Downing College is committed to providing a safe environment in which all members of the College can participate freely and contribute fully without fear for their personal security. A safe environment free from harassment or threat is fundamental to the academic, working, social and living environment of our community. Sexual harassment and assault will not be tolerated. The College will support and assist anyone alleging harassment or assault.
To this end the College will:
- promote a culture in which there is zero tolerance of sexual harassment and assault. All members of the community must treat each other with respect. There must be a clear understanding of the types of behaviour that are inappropriate and unacceptable. The College’s Bullying and Harassment Policy, and its support for awareness raising initiatives by the JCR, MCR, and CUSU reinforce this zero tolerance culture.
- treat harassment seriously and respond to it effectively. The procedure outlined in the Bullying and Harassment Policy allows for harassment complaints and those concerning the behaviour of members of the College to be addressed in a robust and fair manner. The College will ensure that anyone raising a concern is neither victimised nor disadvantaged as a result.
- support individuals in reporting assaults. The College will ensure that appropriate information and assistance is available for an individual deciding what steps to take following assault. If you are a victim of a sexual assault, you may find the advice here useful. In the case of sexual assault the College strongly advises the student to consider carefully involving the police, who have access to investigatory and forensic resources. The College has a wider duty of care to the College community, and if it considers that anyone may be at risk of further harm it may need to report a suspected crime to the police.
- support victims following assaults. Everyone reacts differently to assault, but all reactions are equally valid. Whether or not a report is made to the Police, the College will endeavour to ensure that individuals have access to welfare provision and appropriate support. This support may only be required in the short-term or for a longer period. The College will investigate whether steps need to be taken to ensure that someone who has suffered an assault can continue to feel safe studying and participating in the College community. Such measures may include both living and academic arrangements.
- respect confidentiality. Unless legally obliged, the College will respect any request for confidentiality by someone reporting harassment or assault: the complainant will decide who is to be informed. In very rare cases, when there is a perceived risk of harm to the complainant or to anybody else, the complainant’s identity may have to be divulged to a further small group of people. Complaints from anonymous sources will not be considered: the College requires individuals to allow their names to be disclosed to at least one Fellow of the College, such as a Tutor, in order to consider any complaint.
You may wish to seek advice from the Office of Student Conduct, Complaints and Appeals (OSCCA).