The NCHP is committed to providing a welcoming, inclusive, and safe environment where all members of the NCHP and NSTT are treated with dignity and respect and are free from bullying and harassment. Therefore, the college takes any bullying and harassment incidents very seriously with neither tolerated within the college community.
This policy aims to provide a framework in which all members of the NCHP and NSTT who feel that they have been the subject of harassment or bullying can access appropriate support and address concerns. The NCHP and NSTT will address all reports seriously and fairly, upholding the rights and dignity of all those involved. This policy applies to all college and society members, including staff, officers, and associated tutors.
Understanding Bullying and Harassment:
Harassment and bullying can take many forms and may include sporadic events or continuing processes. We may more easily recognise when we are the person who feels we are the subject of bullying or harassment. However, it may be more challenging to consider when our feelings and beliefs about a person or group are causing behaviours or communications from us that others experience as bullying.
Bullying is not defined in law but is a complex phenomenon of unwanted offensive and malicious behaviour that undermines an individual or group through persistently negative attacks. There is typically an unpredictable and irrational abuse of power or position (or the perception thereof) that can manifest itself in physical, verbal, or non-verbal forms both online and offline. Bullying behaviour can undermine, patronise, humiliate, intimidate, or demean the recipient.
Harassment is unwanted behaviour that the recipient finds offensive or that makes them feel intimidated or humiliated. It can happen on its own or alongside other forms of discrimination. For example, unwanted behaviour might include spoken or written words or abuse, offensive emails, text messages, messages on online messaging platforms, tweets or comments on social networking sites, images and graffiti, physical gestures, facial expressions, or ‘jokes’ at the expense of a target and experienced as hurtful rather than humorous. The recipient does not need to have previously objected to something for it to be unwanted.
Harassment is also unlawful discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 because of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation. The Equality Act calls these features protected characteristics. Harassment because of one of these characteristics is harassment related to a protected characteristic.
Recipients need not possess the relevant characteristic themselves. However, they may be subjected to unacceptable behaviour because they are wrongly perceived to have a protected characteristic or because of their association with a person who has a protected characteristic. In addition, anyone within the college community has the right to complain about behaviour that they find offensive, even if not directed at them. Such behaviours may be verbal or non-verbal via traditional or online communications or physical actions.
For further information, see Easy Read: The Equality Act – making equality real – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
The NCHP commits to ensuring that:
- We take all reasonable steps to ensure that the college meets its obligations to eliminate and prevent harassment and bullying by addressing inappropriate behaviours and discussing concerns promptly to prevent issues from escalating.
- No member of the college community should feel threatened or intimidated on the grounds of their age; disability including physical impairments, long term health conditions, mental health concerns and learning difficulties; gender reassignment and gender identity; race and ethnicity; religion or belief; sex; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy, maternity, paternity, adoption, sexual orientation, or position within the NCHP or NSTT.
- All college community members are treated with respect and dignity by all other members. Harassment and bullying are unacceptable.
- Appropriate support exists for anyone involved in a reported harassment or bullying incident.
- The entire college community are made aware of this policy and their responsibility to comply.
- No college community member will be disadvantaged for reporting an incident or making a complaint in good faith. However, reports or complaints that are malicious or vexatious may lead to the involvement of the NCHP grievance/complaints/appeals procedure and the NCHP vexatious complaints policy.
Disclosure and Confidentiality:
As psychotherapists, trainers, and trainees of psychotherapy, we are committed to open communication that seeks to enhance the quality of human relationships. Bullying may not happen through conscious intention. Instead, it is often an indication that de-escalation of threat responses is required to promote a better understanding of conflict and differences between people within dynamic power differentials.
Sometimes this involves the courage and trust to both speak with a person whose behaviour is hurtful to us and listen to another who is saying our behaviour is causing them to hurt. Informal and constructive dialogue can facilitate learning and resolution of many incidents experienced as bullying if responded to quickly. Resolution at an early stage requires all parties to engage courageously and honestly with shared intentions towards better boundaries, understanding and respect.
No individual is under any obligation to report an incident of bullying or harassment. However, they are encouraged to seek help as soon as possible, obtain advice about possible options for action, and access appropriate support. Reporting can be to a tutor, officer, or the director of student experience.
NCHP operates strict confidentiality in reports of bullying and harassment. NCHP emphasises confidentiality when it is necessary to interview those involved or witnesses. Any breach of confidentiality may lead to a disciplinary process.
However, there are times when confidentiality is not possible under the Data Protection Act 1998, such as in the event of an identified risk or a criminal investigation where individuals may be required to give evidence. In addition, the director of student experience is made aware of reports of bullying or harassment as a matter of course.
Seeking Support and Advice:
Victims of bullying or harassment are encouraged to act promptly and should not wait until the situation becomes intolerable. If they believe they are being bullied or harassed, they can access support and advice from the director of student experience or the EDI lead.
If another member of the college community witnesses someone being bullied or harassed, they should also be encouraged to seek help using the same channels. NCHP and NSTT take measures to protect the personal safety of all involved. Where there is a threat to personal safety, this should be reported immediately to the director of student experience.
Several options are available to resolve an allegation of bullying or harassment, including informal resolution, mediation, making a formal grievance or complaint, or reporting an incident of harassment to the Police. Some resolve relatively simply and quickly, whilst others may require a more thorough response which can take some time. We consider the wishes of any recipient of bullying or harassment and the emotional impact of the incident.
NCHP informs all parties and considers reported incidents within the time limits set out in the grievance and complaints procedures, with due consideration to the rights and privacy of the complainant, those complained about, and any other individuals involved. Please read more about our grievances, complaints, appeals and equality, diversity and inclusion policies and procedures in the Questions About our Policies section on the NCHP website here:
Further Information, Advice and Support:
The contacts below are current at the date of the last amendment. However, please note that NCHP does not endorse or take responsibility for the information provided by external organisations.
Equality and Human Rights Commission
The Equality and Human Rights Commission is the statutory body responsible for protecting, enforcing, and promoting equality across nine protected characteristics — age, disability, gender, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, and sexual orientation — www.equalityhumanrights.com
National Bullying Helpline provides help and advice related to bullying or harassment in education/work – www.nationalbullyinghelpline.co.uk
The Samaritans provide free confidential emotional support 24/7 to those experiencing despair, distress, or suicidal feelings. (Phone numbers for local branches are online)
Victim Support provides free, confidential support to those affected by crime, including harassment. Call for free on 0808 1689111 or request support online via Home – Victim Support
Date of the last amendment to this document and ratification by The Academic Board 16/5/2022