It can be very distressing if you have been accused of bullying, harassment, or sexual misconduct. All those involved in a complaint will be treated fairly and offered advice and support, and the university’s procedures adhere to the principles of ‘natural justice’.
What should I do?
- Think. Seek advice and support to understand the process, and the concerns raised. You may find it helpful to discuss the matter with one of the external professional support services.
- You may also ask questions about the procedure and process from the nominated contact person or investigator.
- Stop the behaviour that’s been complained about straight away. Do not contact the person who has made a report about you.
- Contacting someone after they raise concerns about your behaviour could be seen as intimidating or retaliatory, even if this is not your intent.
- You should also limit comments about the matter to other colleagues, classmates or on social media.
- Acting out when you may be upset, confused or angry can make matters worse.
- Listen carefully to the particular concerns expressed. It’s good practice to take time to reflect on the other person’s perception of your behaviour. Even if you feel that your behaviour was well-intentioned, your words or actions may have hurt or offended another person, and this may be thought of as an opportunity for learning, or perhaps for a change of approach.
What happens when something is reported?
The person making the report may request support and informal resolution options, and not wish for the matter to be formally investigated. If this occurs, it’s important for you to know that the university will not apply any penalty without a formal investigation.
However, you may be contacted about resolving the matter informally, for example, by participating in a mediation with the other person, or a request that you do not contact the other person anymore (a ‘No Contact Agreement’). These are not penalties and will not form part of your academic record.
If the report is formally investigated, you will be notified of the report and any concerns about your conduct.
The investigation will follow either the:
The investigation will follow either the:
- Student Misconduct Policy, if you are a student; OR,
- Staff Grievance or Disciplinary Policy, if you are a staff member.
If the concerns raised are of a serious nature, the university may put in place precautionary measures to ensure the safety of the King’s community while the investigation is carried out. These are not penalties, and do not mean that any decision has been reached.
The measures could include a No Contact Agreement, exclusion from specific locations or activities, or suspension of your studies/work. The university understands that this can be distressing and will only take these measures if they are considered urgent and necessary to ensure safety.
It is very important that you comply with any temporary measures, as breaching these may make the situation more serious. If the investigation finds that the concerns raised about you should be dismissed, these measures will be revoked.
The university recognises that every case is unique and will take into account the circumstances when determining any action.
However, during any investigation, you can expect:
- To be informed and kept up to date about the investigation process.
- To be treated fairly, with dignity and respect.
- To be informed of any concern or allegation against you.
- The opportunity to provide your version of events, and any evidence that you feel is relevant.
- Any decision to be unbiased and made by an impartial investigator.
- Decisions will be based on evidence, and an outcome will be reached on the balance of probabilities.
- The right to appeal the outcome of the investigation, if you are dissatisfied.
What about witnesses?
You should not contact any witnesses about the investigation yourself.
The investigator may contact any relevant and appropriate witnesses as part of their enquiry. If you believe there are other people who have information about what has happened, you should make a note of their names and provide this to the investigator.
What about the police?
The university’s procedures consider whether the university’s regulations may have been breached. The university does not make decisions about whether a criminal offence has occurred.
The university’s investigation is not a court of law and do not consider cases in the same way as a court, nor make decisions based on what a court may do in the same case.
- If a report has also been made to the police, the university’s investigation may be put on hold.
- The university will cooperate with police to ensure that any criminal matter is not jeopardised.
- The university may proceed with an internal investigation if the police say that it is ok for this to happen, or the police investigation or criminal proceedings are concluded.
You should be aware that the university may take temporary safeguarding measures to ensure the safety of the King’s community whilst any police investigation takes place.
There are a range of support options for you depending on whether you’re a student or a staff member: