Say yes to respect

Sexual Violence

What is sexual violence?

Sexual violence is any sexual act that a person did not consent to, or is forced into against their will. It involves touching without consent, where the touching is sexual and includes rape and other sexual offences such as pinching, groping and kissing.

What is consent?

By law, a person consents if they agree to sexual activity by choice and have the freedom and capacity to make that choice.

Consent cannot be given if someone:
  • is asleep or unconscious
  • is incapacitated through drink or drugs
  • is pressurised, threatened or forced
  • is below the age of 13
  • please remember that the age of consent for any form of sexual activity is 16 for men and women
  • has a disability which means they are not able to communicate their lack of consent.

Consent is enthusiastic and freely given. Consent is like a cup of tea...

Myths vs reality

There are lots of myths surrounding sexual violence and consent. The reality is very different...

Myths vs Realities

I think I need help

If you have experienced sexual violence you may feel overwhelmed and unsure what to do next. Remember, what has happened is not your fault and what you do next is your choice. Whatever you decide to do, there is support available to help you.

If you have been raped or sexually assaulted in the last ten days

Be Supported

Make sure you are safe

  • If you are in immediate danger or are seriously injured, call 999.
  • If you can, find a place where you feel safe. If this isn't possible you can:
    • Call Campus Security on 01642 342086 or go to their office, Ground Floor, The Library Building. They can offer you a physical or CCTV escort across campus if you are feeling vulnerable and you can report any issues to them directly.
    • If you are in Middlesbrough, Safe Spaces is a service for students where they can seek help and refuge if needed. Businesses that take part in this scheme can be easily identified by the yellow Safe Spaces stickers in their windows. This service is for students who feel threatened or vulnerable and they can expect to be given somewhere to sit for a short period of time, first aid (if needed) and a taxi can be rung for them. Current Safe Spaces in Middlesbrough.
    • Go to the Students' Union. All venue staff are either SIA Door Supervisor qualified or working towards their qualification.

  • Get advice

  • From SARC Teesside. The SARC (Sexual Assault Referral Centre) is specifically designed to provide a sensitive and dedicated service that meets the needs of anyone who has experienced sexual violence. The SARC provides 24 hour crisis intervention and support 365 days a year with dedicated specially trained staff who are able to explain and discuss your options with you. SARC staff will provide support and ensure that your needs are met throughout. You do not need to make a report to the police to access support from the SARC and you do not need to give your details to seek advice. The SARC is also an access point to local specialist support services such as counselling and specialist sexual violence advocacy. The SARC can refer or signpost you to the relevant services in your area. Call 01642 516888 to speak with a SARC crisis worker.
  • From a friend. Talking to someone you trust about what you have experienced can sometimes help. Your friend can seek advice from the SARC if you're unable to make the call.
  • From Student and Library Services. You can talk to a student adviser in confidence and discuss the options available to you, including informing the Police, and how to access further support. The adviser will also provide continuing support for any action that you may decide to take. Go to the first floor of the Student Centre Building and ask to see a student adviser through our drop-in service which is available between 9.30am - 4.00pm, Monday to Friday. Or you can call 01642 342277 to book an appointment with a student adviser at the drop-in.
  • From Teesside University Students' Union. The Students' Union Student Support offers independent advice and their friendly and confidential service can provide support and advice. Student Support is on the first floor of the Students' Union Building and is open 10.00am - 4.00pm (Monday to Thursday) and 11.00am - 4.00pm (Friday).

  • Report an incident

  • To SARC Teesside. It is your decision whether you want to report what has happened to you to the police or not. You can speak to any of the SARC team to explore your options and make an informed decision based on that discussion. If you are considering reporting a rape or sexual assault which has just happened the more evidence you preserve, the greater the chance of conviction. It is always worth considering the following points:
    • Try not to shower or bathe even though this may be your first instinct. Even if you have bathed or showered and a fews days have past, it is still worth seeking advice. With improved forensic science techniques, samples can be useful a week after the incident.
    • Try not to clean your teeth.
    • If possible ring someone you trust and see if they can be with you. Do not change your clothes. If you do, put everything you were wearing into a plastic bag and keep it somewhere safe.
    • Avoid eating or drinking, especially alcohol.*
    • Don't comb your hair.
    • Try to avoid going to the toilet until you have been examined. If the rapist used a condom, don't get rid of it. *
    • Don't dispose of any sanitary wear you may be using.

    * The SARC staff can take urine and mouth samples which enables you to have a drink and to use the toilet without concern.

    You can still report a rape or sexual assault at a later date, even if you have not done any of the above. If you do decide to report to the police a specialist trained police officer known as a SOIT (Sexual Offence Investigative Trained) will deal with you.
  • Even if you think you will not be reporting the offence there will be other factors you may wish to consider. Early contact with the SARC can ensure:
    • medical concerns are addressed as early as possible (some medical interventions following sexual offences are time limited)
    • a full needs and risk assessment can be done to make sure that your immediate needs are addressed
    • timely referrals are made for example to sexual health screening appointments or counselling services
    • you receive specialist support as early as possible which can have a positive effect on your recovery
    • you have the option of sharing anonymous information that may be of use to the police.
  • The SARC provides 24-hour crisis intervention and support 365 days a year on 01642 516888.

  • To the University. Students and staff can report any incidents to the University. You can either report an incident and request support from an adviser or report anonymously. If you submit your report anonymously we will not be able to offer you any direct advice or officially investigate the incident. You can use the links at the top of this page to report any incidents.
  • If you have been raped or sexually assaulted in the past

    You can still report a rape or sexual assault even if it happened in the past. Many people find it difficult to talk about sexual offences so it is not unusual for there to be a delay between the offence happening and when a report is made. For some people this may be several years.


    Get advice

  • From SARC Teesside. The SARC (Sexual Assault Referral Centre) is specifically designed to provide a sensitive and dedicated service that meets the needs of anyone who has experienced sexual violence. The SARC provides 24-hour crisis intervention and support 365 days a year with dedicated specially trained staff who are able to explain and discuss your options with you. SARC staff will provide support and ensure that your needs are met throughout. You do not need to report to the police in order to access SARC services. Other options the SARC can offer include:
    • a full risk and needs assessment to ensure your current needs are addressed
    • the option of sharing anonymous information for police intelligence purposes
    • access to counselling and support services.
  • Call 01642 516888 to speak with a SARC crisis worker.
  • From a friend. Talking to someone you trust about what you have experienced can sometimes help.
  • From Student and Library Services. You can talk to a student adviser in confidence and discuss the options available to you, including informing the police, and how to access further support. The adviser will also provide continuing support for any action that you may decide to take. Go to the first floor of the Student Centre Building and ask to see a student adviser through our drop-in service which is available between 9.30am - 4.00pm, Monday to Friday. Or you can call 01642 342277 to book an appointment with a student adviser at the drop-in.
  • From Teesside University Students' Union. The Students' Union Student Support offers independent advice and their friendly and confidential service can provide support and advice. Student Support is based on the first floor of the Students' Union Building and is open 10.00am - 4.00pm (Monday to Thursday) and 11.00am - 4.00pm (Friday).
  • Report an incident

  • To SARC Teesside. It is your decision whether you want to report what has happened to you to the police or not. You can speak to any of the SARC team to explore your options and make an informed decision based on that discussion. The SARC provides 24-hour crisis intervention and support 365 days a year on 01642 516888.
  • To the University. Students and staff can report any incidents to the University. You can either report an incident and request support from an adviser or report anonymously. If you submit your report anonymously we will not be able to offer you any direct advice or officially investigate the incident. You can use the links at the top of this page to report any incidents.

How can I help someone who's been sexually assaulted?

When someone has been sexually assaulted or raped they will often speak to someone they can trust. You might not be able to solve their problems but by listening and supporting your friend you can help.

Be supportive

Make sure they are safe

  • If they are in immediate danger or are seriously injured, call 999.
  • Find a safe place. If this isn't possible you can:
    • Call Campus Security on 01642 342086 or go to their office, Ground Floor, The Library. They can offer a physical or CCTV escort across campus if someone is feeling vulnerable and anyone can report any issues to them directly.
    • If they are in Middlesbrough, Safe Spaces is a service for students where they can seek help and refuge if needed. Businesses that take part in this scheme can be easily identified by the yellow Safe Spaces stickers in their windows. This service is for students who feel threatened or vulnerable and they can expect to be given somewhere to sit for a short period of time, first aid (if needed) and a taxi can be rung for them. Click for a list of all the current Safe Spaces in Middlesbrough. LINK TBC
    • Go to the Students' Union. All venue staff are either SIA Door Supervisor qualified or working towards their qualification.
  • Get advice

  • Listening and believing your friend will help and show them that they are not alone. SARC Teesside provides advice on how you can support a friend or family who has experienced sexual assault.
  • From Student and Library Services. You can talk to a student adviser in confidence and discuss the options available to you and your friend, including informing the police, and how to access further support. The adviser will also provide continuing support for any action that your friend may decide to take. Go to the Student Centre Building and ask to see a student adviser through our drop-in service which is available between 9.30am - 4.00pm, Monday to Friday. Or you can call 01642 342277 to book an appointment with a student adviser at the drop-in.
  • From Teesside University Students' Union. The Students' Union Student Support offers independent advice and their friendly and confidential service can provide support and advice to you and your friend. Student Support is on the first floor of the Students' Union Building and is open 10.00am - 4.00pm (Monday to Thursday) and 11.00am - 4.00pm (Friday).
  • Report an incident

  • To the University. Students and staff can report any incidents to the University. You can either report an incident and request support from an adviser or report anonymously. If you submit your report anonymously we will not be able to offer you any direct advice or officially investigate the incident. You can use the links at the top of this page to report any incidents.

Remember


When helping a friend with through a difficult time, you need to make sure that you look after yourself. It can be worrying when a friend is upset or, if you have had a similar experience yourself, it can bring back difficult memories or feelings. If you want to talk about your feelings whilst respecting your friends’ privacy please see the different support options (link to Continuing Support page) different support options.


Continuing Support


If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence there are a range of support options available for students.

  • Student advisers. A student adviser will listen to your concerns in confidence, offer options and talk about the support available.
  • Counselling service. Our confidential counselling service can support you through any personal or academic difficulties and develop constructive ways forward.
  • Disability advisers. Our specialist staff can help you access support and resources to ensure you have a great experience at Teesside.
  • Your academic school. If you feel able to, you can talk to your personal tutor or lecturer.
  • Student and Library Services. The University offers a wide range of support and advice services to help you.
  • Teesside University Students' Union. The SU offer free and totally independent support with a number of academic and student support issues. The service is also a hate crime reporting centre and offers a mediation service for students who are experiencing difficulties with their housemates.


Other support


  • SARC Teesside is specifically designed to provide a sensitive and dedicated service that meets the needs of anyone who has experienced sexual violence. The SARC is also an access point to local support services such as specialist violence advocacy and counselling services.
  • Rape Crisis is a national organisation providing support and counselling for those affected by rape and sexual abuse.
  • SurvivorsUK helps and supports men who have been sexually abused and raises awareness of their needs.
  • Victim Support is a national charity giving free and confidential help to victims of crime, witnesses, their family, friends and anyone else affected across England and Wales.
  • Samaritans is available 24 hours a day to provide confidential emotional support for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which may lead to suicide.