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This week (15 – 19 November) is anti-bullying week. It’s safe to say that we’re fully against ANY forms of bullying or harassment and so we want this article to be a resource for you all, to help us all recognise bullying and help give direction to places of support.

If you do have any ideas, then please share them with Arifa, Equity Officer, eq.[email protected]

What are some types of bullying?

Bullying is when someone, or a group of people, intentionally hurt others through intimidation, hostility, degradation, humiliation or other offensive behaviour resulting in the violation of a person’s dignity by creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, or humiliating environment. Bullying usually involves a repeated course of conduct and it can start with people picking on others for their differences.

Bullying can involve…

Physical bullying: Hitting, kicking, slapping, punching, spitting, tripping, pushing, stealing or destroying someone’s possessions or making mean or rude hand gestures.

Verbal bullying: Name-calling, teasing, insults, intimidation, homophobic or racist remarks, inappropriate sexual comments, threats or taunting.

Social bulling: Lying and spreading rumours, leaving someone out on purpose, telling others not to be friends with someone, damaging someone’s social reputation or relationships.

Cyber bullying: Posting/ sending harmful content online about others, making online threats, imitating others or using their log ins, deliberately excluding others online, spreading nasty gossip or rumours.

 Is it bullying or harassment /why different terms?

One of the major differences between bullying and harassment is how they are defined in UK legislation. Harassment often covers specific characteristics which have special protection by law, and so other non-specified characteristics fall under bullying. For example, class and/or international status (ranging from regionalism, regional or international accents, etc.) though not covered under harassment, are often reported by staff and students here. Additionally, due to the multi-faceted nature of identity-making, the actual experience can often be both bullying and harassment.

If you do experience any forms of bullying or harassment, please report it. Nothing is ‘too small’ to report. The best way to report forms of bullying is through Reprt and Support and while we categorise these experiences in our reporting platforms for data purposes, we understand it is much more complex in real life. On Report and Support, you can select multiple options on your situation, but more importantly report what you have faced.


This involves someone less favourably because they have made a complaint of discrimination or supporting someone who has faced harmful behaviours to make a report, is unlawful. UCL will act against victimisation of those who report or act as witnesses in good faith. Report any victimisation on Read further on EHRC victimization guidance

Online bullying

Bullies aren’t just found in real life situations – they’re just as prevalent onlinebut the thing about online bullying is that it’s ‘not serious enough’ when in actuality it is.It is as serious as in-person bullying, often with dangerous results because people do not feel confident to reach out. If you have faced bullying online- whether in or outside UCL online platforms, reach out to UCL crime prevention and personal safety advisor, Darren Watts, to find support and resolve the behaviour. No one should suffer bullying online or offline. 

What can you do?

Active Bystander

It’s crucial that all of us at UCL are aware of how we can approach situations where someone is being bullied or mistreated. That’s why the Students’ Union and UCL join forces every year to run the Active Bystander Programme, an interactive course that teaches students the necessary skills for tackling inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour at UCL and beyond.

As an Active Bystamder aims to challeng poor behaviours by defining the boundaries of unacceptable behaviour. Many individuals and/or groups with problematic attitudes are likely to consider their behaviour is normal if no one challenges it, and this can often be reinforced by cultural messages at UCL and the wider community. 

You can become an Active Bystander today by taking part in the programme.

Connecting with someone

If someone discloses an experience of bullying, harassment or sexual misconduct to you, it’s important that you affirm that the person affected is not to blame.

Student Referral and Triage Took (STaRT)

STaRT is an online tool accessible only to staff who can use it to find UCL wide support for any incident students disclose to them. It follows a ‘NHS symptom-check’ type of approach where one can type in any incident and be taken through steps to reach the right support. No prior knowledge of UCL support systems is needed but it does require UCL single sign-in. Do your lecturers and tutors know about this?

Students’ Union services

If you have faced bullying, we have an advice service which provides advice and advocacy independent of UCL. You can also report any hate crime to our hate crime reporting centre.

Advice and advocacy service

Hate Crime reporting centre

Student Liberation Networks

We’ve got several student networks, led by elected student officers. The networks serve as platform for all students to connect around their shared identities but they’re also are a force of change when it comes to steering UCL and us in the direction of anti-bullying and equality of representation.