Harassment Peer Support Network
The University of Reading is committed to providing a safe working environment free from harassment and bullying, supporting the rights of the University community to be treated with respect. As part of that commitment, the Harassment Peer Support Network of employee supporters provide a first point of contact for employees who are concerned about bullying and harassment.
The Harassment Peer Support Network is made up of employees of the University from any staff group who have volunteered their time to provide confidential support and information to colleagues who are experiencing unwanted behaviour, bullying or harassment. They are there to listen, talk through options available and, if appropriate, signpost to other sources of support and advice.
A member of the Harassment Peer Support Network will:
- Provide a supportive and confidential listening service outside of the formal University structure and services;
- Provide information on the various options open to people who feel they are experiencing harassment or other unwanted behaviour; and assist those seeking advice in thinking through the options, respecting the wishes of the employee;
- Signpost people to internal and external sources of advice and support;
- Provide similar support to those accused of harassment (although the same adviser would not support both the complainant and the alleged perpetrator);
- Deal with all cases with the utmost confidentiality except in cases where there is an unacceptable risk to a member of staff, student, or to the institution;
- Treat all colleagues with respect and dignity.
A member of the Harassment Peer Support Network will not;
- Decide or give a view about what behaviour constitutes discrimination or harassment;
- Provide counselling;
- Give legal advice;
- Offer ongoing emotional support;
- Approach the alleged harasser mediate or resolve the matter for the employee;
- Act as an advocate, or a representative; or
- be involved in any formal stage of the process, be it in writing the formal complaint, the investigation, disciplinary or grievance procedures, except by way of giving the complainant or alleged perpetrator the support they need during this time.
Who are the Harassment Peer Support Network and how can they be contacted?
Members of the Harassment Peer Support Network are drawn from across the University and are in a variety of different roles. They :
- Empathetic to people’s problems by being good listeners;
- Able to communicate clearly and effectively;
- Non-judgemental in their approach; and
- Able to provide objective support to staff experiencing harassment.
Monitoring and data protection
Volunteers of the Harassment Peer Support Network may need to meet with an employee more than once. To avoid the need to cover ground already discussed, with the agreement of the employee, they may make some notes at a meeting. Notes will be kept by the Harassment Peer Support Network volunteer and will where possible not record any personal details
Any notes taken will be stored confidentially. They will be retained for a period of six months after the final meeting after which they will be destroyed
For statistical purposes, information relating to complaints will be collated using a monitoring form and may be used in reports made for Diversity & Inclusion purposes and to senior management. This information is always anonymised and will not be presented or used in any way which identifies individuals that have accessed the network