Appendix A: Definitions

The policy has used the term ‘inappropriate relationship’; by this the University means any of the definitions below and any relationship with an under 18 year old, or a relationship which has a power imbalance where the relationship is undeclared.

Sexual violence is a non-legal phrase used as an umbrella term to refer to, and include different sexual offences.

Sexual harassment is defined in the Equality Act 2010 as unwanted conduct of a sexual nature which has the purpose or effect of violating the recipient’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. The types of behaviours or conduct which make up sexual harassment are varied and may include: verbal harassment such as whistling, catcalling, sexual comments, sexual innuendo, telling sexual jokes and stories, spreading rumour about a person’s sex life; nonverbal harassment such as looking someone up and down, displaying pictures of a sexual nature, sending emails containing sexual content, making sexual gestures, and asking for sexual favours.

Sexual assault is a criminal offence[1] and includes, for example, physical unwanted sexual advances, kissing, touching, hugging, stroking, patting of someone’s clothes, body, hair, and rubbing up against someone, where the touching is sexual.

Harassment and stalking[2] includes behaviour such as watching, spying, monitoring use of electronic communications, interfering with another’s property, publishing material relating to a person or purporting to originate from a person. In addition the act of stalking which puts a person in fear of violence or causes serious alarm or distress which has a substantial adverse effect on their usual day-to-day activities.

Controlling and/or coercive behaviour is defined as repeatedly or continuously engaging in controlling or coercive behaviour towards an intimate (or ex) partner or family member which has a serious effect on them. ‘Serious effect’ means that it causes them to fear that violence will be used against them, or it causes them serious alarm or distress which has a substantial adverse effect on their usual day-to-day activities (such as socialising, working patterns, mental or physical health deterioration).

Further and more detailed definitions and relations to the legal system can be found in the Changing the culture: Report of the Universities UK Taskforce examining violence against women, harassment and hate crime affecting university students. This includes definitions for domestic violence, revenge porn, rape and sexual assault by penetration.