Never OK is a joint campaign by The University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Salford, promoting an environment and culture where sexual harassment or violence is never tolerated.
The campaign encourages everyone to be active bystanders and challenge unacceptable behaviour when they witness it. We also want to empower survivors of sexual harassment or violence to seek support and feel confident about reporting incidents.
Never OK gives you the tools, knowledge, and confidence to take action against sexual harassment.
We’re asking everyone at The University of Manchester to:
1. Educate yourself about sexual harassment
Sexual harassment is any kind of unwanted sexual behaviour that makes you feel upset, scared, offended or humiliated, or is meant to make you feel that way. All instances of sexual harassment are unacceptable, regardless of whether they take place in-person or online or were intended or not.
Examples of sexual harassment are, but are not limited to:
- Catcalling or wolf-whistling
- Leering, staring or suggestive looks
- Sexual ‘jokes’ or banter
- Unwanted sexual advances or flirting
- Sending sexts or nude pictures which you did not consent to
All our universities have a zero-tolerance stance on sexual harassment and sexual violence and we take all reports of sexual harrassment seriously. Our Student Charter sets out the standards of what we can expect from each other as partners in a learning community.We encourage all members of our universities to complete our online consent module to understand what consent is and why it matters.
2. Become an active bystander
Being an active bystander means spotting when someone’s behaviour is inappropriate or threatening and choosing to challenge it or assist someone who needs support. Research shows that bystander intervention can be an effective way of stopping sexual assault before it happens.
Ways you can intervene:
- Direct – let them know their behaviour isn’t ok and tell them to stop (if you feel safe to do so)
- Distract – do something to break the situation up, such as spilling a drink or asking a question
- Delegate – bring in someone else to help you; this could be a friend, venue staff, or the Police
- Delay – if you can’t intervene, check in with the person afterwards and see if they need support
By challenging this behaviour and calling it out, we can all play a part in taking a stand against sexual harassment.
3. Report any incidents and get support
We know many cases of sexual harassment go unreported for lots of reasons. We want survivors to know that sexual harassment is never your fault and there’s lots of support and guidance available to help you.
By reporting incidents when they happen, you can access specialist support and decide whether you would like to engage with a formal reporting process. We take all reports of sexual harrasment seriously, and we will support you throughout the process.
Ways to report an incident and access support:
- Directly to the Police – call 999 if it is an emergency or you are in danger. Otherwise, call 101 at any other time, visit your local police station or report the incident online.
- Our Report + Support website – report an incident online to the University (you can choose to report anonymously if you wish). You can also find out about some of the support available too.
We understand that our zero tolerance policy on sexual harrassment, and the actions that we take as part of this, will continue to evolve over time. However we wanted to share what we’ve done so far in support of this policy.
What we’ve done so far:
- ‘Understanding Consent’ module – we want to empower every student to better understand your own boundaries and to respect those of others, as well as gain knowledge about consent and healthy relationships. We’ve created an online course to explore the complexities of consent when applied to our lives and our relationships, why we need to talk about it, and what should expect from a sexual partner.
- Extended boundaries on our Safe Zone app – the Safe Zone app allows you to contact Campus Support and Security quickly and discreetly for support, and in September 2021, we teamed up with Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Salford so you’re covered on their campuses too
- Safety networks – we have established a number of networks with internal and external partners to help keep students safe – these groups meet regularly and include student representatives and the Greater Manchester Police.
- Specialist support staff – we have a specially trained Sexual Violence & Harassment Response Team to support students through the reporting process and to provide relevant care before, during and after the process.