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Advice and Counselling Service
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Sexual assault and harassment advice

We are here to offer specialist support to any student at Queen Mary who has experienced sexual violence. Read through our information about this support and how to contact us.

Specialist support

Queen Mary takes any incident of sexual harassment and/or assault seriously and recognises the need for specialist, bespoke trauma-informed support to be available for survivors of any form of sexual violence and/or abuse.

For support around Domestic & Familial Abuse, 'Honour'-based Abuse or LGBGTQ+ Abuse, see our separate web page.


Sexual violence is any incident of unwanted sexual contact. It includes rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse and sexual harassment.

If you have experienced any form of sexual violence, whatever the circumstances, whenever it happened, it was not your fault.

There is help and support available so you can make your own decision about what happens next. Support is available both on and off campus and you can access either or both to suit you.

The important thing to remember is that you are not alone and there is help and support available.


What is a Sexual Assault and Harassment Adviser (SAHA)?

The SAHA is a specialist adviser who provides emotional and practical support to anyone who has been raped, sexually assaulted, or harassed, whether that’s happened recently or in the past. The SAHA can support you whether this happened at University or not, and can also help you to access other available support services.

The SAHA can support you to explore your options should you wish to report what has happened and can support you through this process if you do choose to go ahead – the decision to report is entirely up to you.

The SAHA service is not counselling or therapy, but the SAHA can offer you short term emotional support to look at managing the impact of what has happened. The SAHA can also provide practical support and look at ways of making you feel safe if this is something you’re worried about.

You do not have to report your experience to the University or to the police to access support from the SAHA. Everyone copes differently, and as such it is important that survivors of sexual violence decide the best way forward for themselves. The SAHA will never tell you what to do, but will discuss options available and be led by you. 

How we can help

These are some of the things the SAHA can support you with:

Emotional support, including:

  • Supporting you to understand and manage the impact of sexual violence.
  • Working with you to develop positive coping strategies.
  • Helping you to re-build your self-esteem and trust in yourself and others.  

Practical support, including:

  • Providing you with impartial information and support around your options for reporting both within the University and externally.
  • Supporting you through any reporting process you choose to engage with.
  • Signposting and referring you to appropriate support services both within the University and externally.

Talking about experiences of sexual assault and harassment can be very difficult and we understand that it may feel daunting to access the service. The SAHA has a lot of experience supporting survivors of sexual violence and/or abuse and will be able to provide a safe and sensitive space for you to discuss your thoughts and feelings. The SAHA is NOT a counselling or therapy service, but will be able to provide emotional support around what has happened, and you will be able to access the counselling service as well should you wish to do so. 

If you don’t wish to speak to the SAHA or don’t feel you’re quite ready yet but would still like some advice and support, you can visit the Report and Support list of resources

Who is the service for?

The Service is free and available to any student who has experienced any form of sexual violence, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.

Below is a non-exhaustive list of types of behaviour that would constitute sexual violence:

  • rape
  • sexual assault – this can include inappropriately touching someone without their consent, unwanted kissing, and/or making someone take part in a sexual activity with them without their consent
  • sexual harassment – unwanted sexual behaviour that makes someone feel scared, upset, offended or humiliated. It includes a wide range of behaviours, such as:
    • catcalling or wolf-whistling
    • sexual gestures
    • leering, staring or suggestive looks
    • commenting on someone’s body, appearance or what they’re wearing
    • sexual ‘jokes’
    • spreading sexual rumours
    • unwanted sexual advances or flirting
    • intrusive questions about a person’s sex life
    • asking for sexual favours
    • spreading sexual rumours
    • unwanted brushing up against someone, hugging them, kissing or massaging them
    • taking a photo or video under another person’s clothing (‘upskirting’)
    • stalking
    • sending e-mails or texts with sexual context and/or sexual posts or contact on social media
  • spiking – adding drugs or alcohol to someone’s drink or body without their knowledge and/or consent
  • ‘flashing’ – intentionally exposing your genitals with the intention of someone else seeing them and causing distress
  • cyber flashing – sending someone pictures of one’s genitals (‘dick pics’) or exposing themselves over live video
  • child sexual abuse
  • FGM (female genital mutilation) – any procedure that intentionally alters or causes injury to the female genital organs without any medical reason

If you are unsure about something that has happened and think it might be sexual assault or harassment, you are welcome to explore this with the SAHA. 


The SAHA support is confidential, which means your situation will not be discussed with anyone outside the Service, unless we have your consent to do so. Exceptions to confidentiality apply only if there are legal or statutory obligations to disclose information (e.g. to the Police if there is an ongoing criminal justice investigation), or if there is a risk of serious harm to you or others. For more information about this please see our Confidentiality Policy.

Book an appointment

To get support from our SAHA you can either:

  • Go via the Report and Support portal
  • You can complete our referral form in MySIS to book an appointment with the SAHA. Click the Contact us box below to complete the form under Wellbeing Support appointments.
  • You can also ask your SSO to refer you

You don’t need to give long answers; you can also write "I would prefer to talk about this in person", if it is difficult to write about or think about what happened. 

The SAHA can offer face to face or online appointments via MS Teams.

Contact us for wellbeing support

Contact us
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