Sexual Misconduct
Sexual misconduct defines a broad range of unwanted conduct of a sexual nature. It may involve physical, verbal or written conduct. It can be carried out, attempted or threatened in person or online, or by an individual or a group. The perpetrator may be known to the person being abused or a stranger.

Sexual misconduct is carried out without the other person’s consent and may raise issues around abuse of power or position, as well as preventing equal access to education, opportunities, and career progression. 

Any concern or report of alleged sexual misconduct will be taken seriously by the Academy. If reported, an allegation will always be reviewed in line with policy and/or regulation to determine whether and investigation and disciplinary process should be carried out.

Sexual misconduct may also constitute a criminal offence, please see below for further information.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is unlawful discrimination under the Equality Act 2010, which says that someone sexually harasses another person if they:
  • Engage in unwanted conduct of a sexual nature and
  • The conduct has the purpose or effect of violating the other person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them. 
This unwanted sexual conduct can happen in person, online, by phone or social media.

Sexual harassment includes a range or behaviours, which may be explicit or more subtle, and can occur as a one-off incident or over a period of time. 

Behaviours that may constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:
  • Sexual comments, gesturing, making noises, making sexual remarks about someone’s body, appearance or clothing, sexual innuendos, suggestive comments or looks, leering or staring
  • Making unwanted sexual advances or flirting, making requests for sexual activity or asking for sexual favours, promising something in return for sexual acts
  • Asking intrusive questions about a person’s private or sex life, discussing their own sex life which is unwanted, spreading rumours or information about someone else’s sex life
  • Displaying, sending, sharing or showing pornographic material or sexual images in person or via email, text or social media, or requesting explicit images are shared by another person
  • Upskirting: taking a photo or video under another person’s clothing
  • Unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature, touching without their consent including hugging, kissing, massaging, or brushing up against someone
  • Stalking
  • Indecent exposure: deliberately revealing genitalia to another in order to frighten or upset
Some of these behaviours may also be a criminal offence.

Sexual Assault / Sexual Violence

Sexual assault is any act or attempted act of a sexual nature that happens without another’s consent. It can involve a range of behaviours and may take place in different circumstances.

Sexual assault can include:
  • Rape, where a person intentionally penetrates another's vagina, anus or mouth with a penis, without the other person's consent
  • Assault be penetration, when a person penetrates another person's vagina or anus with any part of the body other than a penis, or by using an object, without the person's consent.
  • Sexual assault, which is an act of physical, psychological and emotional violation in the form of a sexual act, inflicted on someone without their consent. It can involve forcing or manipulating someone to witness or participate in any sexual acts.
  • Other behaviour may include exposure, sharing explicit images or ‘revenge porn’, voyeurism and exploitation
  • Using pressure, force, intimidation, threats, deception and intoxication
Rape and sexual abuse does not always involve violence, cause an injury or leave visible marks. 

When is sexual misconduct a criminal offence?

Rape and sexual assault is serious. Remember, you are not to blame.

Sexual misconduct is a term used to describe a range of behaviours of a sexual nature for the purpose of disciplinary proceedings. However, sexual misconduct may also involve behaviours that could be criminal.

Therefore, it’s important to consider whether you want to make a report to the police at the earliest opportunity. We understand that this may feel daunting. Our priority is to ensure that you have the support and information that you need to decide what is right for you. You can find links to further advice through our guides.

If alleged sexual misconduct involves a student or staff member, an internal investigation will generally take place after the completion of a police investigation. However, it’s important that we know at the earliest opportunity so that we can support you through the investigation process and take any necessary precautionary measures. 


There are two ways you can tell us what happened