Zero Tolerance

Reporting sexual assault

If you are in immediate danger or have been seriously injured, you should contact the emergency services by calling 999.

A person consents to sexual intercourse if they agree to sexual intercourse by choice and have the freedom and capacity to make that choice. Non-consensual means you didn't freely agree to have sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse is not consensual if the person involved was under the age of consent, subject to violence or threats of violence, violence or threats of violence were made against someone else to force them to consent, they were asleep, unconscious, drugged or incapacitated by alcohol or their disability meant they were not able to communicate their lack of consent.

Everyone has the right to say 'no' to sex, to withdraw or withhold their consent for any sexual act, on any occasion and under any circumstances, regardless of whether they've given consent to sex with that person in the past and regardless of whether they're in a relationship with the other person. Sex without consent is rape.

Sexual assault is when someone intentionally touches you without your consent. Both rape and sexual assault are criminal offences that can be committed by people of all genders.

It is not an easy decision to report rape or sexual assault, and you may wish to seek specialist advice before making a decision about approaching the Police. It is possible to check with your local police station to see if they have a specialist worker – ask to speak to a specially trained Sexual Offences Liaison Officer. Agencies such as the Havens and Rape Crisis can specifically offer support, regardless of whether the police are involved. See the support section for more information.

ISVAs (Independent Sexual Violence Advocates/Advisers) are available to support you with practical issues and processes relating to reporting sexual violence. This help is available irrespective of how you choose to report the incident. ISVAs can usually attend meetings and interviews with you, if you are pursuing a report to the Police, or to QMUL. Most of the external agencies listed in our specialist support section offer free ISVA services.

The Police

You can report rape and sexual assault to the Police. If you need urgent medical care or attention, call 999 and ask for an ambulance. Forensic evidence can be collected within 72 hours of the assault. To preserve evidence, if possible try not to wash, brush your teeth, have a cigarette, eat or drink, change your clothes. If you do change your clothes, do not wash them but keep them in a clean plastic bag. Try to avoid going to the toilet and do not clear up anything from the area of the incident.

You can also contact a confidential sexual assault referral centre (SARC). In London, the SARCs are called The Havens and are located across London and available 24/7. Call 020 3299 6900 and see www.thehavens.org.uk.

The Havens provide medical and emotional support services to anyone who has been raped or sexually assaulted in the past 12 months. Support is available to people of any gender, gender identity or sexual orientation. If you don’t want to involve the Police, you can access their support confidentially without any police involvement. If you want to involve the Police, The Havens can help you with this.

Report to Queen Mary

Students:

You can report allegations of harassment, bullying, sexual violence, sexual harassment, hate crime and discrimination to the Appeals, Complaints and Conduct Office under the Code of Student Discipline. A Casework Officer from the Appeals, Complaints and Conduct Office will meet with you privately to discuss the issues that you have raised and will explain to you how your case will be handled, how to make your report and who to address your report to.

The Student Complaints Policy makes it clear that any student who submits a complaint in good faith will not suffer any detriment as a result of any action taken under the Student Complaints Policy.

Staff:

In the first instance, you should contact your Line Manager to report any allegation of harassment, assault, hate crime, bullying and discrimination. Where the Line Manager is the alleged perpetrator, staff should contact the designated HR person for their directorate/school/department.

Further information is available on the Dignity at Work and Study Procedure and on the Dignity at Work webpage. Information on how to raise concerns is available in the Dignity at Work and Study General Guidance.