involvement in it is voluntary throughout. You can discuss your reporting options with both the Specialist Wellbeing Adviser (Sexual Assault/ Harassment) and/or Sexual Assault Responders (SARs).
Kent Police have information on their website about reporting sexual assaults. If you decide to report, the police will support and guide you through the process and will assign a specialist from their Sexual Offences Investigation Team. If forensic evidence is required and has not already been collected, then the Police may accompany you to Kent and Medway Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) at Maidstone.
It is important for you to know that the University will respect your decision about whether or not you wish to report the incident to the Police. The only exception to this will be if it is considered that there is a substantial risk to you or to members of the University community.
Reporting Anonymously via Crimestoppers
If you are worried about a reporting process, and would prefer to report anonymously, you can report to Crimstoppers. Crimestoppers are an independent charity that gives people the power to speak up and stop crime, 100% anonymously. Crimestoppers will send your report to the local police force. You can find additional information about this here.
Your confidentiality will be respected, and information will not be shared beyond the relevant staff (detailed above) without your consent unless you or others are at significant risk. We do not report incidents to the police without the consent of the reporting person unless you or others are at significant risk.
If Campus Security have been informed of an incident, then the Specialist Wellbeing Adviser (Sexual Assault/Harassment) will automatically be informed. The Specialist Wellbeing Adviser (Sexual Assault/Harassment) will contact you to help you receive any information or support you need.
Anonymous reports to the University, including those via Report and Support, will not instigate any part of an investigation process.