FAQ: Initial/Harassment Advisor

FAQ: Initial/Harassment Advisor

FAQ for Staff

Contact Officer: Director of Personnel

Purpose
This series of questions and answers provides a brief overview of the confidential support available from Initial Harassment Advisors to members of staff and students who consider they may be experiencing harassment or bullying:

All about Initial/Harassment Advisors:
What’s an Initial/Harassment Advisor?
Where do I find an Initial Harassment Advisor?
How do I contact an Initial/Harassment Advisor?
How do I know which Initial/Harassment Advisor to choose?
Are there specialist Initial/Harassment Advisors if I’m being bullied in respect of something specific, e.g. age, gender, sexual orientation, religion?
Do I have to use an Initial/Harassment Advisor who is in my department/institute?
What happens if I want to change the Initial/Harassment Advisor I have been contacting?
What will happen when I contact/meet with an Initial/Harassment Advisor?
Is the information I provide to an Initial/Harassment Advisor passed on to anyone else?
Will I be asked to complete any forms when I meet with an Initial/Harassment Advisor?
Do I have to follow the advice I’m given by an Initial/Harassment Advisor?

Guidelines / Frequently Asked Questions

What’s an Initial/Harassment Advisor?
They are members of staff who are volunteers and have been trained to provide a confidential initial support and information service to university staff and students who consider they may be experiencing harassment or bullying. Back to top.

Where do I find an Initial/Harassment Advisor?
If you are a staff member details can be provided by the Personnel Department, and you will also find a list on the Personnel Web pages.
If you are a student, you’ll find the list on the SOLE pages; Student Services or the Students Union can also provide details. Back to top.

How do I contact an Initial/Harassment Advisor?
The list of Initial/Harassment Advisors provides individual telephone and email contact details, and you can then decide how you would prefer to make contact. Back to top.

How do I know which Initial/Harassment Advisor to choose?
Each Initial/Harassment Advisor will have a short biography against their name on the list, which is there to help you make this decision. Some of the Advisors will have indicated that they have knowledge or expertise in respect of a specific area, for example: religion or sexual orientation issues, and again this will help you in making a decision on whom to contact for support and advice given the circumstances. Back to top.

Are there specialist Initial/Harassment Advisors if I’m being bullied in respect of something specific, e.g. age, sex, sexual orientation, religion?
Initial/Harassment Advisors will discuss any aspect of harassment and bullying and what you perceive may be behind the behaviour or remarks. Some Initial/Harassment Advisors may have specific expertise in an area, you will find this information within their biographies. Back to top.

Do I have to use an Initial/Harassment Advisor who is in my department/institute?
The choice of Initial/Harassment Advisor is entirely down to you in the first instance. Very occasionally you may find that an Initial/Harassment Advisor is not available and will signpost you on to someone else on the list, or they may feel that you would benefit from the specific expertise of someone else. Back to top.

What happens if I want to change the Initial/Harassment Advisor I have been contacting?
As in any relationship, sometimes we simply find it easier to build a rapport with one person more than another. An Initial/Harassment Advisor will usually ask if you have seen someone previously regarding your concerns. You may even find that the original Initial/Harassment Advisor comes back to you to find out if you are OK, and whether or not you need any further help and support. Simply explain that you have contacted another Initial/Harassment Advisor who is now dealing with your case. Back to top.

What will happen when I contact/meet with an Initial/Harassment Advisor?
First of all an Initial/Harassment Advisor will ask you to provide them with details about the incidents which have occurred, including details about the alleged harasser/bully, dates, times and places when the incident(s) took place, background information on the type(s) of incident, e.g. bullying, harassment etc, and whether it was in respect of a particular issue, e.g. sex, age, race, religion. They will then provide you with advice on the options you have available to you in dealing with the incident(s), informally or formally. Back to top.

Is the information I provide to an Initial/Harassment Advisor passed on to anyone else?
If you raise something which is so serious e.g. it’s illegal, or your safety is at risk, then in those circumstance the Initial/Harassment Advisor would advise you that they will be contacting the Director of Personnel immediately in respect of the issues you have raised. Back to top.

Will I be asked to complete any forms when I meet with an Initial/Harassment Advisor?
No, but the Initial/Harassment Advisor will complete a monitoring form which records generic information about you, the alleged harasser/bully and the incident(s). Nobody can be directly identified from this information. The information goes to the Director of Personnel, who will report to the Diversity and Equality Committee on the number of cases raised within a given period. The information also helps the University identify trends which emerge, for example several cases in one department may indicate the need for further investigation. Back to top.

Do I have to follow the advice I’m given by an Initial/Harassment Advisor?
Initial/harassment Advisors offer advice and signposting, it is entirely up to you the individual if you want to follow this or not. In some circumstances an individual may simply want to discuss a situation but not take any further action at this stage. Back to top.

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Associated Documents
Staff Grievance [Word] and Disciplinary Policy and Procedure [Word] 
Whistle blowing Policy and Procedure [Word]

Date Approved 12.01.12
Approval Authority Director of Personnel

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