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Sexual violence support

Support is available to any Teesside University student who has experienced sexual violence at any time in their lives.

You may feel you need support in relation to an incident which happened recently or in the past, on or off campus and involving another student or anybody else. Teesside University is committed to promoting a safe and supportive campus environment for all members of our community.

What is sexual violence?

Sexual violence is a general term that we use to describe any kind of unwanted sexual act or activity. This includes physical contact such as rape, sexual assault and abuse and non-contact acts such as image-based abuse and being subjected to unwanted sexual comments. Sexual violence can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, class or background. No matter where you were or what you were doing, wearing, and saying, whether you were under the influence... It is important to know that you are not to blame in anyway.

Tea and Consent

If you’re still struggling with consent just imagine instead of initiating sex you’re making them a cup of tea. Animation courtesy of Emmeline May at and Blue Seat Studios.

Support from Teesside University Sexual Violence Liaison Officers

It can be really overwhelming reaching out for support around sexual violence and we now have a team of specialist Sexual Violence Liaison Officers to ensure you are supported throughout your time at University.

Our Sexual Violence Liaison Officers (SVLOs) can work with you to talk you through any support or reporting options that you wish to explore. Support is led by you and you are in total control of what you decide to do moving forward. Our SVLOs have links with internal support services, external partner organisations and academic support and can discuss what support may feel appropriate with you. The SVLOs can also liaise with external and internal services with your consent and make appropriate referrals so that you receive as much support as you feel you need.

Most importantly, our SVLOs will support you through whatever choices are right for you at this moment in time. We will never pressure you into accessing support or reporting to the Police or University.

SVLO support request

If you wish to speak with one of our SVLOs please complete our contact form below and we will do our best to contact you within two working days. The form is only accessed by our SVLO team. If you feel unable to complete the form or wish to ask any questions about our support please email

Online referral form

Support from outside of the University

SARC Teesside

SARC Teesside is our local Sexual Assault Referral Centre. They provide 24/7 support to anyone who has experienced sexual violence, whether this has happened recently or in the past.

Turn to us, we are here | Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) | NHS

More than half of people do not come forward for help after experiencing sexual assault or abuse. The NHS want to make it clear: we are here, turn to us.

If you report to the Police, they will bring you to SARC for an examination or to give an interview, however if you have not yet decided about reporting you can contact SARC to discuss and explore your options so that you're able to make a fully informed decision. If you decide not to report they can still help you by referring you for support.

If you are not sure about reporting right now but think you might want to in the future when you feel more ready, you can access support via the SARC without making a report to the Police. SARC can conduct an examination and then store any forensic evidence they find which gives you time to decide when to report without losing forensic evidence.

SARC can also provide emergency contraception and make referrals to any specialist support available across Teesside.

If you would like to refer yourself to SARC Teesside, you can do so by calling 03333 44 8283 24 hours a day.

ARCH Teesside

ARCH Teesside are our local specialist counselling and Independent Sexual Violence Adviser (ISVA) service. ARCH Teesside is available to any person who has experienced sexual violence at any time in their lives

An ISVA is completely independent of all other agencies or the police and are there solely to support you. You can access this support if you're considering reporting or have reported to the police and can work with an ISVA to ensure you are making a fully informed decision. If you do decide to report to the Police, your ISVA can work on your behalf in liaising with relevant people and ensuring you're kept up to date with how the case progresses through the criminal justice system. If you wish to access the ISVA service, you can call 01642 822331 or complete a Self Referral Form.

ARCH Teesside also provide a free, confidential and specialist counselling service to survivors of sexual violence, no matter how long ago it happened. Counselling gives you the opportunity to explore your feelings within a comfortable and safe environment. A counsellor will meet with you regularly and support you to find ways of coping. There is also an option of Pre-Trial Therapy where you can still get the support you deserve whilst going through the criminal justice system. You can access counselling through the Self Referral Form.

Sexual Health Hub Teesside

Sexual Health Hub provide free and confidential sexual health services including information and advice on all types of contraception and STI testing and treatment. The clinics can be found in Middlesbrough, Redcar, Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees. The service is confidential, non-judgemental and for people of all ages, genders and orientations.

You can book an appointment online or call 0300 3301122 between 9.00am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday.

Support out of office hours

Emergency services

You can contact the emergency services by dialling 999. This number should be used in an emergency for either Police, Ambulance or Fire service.

For a non-emergency response, you can contact the police by dialling 101.

Campus Security

Campus Security are responsible for ensuring a safe environment for staff, students and visitors. They are based within the University Library and are available 24 hours a day.

You can contact Security on 01642 342086 or in cases of an emergency extension 3200. We would also recommend you download the SafeZone app which allows you to call for help and alerts staff to your situation and location so that they can co-ordinate help to you quickly.

Rape Crisis

Rape Crisis offer a confidential helpline between the hours of 12.00pm - 2.30pm and 7.00pm - 9.30pm every day of the year. Call 0808 802 9999.


SHOUT is a free confidential anonymous service for anyone in the UK. Trained volunteers are available 24/7 to listen and support you. To start a conversation text the word SHOUT to 85258.


Samaritans are available 24/7 and provide free confidential support. You can make contact by calling 116 123 for an immediate conversation. Samaritans also offer an email service as some people prefer to write their thoughts down. You can do this by emailing and receive a response within 24 hours.

Reporting to the University

You can report your experience to the University under the Student Code of Conduct highlighted by OSCAR (Office of Student Complaints, Appeals and Regulations).

Please take a look here for more information which includes a guide for students, the complaints form and the Student Complaints Policy and Procedure.

The Students' Union can provide you with free, independent advice and guidance relating to a student complaint. It is encouraged that you seek independent advice from the Students Union before submitting your application form. You can access the Students' Union by visiting or emailing

Our Sexual Violence Liaison Officer's (SVLOs) can also provide support whilst you are considering reporting the incident to the University. Please email or use our online referral form.

Reporting to the Police

You can report an incident to the police at any time.

If you are fearful for your safety and need an immediate response, call 999. If you are not in immediate danger but wish to report to the police call 101.

You can also report directly to Cleveland Police Online. A specialist officer will then get back to you within 2 days.

If you are undecided about reporting to the Police, you can contact our SVLOs who can put you in contact with our on-campus Police Community Support Officers (PCSO). They will be able to explain the reporting process and answer any questions you may have. To arrange this please email or fill in our online referral form.

Choosing not to report

You may decide that you do not want to report anything to the Police or University and that is absolutely fine. You can still access support from both the University and external support services.

Consent and myths

Consent happens when all people involved in any kind of sexual activity agree to take part by choice. They also need to have the freedom and capacity to make that choice.

Without consent, any kind of sexual activity is sexual violence.

What does consent mean?

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 says that someone consents to sexual activity if they:

  • Agree by choice
  • Have both the freedom and capacity to make that choice.

People don't have the freedom and capacity to agree to sexual activity by choice if:

  • They are asleep or unconscious
  • They are drunk or under the influence of drugs
  • They have been spiked
  • They are too young
  • They have a mental health disorder or illness that means they are unable to make that choice
  • They are being pressured, manipulated, tricked, or scared into saying yes
  • The other person is using physical force against them

What does consent look like?

Here are some examples of what consent does and doesn't look like in practice:

Consent looks like:

Enthusiastically saying 'Yes!'
  • Talking to the other person about what you do or don't want to do and the other person listening
  • Checking in with each other- 'Is this ok', 'Do you want to slow down', 'Do you want to stop?'
  • Respecting each other's choices when they say 'no' and never trying to change their mind or put pressure on them.

Consent does not look like:

  • Feeling like you have to agree to sex because you're worried about the other persons reaction if you say no.
  • Someone having sex with you or touching you in a sexual manner when you're asleep or unconscious
  • Someone continuing with sexual activity despite your non-verbal cues that you don't want to continue or that you're not sure- for example pulling away.
  • Someone assuming that you want to have sex because you've had sex before
  • Someone removing a condom during sex after you only agreed to have sex with one (what is known as 'Stealthing')

It is important to know that these are just a few examples of what consent does or doesn't look like. If you didn't want something to happen then you didn't give your consent. You also didn't give your consent if you weren't capable of deciding whether or not you wanted it, for example if you were a child or too drunk.

And if there was no consent then it was sexual violence.

Myths about Sexual Violence

There are many common myths about rape and other forms of sexual violence and abuse. These myths make it difficult for survivors to talk to anyone or access support. Rape myths can cause the victim to believe that the sexual violence was their fault.

We want to eliminate some of the myths we most commonly hear. We want you to know that you're not to blame for what happened. It isn't your fault.

MYTH: If someone gets really drunk it's their own fault if they end up getting raped. They should've kept themselves safe.
Fact: People have the right to drink alcohol without getting raped. Having sex with someone who is very drunk, drugged or unconscious is rape.

MYTH: Women often lie about rape because they regret having sex with someone or because they want attention.
Fact: Stories in the media often give the impression that women lie about sexual violence. In fact, false allegations of rape are very rare. A comprehensive Home Office study found that only 3% of rape cases in England and Wales are likely to involve false allegations. It is also imperative to note that these statistics themselves are likely inflated due to some cases being recorded as 'no crime' due to a lack of evidence, not because they've been proven to be false.

MYTH: If someone didn't fight back, it wasn't rape.
Fact: There are many reasons why someone might not scream or struggle when experiencing sexual violence. In fact, a very common response to trauma is to freeze and be unable to speak or move.
Find out more information about trauma responses.

MYTH: If you're in a relationship with someone, it's always ok to have sex with them
Fact: Everyone has the right to say no to any type of sexual activity at any time including with their partner. Consent must be given and received freely every time.

MYTH: People who were sexually abused as children are more likely to become abusers themselves.
Fact: Most people who were sexually abused as children never rape or sexually abuse other people. This is a dangerous myth that is sometimes used to excuse the behaviour of people who do sexually abuse children or others. There is never any excuse for sexual violence.

MYTH: Women shouldn't go out alone at night as they're likely to get raped.
Fact: Only one in 10 of rapes are committed by a stranger. The rest are committed by someone the survivor knows such as a friend, neighbour, colleague, partner, or family member. People are raped in their homes, workplaces and other settings where they may have previously felt safe.

MYTH: Sometimes a man just gets carried away and can't stop.
Fact: Men can control their urges to have sex just as women can. No one needs to rape for sexual satisfaction. Rape is an act of violence and control.

MYTH: Men don't get raped.
Fact: Men are also raped and sexually assaulted. All survivors of sexual violence should be able to access appropriate support services.

MYTH: Women don't commit sexual offences.
Fact: Most cases do show that sexual offences are generally committed by men and against women and children. However, women do perpetrate sexual violence against other women, men and children.

Getting help and support

Everyone responds different to sexual violence and abuse so whatever someone feels is a valid response. But for lots of people, it can have a long-lasting impact on their feelings and wellbeing. If you have experienced any form of sexual violence, whether it was recent or a long time ago, you deserve as much support as you need.

Accessing support if you've been accused of sexual violence

Support is also available for students who have been accused of Sexual Violence or are subject to the internal disciplinary processes or a Police investigation. You can access wellbeing support from a dedicated member of staff who can assist you in accessing internal and external support services and liaising with departments as needed. If you wish to access this support, please email and identify in the email that the type of support you require is due to an accusation made against you so that we can ensure we put the correct support in place.

I know somebody who has experienced sexual violence, what do I do?

It can be extremely confusing and difficult supporting a friend or family member who has experienced sexual violence. It can take a long time for a victim to reach out for support and feel able to talk about it.

You can support them by:

Believing. Take time to listen without judgement. Don't question or ask why.

Being patient. It is really overwhelming to speak out about sexual violence. Be alongside your friend or family member. Don't rush them into making decisions or to talk about what happened.

Being alongside them. There is no correct way to feel or be after experiencing sexual violence. Be alongside your friend or family member and support them in whatever way they're feeling at this moment in time. It is also important to know that their feelings may change, and so you may have to adapt your response.

Empowering. Experiencing sexual violence can make victims feel as though they've lost control. It is important that victims can regain a sense of control as it is an important part of recovery. Let your friend or family member decide what is best for them.

Taking care of yourself. It can be easy to forget that you need to look after yourself too. It is also tough for supporters, and you can feel a lot of emotions too.


The SVLO service is a free and confidential service to all Teesside University students. That means that any information you provide to us can only be seen by appropriate members of staff involved in helping you access support.

There may be times that you wish for your SVLO to speak with internal or external services. This would only be done with your informed consent. There are however some exceptions where we have a duty of care to share information without your consent. These situations are detailed below:

  • If you or anyone else is at risk of harm.
  • If there is a concern regarding safeguarding of children or vulnerable adults.
  • If there is a legal requirement, for example, at a court hearing.

Under the General Data Protection Regulations, we are obliged to tell you how we collect and use your personal data. Please note that enquiries and appointments with our service are tracked electronically and the personal data of your enquiry is stored in protected files. We keep this data so that we can keep track of your enquiry and our response for future reference. This personal information will be retained for 7 years after which it will be destroyed securely. For more information, please refer to the university's General Privacy Notice for students.

Feedback and complaints

If you would like to provide any service feedback or make a complaint about the service you have received, in the first instance please contact

If you would like to make a formal complaint, please refer to the information on our complaints page (OSCAR) .

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