Sexual Violence, Harassment and Misconduct Support Service
About the Service
The Sexual Violence, Harassment and Misconduct Support Service here at Aberystwyth University is in place to support students who have been affected by any form of sexual misconduct or violence. The service aims to provide a safe, supportive space, in which students can access support, feel heard and consider the options available to them.
The service includes a team of University Sexual Violence Liaison Officers (SVLOs) who are in place to support students, whatever their experience has been. Whether the sexual misconduct or violence has happened here in Aberystwyth or elsewhere or whether recent or sometime in the past.
They will treat every person with sensitivity and respect. Any way you choose to proceed will be fully respected. The team will support you on whatever path works best for you. They will handle your disclosure with confidentiality and will respect your decisions - they are here to listen and support you. They are a survivor-led team, which means they will listen and help you decide what you need going forward. They won’t make you report it to the police if that’s not what you want. They won’t make you share any details if you’re not ready to do that. They can help if you’re struggling with your studies and/or other aspects of your student experience, and can talk through the different support options available to you.
How does the Service Work?
The service is in place to offer non-judgemental support, ensuring that our students have the opportunity to explore options available to them in order that they can make decisions at their pace and which are right for them.
What to expect from the service:
- Listening to your story (as much or as little as you would like to share or feel able to)
- Help you explore the options that are available to you and support you to make an informed decision about what you may wish to do next
- Finding practical solutions to help you study (including support on extensions or special circumstances)
- Facilitating support so that you are kept safe and feel safe whilst at Aberystwyth University.
- Help you put together a plan of where you want to go next, and make sure that it supports your needs
- Helping you through the university complaints and misconduct processes.
How can a Sexual Violence Liaison Officer (SVLO) Help?
An SVLO can listen and discuss the options available to you through external services and within the university. Your appointed SVLO can also liaise with these external services and University staff where required and will provide ongoing 'wrap around' care and support.
You have access to support from an SVLO regardless of whether the sexual violence happened on- or off-campus, or if you were subjected to sexual violence before you came to Aberystwyth.
With your consent, they can help you with:
- Referrals to mental health and medical services
- Academic and accommodation adjustments
- Understanding the reporting options available to you
- Navigating systems and resources within the University
- Signposting support in the local area and online
People react and deal with sexual misconduct and/or violence in many different ways. Any way you choose to proceed will be fully respected.
We have put together some further information about your options and the next steps to take over on our ‘Get Support’ page.
How Can an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) help?
An ISVA provides emotional and practical support and advice to any student who has experienced sexual violence, recently or in the past. You can access them independent of our service or one of our SVLOs can help you in making contact.
- Provide information about the criminal justice process if you're considering reporting, and help you to make informed choices about what is right for you;
- Explain the University’s policies and procedures relating to sexual misconduct;
- Support you throughout the process of reporting;
- Provide information about your rights;
- Liaise with the police, the University, the Crown Prosecution Service and/or other relevant agencies;
- Accompany you to meetings relating to the sexual violence you have experienced;
- Give you practical support and advocacy with regards to other services (e.g. studies, sexual and physical health, mental health, etc.);
- Help you plan your safety and access appropriate support at the University or in your local area (e.g. Student Wellbeing, Local Counselling Services).
As a student support service we work confidentially, meaning we won't share anything that you tell us with your Academic Department, friends, family, or police without your explicit permission. There may be times, such as when a student or someone else is at significant risk of harm, where we need to think about sharing some information, but if this comes up we will discuss this with you first.
How do I get in touch?
To make an appointment, you can either;
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will find you a suitable advisor who will contact you direct. You do not need to provide any detail in your email.
Or, you can,
Submit a report to our Report and Support system at Report + Support - Aberystwyth University and a member of the team will contact you direct. The Report and Support system allows you to report with your contact details or anonymously.
The Sexual Violence and Misconduct Support Service is run by a team of six highly trained Sexual Violence Liaison Officers (SVLO) and an Independent Sexual Violence Adviser (ISVA)
Our SVLOs work in a variety of roles across our Student Services and Residence Life teams and are committed to supporting students in our community who have been affected by Student Violence or Misconduct.
Being accused of sexual violence or misconduct can be distressing and confusing. Although it is difficult to predict how the situation will unfold, it may be helpful to understand what will happen next and how your academic performance may be impacted.
The provision of practical support for reported students is provided by our Advice and Money team in Student Services with processes and systems in place to ensure that there are no conflicts of interest or overlap between reporting and reported staff or students.
Staff in the Advice and Money team will provide non-judgemental advice on the University’s discipline process, discuss practical steps, and signpost you to relevant support services. To receive this practical support please complete our university online reporting platform Report and Support where you will be contacted by an adviser.
You may experience intense and upsetting emotions and need support to manage these following an accusation of sexual violence or misconduct. Our student Wellbeing Service will be able to offer support around managing symptoms which may present as a result. Their dedicated webpages also provide information on additional support resources.
Why have I been reported for Sexual violence?
There are many reasons why individuals can be accused of sexual assault such as blurred lines around having sexual encounters while under the influence of alcohol or other substances, sexual miscommunication where consent is not clearly understood between both parties including communication around contraception for example.
The reality is many young adults are still learning how to communicate sexually, as well as how to give and receive consent that’s clear and direct. This can end up with someone being accused of sexual assault even when there was no intention to cause harm, regardless of whether your relationship is established or casual. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to complete our consent module which is available through your student blackboard and more information on this is available via Aberystwyth Students Union webpages.
If you are worried about your behaviour and want to change, we are committed to supporting you through that without judgement. By accepting this behaviour may be wrong, you’re taking responsibility and choosing to do better. You can arrange to speak with an adviser by emailing email@example.com.
Patterns of behaviours can be difficult to recognise if, for example, you have experienced traumas such as witnessing or experiencing violence yourself. The organisation Respect can support you in becoming aware of and taking control of potential undesirable behaviours https://respectphoneline.org.uk/help-for-perpetrators/ and ultimately, to stop.