Harassment Help

Harassment is any form of unwanted and unwelcome behaviour which may range from mildly unpleasant remarks to physical violence.

Sexual harassment occurs if the unwanted behaviours are linked to your gender or sexual orientation. The EU definition of sexual harassment is "unwanted conduct of a sexual nature or other conduct based on sex affecting the dignity of men and women at work".

Racial harassment is when the behaviours are linked to your skin colour, race, cultural background, etc. In countries with sectarian tradition (eg as in Ireland) the term sectarian harassment is often used if the behaviours are linked to your religious beliefs or perceived religious origin or inclination.

If the harassment is physical, the criminal law of assault may be appropriate. If the harassment comprises regular following, watching, repeated unsolicited contact or gifts, etc, the term stalking may be appropriate.

Discrimination is when you are treated differently (eg less favourably) because of your gender, race or disability.

Bullying is the common denominator of harassment, discrimination, abuse and violence etc. The source of most bullying and harassment can usually be traced to one individual. The differences between harassment and bullying are, briefly; harassment tends to have a strong physical component and is usually linked to gender, race, disability or physical violence; bullying tends to be a large number of incidents (individually trivial) over a long period comprising constant unjustified and unsubstantiated criticism.

Bullying and harassment (at work, in society, at school and at home) is a major cause of injury to health, both physical and mental. Over time, bullying and harassment result in trauma, which is a psychiatric injury, the collective symptoms of which often constitute Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.

If you think you might benefit from any service provided by Social Services and you would like us to contact you by phone or email, please click the following link and complete the Social Services Contact Us/Self Referral Online Form and someone will be in touch with you as soon as possible.

Areas of UK law that apply to harassment

The principal areas of UK law relating to harassment comprise:

  • Sex Discrimination Act 1975: discrimination on the grounds of sex by dismissing an employee or submitting them to "any other detriment"
  • Race Relations Act 1976: ditto on racial grounds
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1995: ditto on grounds of disability
  • Protection from Harassment Act 1996: harassment and stalking
  • Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994: intentional harassment for causing another person harassment, alarm or distress by using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour
  • Criminal law of assault


Thames Valley Police Emergency - 999

Thames Valley Police Non-Emergency - 08458 505505

It is an emergency if a crime is being committed, there is a risk of injury or a risk of serious damage to property. If you are reporting a non-emergency crime, or would like to give information to Thames Valley Police, please call the Thames Valley Police Non-Emergency number above.

Bully Online is the world's largest resource on bullying and related issues.

Men's Aid is a charity that offers advice and support to men who have been abused.

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Polish Punjabi Urdu
Modified: 2007-02-20
Published: Wed, 22 Jan 2014 11:30:42
Author: Eleanor Atack
Editor: zzzEleanor.Atack
RDCMS ID: 6766