Student Wellbeing

Sexual Violence

Sexual Violence

Sexual violence is an umbrella term used to describe any "non-consensual, unwanted, forced and/or coerced sexual behaviours" (Humphreys and Towl, 2020). This includes but is not limited to:

  • Physical violence or assault
  • Sexual harassment
  • Image-based sexual abuse
  • Stalking
  • Domestic abuse/intimate partner abuse
  • Coercive and controlling behaviour

Sexual violence can happen in any setting - including at work, an educational setting, in public, and the home. It can also occur online via email, messages, and comments on social media or online forums. 

Sexual violence can be instigated by anyone, regardless of their sex, sexuality, age, disability, race, or any other part of their identity. Sexual violence can be experienced by anyone regardless of their sex, sexuality, age, disability, race, or any other part of their identity.  A common misconception is that sexual violence is instigated by strangers; however, it can be carried out by someone the recipient already knows well such as a friend, sexual partner, spouse, or family member.

Consent is the key consideration with sexual violence - as these acts are conducted without the informed consent of the survivor, as well as the reasonable belief of the perpetrator that consent has been given. 

What should I do if I have experienced sexual violence since coming to University?

If you have experienced sexual violence since coming to Newcastle University, you can seek support from our Survivor Support Service. To get this support you can use our Online Disclosure and Referral form or email

Our Survivor Support Service will provide free, safe, confidential support and guidance. We will meet with you one-to-one in a way that feels comfortable for you – online, in-person, or on the phone. First and foremost, we will listen. We will then offer support and guidance appropriate to your needs and what you would like help with. This may include but is not limited to:

  • Specialist counselling for survivors (we have provision for all genders) 
  • Support to access a Sexual Assault Referral Centre 
  • Information and support on pursuing a formal complaint (if you are reporting another student or colleague) 
  • Referral to Independent Sexual Violence Advisors who can provide practical and emotional support 
  • Support to inform your school of any support you might need with your studies because of what’s happened (if you consent to this – we will not automatically inform your school) 
  • Referral to specialist advice and guidance on areas such as finances, housing, and disability 

Experiencing sexual violence can be a distressing and confusing time, and you may experience a range of difficult emotions and side-effects. Our Survivor Support Service believe you, and we will support you and your choices.

Sexual Violence Liaison Officers (SVLOs)

Supporting a survivor

We appreciate that you may be looking for information on how to support a survivor of sexual violence. If this is the case, it is important that you take care of yourself, and support is available for you as well as the survivor:

Rape Crisis England and Wales have useful guidance on supporting survivors which can be found here

Some key points from the guidance are:

  1. Listen - try not to ask lots of questions or interrupt
  2. Believe them - false reports are extremely rare
  3. Don't judge - remember it's not the victim-survivor's fault

Ultimately, it is important for the survivor to get specialist support, and this may be best provided by either the Survivor Support Service, or another relevant external service. Click here for more resources.