HE Dealing with Unacceptable Behaviour, Harassment or Sexual Misconduct Policy

1. Introduction

  • 1.1. Harassment and sexual misconduct are unacceptable behaviours and contrary to the Equality Act 2010 and the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, and to the British Academy of Jewellery’ (BAJ’S) ethos. No member of the BAJ community is expected to tolerate such unacceptable behaviour whether by a member of the BAJ community, or by a third party such as a supplier or visitor to BAJ, or a member of the public. This policy has been developed in line with the expectations of the Office for Students and seeks to ensure that BAJ students, staff and the wider BAJ community are protected from harassment and sexual misconduct. It should be understood that this policy also includes harassment and sexual misconduct undertaken through any medium, including for example online.
  • 1.2. Any issues raised under these regulations will be dealt with promptly, sympathetically and with respect for privacy and confidentiality. Information will only be disclosed to other parties as is necessary for the investigation of a case, or for safeguarding reasons, or as required by law, or as is required by the relevant professional, regulatory or statutory body.

2. Purpose

  • 2.1. This policy applies if concern is raised about unacceptable behaviour. It is designed to make sure that we take appropriate action in the best interests of the students, the public and the profession.

3. Scope

  • 3.1. This policy applies to all Higher Education provision offered by the British Academy of Jewellery. This also applies to any sub-contractual provision.
  • 3.2. Harassment as defined by Section 26 of the Equality Act 2010) includes unwanted behaviour or conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment because of, or connected to, one or more of the following protected characteristics:
    • Age
    • Disability
    • Gender reassignment
    • Marriage and civil partnerships
    • Pregnancy and maternity
    • Race
    • Religion or belief
    • Sex
    • Sexual orientation
  • 3.3. Harassment includes domestic violence and abuse (which can also involve control, coercion, threats), stalking and hate crimes, such as those criminal offences which are perceived by the victim to be motivated by hostility or prejudice.
  • 3.4. BAJ also considers harassment to include any incidents of physical violence towards another person(s) on the basis of a protected characteristic, and hate crimes, such as those criminal offences which are perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice, based on a person’s disability or perceived disability; race or perceived race; or religion or perceived religion; or sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation or transgender identity or perceived transgender identity.
  • 3.5. Sexual misconduct relates to all unwanted conduct of a sexual nature. This includes but is not limited to:
    • Sexual harassment (as defined by Section 26 (2) of the Equality Act 2010).
    • Unwanted conduct which creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment (as defined by the Equality Act 2010).
    • Assault (as defined by the Sexual Offences Act 2003).
    • Rape (as defined by the Sexual Offences Act 2003).
    • Physical unwanted sexual advances (as set out by the Equality and Human Rights Commission: Sexual harassment and the law, 2017)2
    • Intimidation, or promising resources or benefits in return for sexual favours (as set out by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC): Sexual harassment and the law, 2017).
    • Distributing private and personal explicit images or video footage of an individual without their consent (as defined by the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015).
    • Voyeurism (as defined by the Voyeurism (Offences) Act 2019).
  • 3.6. As outlined in the EHRC guidance on freedom of expression published in February 2019, exposure to course materials that students might find offensive or unacceptable is unlikely to constitute harassment.

4. Related documents

  • BAJ HE Student Complaints Policy
  • BAJ HE Terms and Conditions of Admissions and Enrolment 
  • BAJ HE Student Disciplinary Policy
  • BAJ Fitness to Study Policy
  • BAJ HE Academic Misconduct Policy
  • Personal Harassment Policy and Procedure
  • BAJ HE Student Charter

5. Responsibilities

  • 5.1. The Principal has overall responsibility for the policy but has delegated day-to-day responsibility for overseeing its implementation to the staff identified. All relevant members of staff have been made aware of the procedure and have received appropriate training.
  • 5.2. All staff and students have a responsibility to ensure a working and studying environment where everyone is treated with equal respect and dignity. Each member of the BAJ community is expected to contribute to preventing unacceptable behaviours, including harassment or sexual misconduct through self-awareness and by modelling positive behaviour for others and raising concerns.
  • 5.3. The Student Support and Welfare Officer is responsible for ensuring appropriate support and advice are available for students disclosing or reporting incidents under this policy and students against whom allegations are made. Advice and support are also available through the Chaplaincy and BAJ Safeguarding Leads.
  • 5.4. The Safeguarding Team are responsible for ensuring appropriate record-keeping for all matters pertaining to safeguarding.
  • 5.5. Student Services are responsible for reporting to the Academic Board annually on the effectiveness of this policy and for ensuring that periodic reviews are carried out, including ensuring there is consultation with students through standing Committees.

6. Risk analysis

  • 6.1. This policy is required to ensure that any impact on a student’s fitness to study is fairly evaluated and supported by the institution as bound by UK legislation. This policy is dependent on the issue communicated by the student and the evidence provided.

Analyse risks of non-adherence to this policy

  • 6.2. Failure to adhere to this policy could lead to academic failure of students, complaints and in extreme cases, legal action with regard to the Equality Act 2010 and the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

Staff and student training needed

  • 6.3. Training will be made available to staff and students on an ongoing basis to raise awareness of harassment and sexual misconduct with the purpose of preventing incidents and enabling effective reporting should they occur.

7. Data protection

  • 7.1. BAJ complies with the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation Data Protection Act, 2018. As such, applicants’ and student data are treated as confidential by all staff involved in this process and is not divulged unnecessarily or inappropriately. However, the Act requires BAJ to release certain information to UK authorities upon request in order to assist those authorities with the prevention and detection of fraud or other crimes. We will release the requested information on receipt of an appropriate request from UK authorities such as (but not limited to) the police, the Home Office (for immigration and related matters), local authorities, and the Department for Work and Pensions. We may use anonymised data collected for the purpose of fulfilling statistical and reporting requirements

8. Procedure

  • 8.1. If you feel you are being harassed, bullied or are the victim of any other form of unacceptable behaviour which distresses you, you do not have to put up with it, and you are not to blame. There are several ways in which you can deal with the problem, from simply saying that you find someone’s behaviour unacceptable and asking them to stop, to making a formal complaint which could result in criminal action.
  • 8.2. Incidents of alleged unacceptable behaviour are best and usually sorted out informally if it is a one-off occurrence or is not considered serious and we encourage this wherever possible. The person who is causing you distress may not be aware that you find their behaviour offensive or intimidating and a simple explanation may be enough to deal with the matter. Students are encouraged to speak to the Student Support and Welfare Officer. BAJ recognises it is for the person affected to determine the preferred pathway for resolution, and that engaging in informal resolution is not a barrier to bringing a formal complaint at a later time. If you feel it is not appropriate, or you would prefer not to tackle the problem informally, you can start formal procedures straight-away.
  • 8.3. You should keep a written record of the incidents that have caused you distress including the time, date, place and a full description of what happened, including the names of the people concerned and the names of any witnesses.
  • 8.4. We also encourage you to act promptly. Try not to wait until the situation is so unbearable that you feel you must leave BAJ or that your personal wellbeing is at risk. The Student Council will give you help and protect your interests in trying to deal with the problem.
  • 8.5. Any complaints you make of alleged unacceptable behaviour, and any investigation, no matter what the result, will not affect your ability to continue your course of study. However, if we find out that any complaint is malicious or made for reasons which are not genuine, we may take disciplinary action.
  • 8.6. We will maintain confidentiality wherever possible in dealing with cases of alleged unacceptable behaviour. This means we will only release information on a ‘need-to-know’ basis.
  • 8.7. You may ask us to keep your name anonymous when making a complaint of alleged unacceptable behaviour, but this may prevent us from taking any action and liaising with the police or other bodies.

9. Where to get support and advice

  • 9.1. You should contact the Student Support and Welfare Officer (HEStudentServices@baj.ac.uk) who provides guidance and help to all our registered students. They can give you independent advice and support. The Student Support and Welfare Officer is professionally trained and experienced personnel to support your mental health and wellbeing. They use a referral service when necessary. The service is confidential, and you can make an appointment to see a counsellor via the Student Support and Welfare Officer. You can find contact details for Student Support and Welfare Officer services, as well as other sources of advice and support in your student handbook, Student Charter and on our website. Further resources are available from the Office for Students.
  • 9.2. However, if you feel your personal safety is at risk, act immediately. You should report these incidents immediately to BAJ reception. Harassment and Sexual; misconduct are criminal offences, and your case may be taken up by the Police and dealt with in the criminal courts.
  • 9.3. Whether or not this is the case, we will give you appropriate advice and support. This will be available from the Student Support and Welfare Officer and Welfare Officer Team. We will normally suspend the person you say has committed the offence, in line with the conditions of our staff and student disciplinary procedures. Our actions will be informed by guidance sought from the Police.
  • 9.4. If you prefer to resolve the situation formally, or if the situation is so severe that dealing with it informally is not appropriate, you can make a formal complaint. If the alleged harasser is a member of staff, you should use our student complaints procedure. If the complaint is about another student, you should use our student disciplinary procedure. You can find both in the ‘rules, regulations and procedures for students’ document and online. We may be able to extend the normal three-month time limit for sending in complaints under the dignity at work and study policy, depending on current laws.
  • 9.5. If you make a complaint of harassment or sexual misconduct, you can complain to a senior member of staff of your own sex. In these cases, you should approach the Student Support and Welfare Officer to identify an appropriate manager. When we receive a formal complaint, the investigating manager will send a written acknowledgement, telling you where you can get advice and support.
  • 9.6. We will treat any complaint raised with a member of management very seriously and keep a careful, accurate record of the complaint.
  • 9.7. At this stage we would offer counselling and further support to the victim.
  • 9.8. We will investigate the matter to see how best we can resolve the complaint, considering all available facts. Depending on the outcome of the investigation, the investigating manager will decide whether the best course of action is to:
    • take no further action – where the facts of the case suggest the complaint cannot be proved, felt to be unjustified or the evidence is not sufficiently clear;
    • hold a conciliation meeting – where we believe that a meeting between the two sides, accompanied by appropriate members of management, could lead to a satisfactory solution;
    • arrange counselling or training for the alleged offender – where we feel this will correct the behaviour or sort the situation out; or
    • take disciplinary action – if the facts of the case suggest that disciplinary action is appropriate. If the alleged offender is a member of staff, the investigating manager will refer the case to the Human Resources Department at BAJ. If the alleged offender is a student, the investigating manager will refer the case to the Principal.
  • 9.9. Any disciplinary action will reflect how serious the offence is. We will take this action in line with the appropriate disciplinary procedures for staff or students. We will treat incidents of harassment and sexual misconduct as gross misconduct in the case of staff. This may result in dismissing them. If a student is involved, we will treat the incidents as misconduct, which may result in them being suspended or expelled.
  • 9.10. BAJ will not tolerate any form of victimisation against anyone who has raised a complaint or supported a complaint, or for cooperating in an investigation, or challenging unacceptable behaviour, or in each case is believed to have or is believed to be likely to take such steps. We treat any resulting victimisation or retaliation by the offender as a highly serious matter. If this happens, the behaviour will be fully investigated and dealt with in accordance with the BAJ HE Student Disciplinary Policy.

10. Interim measures

  • 10.1. Following a report, or a disclosure that requires an investigation, BAJ may determine it necessary to introduce interim measures. This could be where it believes there is a danger to the person who disclosed or to anyone else. BAJ will consider how best to respond sensitively to all parties of the BAJ community who may be impacted by the case. This will be achieved through a risk assessment to consider the academic, welfare and support needs of the parties, and any interim measures necessary to ensure a fair and transparent investigation, where appropriate.
  • 10.2. Any interim measures will be appropriate to the nature of the risk(s) being managed. Interim measures may include alternative study arrangements, provision of support or a recommendation to partially or fully suspend a student during this time.

11. False bad faith, or misleading reports

  • 11.1. While rare, the possibility of false, bad faith or misleading reports is recognised. Submitting a complaint that is not in good faith or providing false or misleading information in any investigation of complaints is prohibited. If a complaint is found to be false, misleading or in bad faith, it will be dealt with in accordance with the Student Disciplinary Policy.

12. Appeals

  • 12.1. A student whom we take any action against will have the right to appeal to the BAJ Board. Details are available in the BAJ Complaints Policy.

13. More information

  • 13.1. This procedure will also apply when dealing with complaints of alleged unacceptable behaviour, harassment or sexual misconduct made by staff if a student is involved.
  • 13.2. This procedure will apply equally to cases of alleged unacceptable behaviour, harassment or sexual misconduct by, or of, groups of students as well as individuals.
  • 13.3. The decision to act to deal with a case of alleged unacceptable behaviour, harassment or sexual misconduct normally rests with the individual concerned. However, senior managers have the right to begin an investigation without someone having made a complaint.

Originator: Quality Manager: Higher Education

Issue: HE/AFS_V2 2023

Approved: SMT September 2023

Review Date: August 2024

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