Any form of sexual misconduct, assault or harassment is never okay.
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.
- Report and Support. Students and staff 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.
- 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?
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.
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 an ongoing 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 are still not sure, Beech House Kent
and Medway Sexual Assault and Referral Centre (SARC) accept self-referrals. They offer a number of services including crisis support, medical examinations and counselling referrals. An examination usually takes around 3 hours depending on circumstances. They can also hold any forensic evidence for two years should you decide to report the assault later. A specialist member of University staff can accompany you to the SARC and the University will pay for any travel costs (see above for accessing support from the University).
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 medial 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.
If you would like to speak to someone about what has happened the following support is available from the university:
University Support available 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 sexual assault or rape (support available at both Medway and Canterbury). You can book a specialist appointment with the Wellbeing Adviser (Sexual Assault/Harassment) by emailing email@example.com, 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.
University Out of Hours Support
If you would like to speak to someone and it is out of hours, 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 823333
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
Sexual Assault Responders are trained members of staff who support and advise students experiencing incident of rape or sexual assault out of normal office hours (5pm to 9am and all day at weekends/bank holidays). A sexual assault responder will be called by campus security if the reporting student consents to them doing so. Sexual Assault Responders are available on Canterbury and Medway campuses.
They offer support, advise and provide information in a safe and confidential space (on campus) about what next steps are available. Any student who is a victim of rape or sexual assault, regardless of gender, gender identity or sexuality, can access the support of a Sexual Assault Responders. SARs work in conjunction with the Specialist Wellbeing Adviser (Sexual Assault/Harassment) who will follow up with you following a meeting with a SAR.
The specialist members of staff will be able to support you in deciding what to do next. Both the Sexual Assault Responders and the Specialist Wellbeing Adviser (Sexual Assault/Harassment) can meet with you to offer support and guidance on the options available. Please bring a friend to accompany you for support, if needed.
If you think you may have medical issues, following an assault Health Service Information
is available. Accessing medical support whether this is with the support of specialist staff, or of your own accord would be dealt with confidentially in accordance with NHS Code of Practice and would not be shared with the University.
Reporting to the police
If you do decide to report the assault to the police and it is not an immediate emergency, call 101. A member of staff can support you through this if you wish to. Please see above about how to contact 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 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 an ongoing risk to you or to members of the University community.
Your confidentiality will be respected and information will not be shared beyond the relevant staff (detailed below) 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.