The Best Student Life. Bristol SU

Bullying & Abuse

+ Types of Bullying & Abuse

Social and emotional: 
This can include things such as: [Read more]

- Leaving someone out on purpose
- Encouraging others not to be friends with you
- Spreading rumours and gossip
- Humiliating someone in front of others

Online bullying is often via social networking sites, messaging apps, gaming sites and chat rooms. It can include:

- Fake profiles
- Negative comments intended to cause distress
- Sharing personal information without permission
- Stalking
- Spreading fake rumours.

Verbal Bullying:
This can include:

- Teasing
- Making threats
- Using insults

Sexualised bullying: 
This is any behaviour, whether physical or non-physical, that is based on a person's sexuality or gender. It can include:

- Insults about sexuality or supposed promiscuity
- Pressuring you to engage in sexting, sharing of intimate images, texts and videos
- Inappropriate sexual remarks
- In its most extreme form, sexual assault or rape.


This can include:

- Pushing
- Punching
- Kicking
- Biting
- And any other form of physical violence.

This list above is not exhaustive and there can be plenty of other examples of bullying that can happen at university.

+ Bullying vs Banter

It can be hard to tell the difference between harmless chat (banter) intentionally hurtful behaviour. [Read more]

You can start by explaining to the person or people responsible that you don’t find the jokes funny. It's likely they won’t have realised that they’re hurting your feelings and they will stop. It’s always better to try and talk to them about it first, rather than staying silent.

The key thing here is that it is about how you feel. If you have told them to stop because you are uncomfortable, but they still do it, this is verbal bullying. Banter becomes bullying when it is:

  • Intended to insult and humiliate the other person
  • If it becomes regular and persistent
  • If they continue after they have been asked to stop

+ What to do

Talk to someone:
Try talking to a friend who’s not part of the situation. This way, you’ll be able to share your feelings and you might be able to get a new view on what’s happening. You can also speak to charities and helplines etc. There is more information about this support later on this page [Read more]

Academic Issues:
You can speak to us or your personal tutor is you are worried that the situation is affecting your studies.

University Complaint:

If you experience bullying or unacceptable behaviour, you make a complaint to the University:

Fill in the Student Complaint Form and submit it by email to the Student Complaints Officer at

Just Ask can help you with this.

For more information, including what happens after you submit the complaint, read the Student Guidance on unacceptable behaviour.

The most important thing is to talk to someone. The worst thing you can do is suffer in silence.

What other support is available?

Bullying UK offers useful information, Forums and a Helpline
0808 800 2222

University Counselling Service offers individual counselling, group counselling, workshops and self help resources

Ditch the Label offers useful Information, articles and research papers
01273 201129

Abuse and Violence in Relationships or  your Home

+What is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic abuse is where someone close to you, behaves towards you in a harmful way. [Read more]

“Abuse” or “violence” can be more than physical violence – it might be physical, mental, emotional, psychological, sexual, or financial.

It’s estimated that one in four women and one in six men will experience domestic abuse at some point in her life. Although this is a terrible statistic, it does show that if you are experiencing domestic abuse you are not alone. 

If you are experiencing, or have experienced, any of the following behaviours – please, please, speak to someone. This might be a friend, a Just Ask adviser, your personal tutor or one of the organisations we list below. The important thing is that someone knows what you are going through.

+ Behaviours

  • Physical attacks, such as slapping/punching, pulling hair, strangling or using weapons [Read more]
  • Humiliation, name calling or constant criticism
  • Imposing unreasonable rules, curfews or ultimatums
  • Controlling what you wear, who you see or how you look
  • Threatening you or those close to you (including friends, children or even pets)
  • Forcing you to take part in sexual acts you don’t like or don’t feel comfortable with
  • Controlling your money or access to money

These are not the only examples! The bottom line is that no-one should make you feel hurt, ashamed or uncomfortable.

+ What to Do:

Tell someone! Abusers thrive on isolating their victims: just by making someone aware of what is happening to you, you take away some of their power. [Read more]

A Just Ask adviser can listen to you in an impartial way and help you to weigh up your options. We can also support you if your studies are suffering as a result of the abuse.

If you live with the perpetrator, Shelter has some really useful advice on what to do and what to think about.

As ever, if you think you might be in danger or need emergency assistance, call 999.


What other support is available?