Policy: Bullying and Harassment Policy
Author: Hayley Faulkner (Quality Director)
Review date: 20/08/2020
Next review date: 20/08/2021
Swift recognises that all employees have a right to work in an environment in which the dignity of individuals is respected and which is free from harassment and bullying. It is committed to eliminating intimidation in any form.
This Policy applies to harassment on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity marriage and civil partnership, gender reassignment, race, age, religion or belief, or disability.
Harassment breaches the Company's Equal Opportunities Policy and it is classified as a serious offence which may result in summary dismissal under the Disciplinary Procedure.
Bullying and harassment is not necessarily face to face, it may occur through written communications, visual images (for example pictures of a sexual nature or embarrassing photographs of colleagues), email, phone, and automatic supervision methods – such as computer recording of downtime from work, or recording of telephone conversations – if these are not universally applied to all workers.
Employees can complain of behaviour that they find offensive even if it is not directed at them.
1.1 For the purpose of this policy harassment is described as per the Equality Act 2010 as " The essential characteristic of harassment is that the action(s) is unwanted by the recipient. is “unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual”. The relevant protected characteristics are age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation
1.2 General Harassment
Harassment can take many forms and may be directed in particular against women and ethnic minorities or towards people because of their age, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability or some other characteristic. It may involve action, behaviour, comment or physical contact which is found objectionable or which causes offence; it can result in the recipient feeling threatened, humiliated or patronised and it can create an intimidating work environment. Harassment related to protected characteristics is specifically outlawed by the Equality Act 2010.
1.3 Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment can be defined as an uninvited, unreciprocated and unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature which is offensive to the person involved and causes that person to feel threatened, humiliated or embarrassed. Examples of sexual harassment are:
Supportive Welfare Impact Focused Trust
Supportive Welfare Impact Focused Trust
* requests for sexual favours, including implied or overt promises of preferential treatment or threats concerning present or future employment status;
* offensive gestures or comments, sexually-orientated jibes, innuendo or jokes and/or the display of sexually offensive visual material such as calendars, photographs, books or videos.
* unwanted physical contact;
Sexual harassment may be experienced by men or women as a result of the conduct of men or women. It applies equally regardless of grade or level of job and may also occur when dealing with external clients and/or members of the public.
Harassment of a sexual nature is specifically outlawed by the Equality Act 2010.
1.4 Racial or Sectarian Harassment
In the workplace, racial or sectarian harassment may take the form of actual or threatened physical abuse or it may involve offensive jokes, verbal abuse, language, graffiti or literature of a racist or sectarian nature or offensive remarks about a person's skin colour, physical characteristics or religion. It may also include repeated exclusion of a person from an ethnic or religious minority from conversations, patronising remarks, unfair allocation of work or pressure about the speed and/or quality of their work in a way which differs from the treatment of other employees. Harassment related to racial or sectarian characteristics is harassment due to protected characteristics and is specifically outlawed by the Equality Act 2010.
Bullying is the intimidation or belittling of someone through the misuse of power or position that leaves the recipient feeling hurt, upset, vulnerable or helpless. It is often inextricably linked to the areas of harassment described above.
The following are examples of bullying (not exhaustive):
• Unjustified criticism of an individual’s personal or professional performance, shouting at an individual, criticising an individual in front of others.
• Spreading malicious rumours or making malicious allegations.
• Intimidation or ridicule of individuals with disabilities and /or learning difficulties.
• Ignoring or excluding an individual from the team / Company
• insulting someone by word or behaviour
• copying memos that are critical about someone to others who do not need to know
• making threats or comments about job security without foundation
• deliberately undermining a competent worker by overloading and constant criticism
2. Responsibilities of Managers
2.1 Every manager has an obligation to prevent harassment / bullying and to take immediate action once it has been identified whether or not a complaint has been made.
2.2 Allegations of harassment or bullying received either informally or formally through the Grievance Procedure must be dealt with promptly and sensitively.
2.3 It is important that managers recognise that sexual harassment is any sexual advance unwanted by the recipient or behaviour that causes offence to the recipient. Similarly, racial harassment is behaviour that is racially offensive to the recipient. Managers must therefore take care to ensure that they do not pre-judge situations based on their own sexual or racial attitudes and perceptions.
2.4 It may not always be appropriate for a line manager to be involved with specific complaints. For example, if the complainant is male and wishes to speak to a male, but the manager is female, or, if the complaint relates to the conduct of the line manager. The procedure in Section 6 sets out the alternatives for such instances.
3. Responsibilities of Employees
3.1 Every employee has a personal responsibility NOT to harass or bully other members of staff.
3.2 An employee who becomes aware of harassment or bullying occurring should bring the matter to the attention of his/her manager.
4.1 An employee who feels that he/she has been harassed or bullied has a right to seek redress via the procedures set out below.
5.1 An employee who feels that he/she is being subjected to harassment or bullying may attempt to resolve the matter informally in the first instance. In some cases, it may be possible and sufficient for him/her to explain clearly to the person(s) engaged in the unwanted activities that the behaviour is unwelcome, that it offends or makes him/her uncomfortable.
• If at the initial informal discussion stage, the circumstances are too difficult or embarrassing to approach the harasser alone, the complainant may wish to be accompanied by a friend or colleague;
• the complainant may wish to write a letter to the harasser (research suggests this to be effective).
• the complainant should keep a record of any incidents, detailing when, where, what occurred, and witnesses (if any);
• in some cases, victims of harassment or bullying may not be sufficiently confident to tell the harasser that his or her behaviour is unacceptable. The Company emphasises therefore that staff are not required to approach the harasser in an attempt to resolve the problem informally and are entitled to report the matter immediately if they so wish.
5.2 Where the steps outlined in 5.1 above are unsuccessful or inappropriate, the complainant should raise the matter informally and in confidence with his/her manager. Alternatively, the matter may be raised with a senior manager of the same sex as the complainant.
5.3 If the complaint relates to the conduct of the complainant's manager, the complainant may choose to discuss the matter with his/her manager's line manager.
5.4 The Manager will discuss the matter with the complainant and agree a course of action. The complainant may be accompanied by a representative or colleague at these meetings. The alleged harasser will also have the right to state their version of events to the manager and to also be accompanied by a representative or colleague. The right to be accompanied at grievance hearings is set out in the Employment Relations Act 1999.
5.5 The complainant must be assured that he/she will not be discriminated against or victimised for raising the complaint. Confidentiality will be observed throughout and the need for any disclosure of the details of the case will be discussed and agreed.
5.6 At any stage of the process the complainant, the manager dealing with the complaint or the accused may feel that they need the help of an independent person before deciding on the best course of action. The Company will provide a network of persons who can give confidential advice and assistance. These individuals will generally be employees of the Company trained in harassment matters; however the Company will also maintain an individual who is external to the Company should that be more appropriate for the individual who requires assistance. The name and method of contact for these trained individuals can be supplied confidentially from the management.
5.7 If the situation cannot be resolved informally then the complainant has the right to pursue his or her complaint formally via the Company's Grievance Procedure.
5.8 Where management consider that there may be evidence of harassment, they may consider it appropriate to undertake a full investigation of the circumstances. In this case a manager not connected with the department involved, or an individual external to the Company will be commissioned to undertake this investigation. Best practice in relation to confidentiality will be maintained during this investigation; and both the complainant and alleged harasser will have the opportunity to have their say. The investigator will also interview and take statements from any appropriate witnesses to the alleged harassment.
5.9 Where there is evidence that harassment has occurred, prompt and corrective action will be taken, including disciplinary action where appropriate. Harassment is a serious offence that may result in summary dismissal.
6. Monitoring and Review
6.1 The Senior Management Team will be responsible for monitoring and reviewing the Policy.
6.2 Monitoring will include assessing how this policy is working in practice, reviewing it annually, and considering and taking action to address any issues
For the purposes of this policy, we use the widely recognised and understood term ‘victim’ for a child who has been subject to sexual violence and/or sexual harassment. Swift knows it is important that we recognise that not everyone who has been subjected to sexual violence and/or sexual harassment considers themselves a victim or would want to be described in this way, we will always be conscious of this when managing any incident and are prepared to use any term with which the individual child or young person is most comfortable.
Also, for the purpose of this policy, we use the widely used and recognised term ‘alleged perpetrator(s)’ and where appropriate ‘perpetrator(s)’.
When speaking in front of children and young people who may have been in this position, all Swift staff will use carefully selected words so as not to cause added distress or confusion, not least because in some cases the sexual behaviour will have been harmful to the perpetrator as well as the victim. The use of appropriate terminology is vital in the appropriate management of a disclosure or concern.
Sexual violence and sexual harassment can occur between two children of any age and sex from primary school, through to secondary stage and into colleges. It can occur through a group of children sexually assaulting or sexually harassing a single child or group of children.
Sexual violence and sexual harassment exist on a continuum and may overlap; they can occur online and face to face (both physically and verbally) and are never acceptable.
Swift maintains an attitude of ‘it could happen here’. We believe early intervention can help prevent problematic, abusive and/or violent behaviour in the future.
Children who are victims of sexual violence and sexual harassment, wherever it happens, will likely find the experience stressful and distressing, with the potential to adversely affect their educational attainment and will be exacerbated if the alleged perpetrator(s) attends the same school or college.
As set out in Part one of KCSIE, schools and colleges Swift is aware that safeguarding incidents and/or behaviours can be associated with factors outside the school or college, including intimate personal relationships, but it is essential that all victims are reassured that they are being taken seriously and that they will be supported and kept safe. A victim should never be given the impression that they are creating a problem by reporting sexual violence or sexual harassment. Nor should a victim ever me made to feel ashamed for making a report.
Along with providing support to children who are victims of sexual violence or sexual harassment, Swift aims to provide the alleged perpetrator(s) with an education, safeguarding support as appropriate and implement any disciplinary sanctions.
A child abusing another child may be a sign they have been abused themselves or a sign of wider issues that require addressing within the culture of the school or college. Taking disciplinary action and providing appropriate support, can, and should, occur at the same time if necessary.
Reports of sexual violence and sexual harassment are extremely complex to manage. It is essential that victims are protected, offered appropriate support and every effort made to ensure their education is not disrupted.
It is also important that other children and young people and Academy staff are supported and protected as appropriate.
Sexual violence and sexual abuse can happen anywhere, as previously stated, all Swift staff maintain an attitude of ‘it could happen here’.
All staff are aware of their duty to respond appropriately to all reports and concerns, including those outside the Academy, and or online.
All staff are aware that:
• There is a zero-tolerance approach to sexual violence and sexual harassment. It is never acceptable, it will not be tolerated and should never be passed off as “banter”, “just having a laugh”, “part of growing up” or “boys being boys”.
• Challenging physical behaviour (potentially criminal in nature), such as grabbing bottoms, breasts and genitalia, pulling down trousers, flicking bras and lifting up skirts is not acceptable.
• Dismissing or tolerating such behaviours risks normalising them
• Not recognising, acknowledging or understanding the scale of harassment and abuse and/or downplaying some behaviours related to abuse can lead to a culture of unacceptable behaviour, an unsafe environment and in worst case scenarios a culture that normalises abuse leading to children accepting it as normal and not coming forward to report it
• Understanding that all of the above can be driven by wider societal factors beyond the school and college, such as everyday sexist stereotypes and everyday sexist language.
• Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) are three times more likely to be abused than their peers.
• 13 Additional barriers can sometimes exist when recognising abuse in SEND children. These can include:
o assumptions that indicators of possible abuse such as behaviour, mood and injury relate to the child’s disability without further exploration
o the potential for children with SEND being disproportionately impacted by behaviours such as bullying and harassment, without outwardly showing any signs
o communication barriers and difficulties overcoming these barriers. Any reports of abuse involving children with SEND will therefore require close liaison with the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy)
• Children who are lesbian, gay, bi, or trans (LGBT) can be targeted by their peers. In some
Supportive Welfare Impact Focused Trust
Supportive Welfare Impact Focused Trust
cases, a child who is perceived by their peers to be LGBT (whether they are or not) can be just as vulnerable as children who identify as LGBT.
• That staff can be victims of sexual violence and sexual harassment.
• Swift has arrangements in place to protect staff from such abuse, including clear reporting and support mechanisms.
Sexual violence: child on child sexual violence
Swift understands that children can, and sometimes do, abuse their peers in this way and that it can happen both inside and outside of Academy. The term for this is child on child sexual violence.
For the purpose of this policy, when sexual violence is mentioned, we are referring to sexual offences under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
Sexual offences can be described as:
• Rape: A person (A) commits an offence of rape if: he intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person (B) with his penis, B does not consent to the penetration and A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
• Assault by Penetration: A person (A) commits an offence if: s/he intentionally penetrates the vagina or anus of another person (B) with a part of her/his body or anything else, the penetration is sexual, B does not consent to the penetration and A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
• Sexual Assault: A person (A) commits an offence of sexual assault if: s/he intentionally touches another person (B), the touching is sexual, B does not consent to the touching and A does not reasonably believe that B consents. It should be noted here that sexual assault covers a very wide range of behaviour so a single act of kissing someone without consent or touching someone’s bottom/breasts/genitalia without consent, can still constitute sexual assault.
• Causing someone to engage in sexual activity without consent: A person (A) commits an offence if: s/he intentionally causes another person (B) to engage in an activity, the activity is sexual, B does not consent to engaging in the activity, and A does not reasonably believe that B consents. This could include forcing someone to strip, touch themselves sexually, or to engage in sexual activity with a third party.
What is consent?
• Consent is about having the freedom and capacity to choose. Consent to sexual activity may be given to one sort of sexual activity but not another, e.g.to vaginal but not anal sex or penetration with conditions, such as wearing a condom.
• Consent can be withdrawn at any time during sexual activity and each time activity occurs. Someone consents to vaginal, anal or oral penetration only if s/he agrees by choice to that penetration and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice.
• A child under the age of 13 can never consent to any sexual activity
• The age of consent is 16
• Sexual intercourse without consent is rape.
Sexual harassment: child on child sexual harassment
For the purpose of this policy, when referring to sexual harassment we mean ‘unwanted conduct of a sexual nature’ that can occur online and offline and both inside and outside of the Academy.
The term for sexual harassment is child on child sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment is likely to:
• violate a child’s dignity
• make them feel intimidated, degraded or humiliated
• create a hostile, offensive or sexualised environment.
Sexual harassment can include:
• Sexual comments, such as:
o telling sexual stories
o making lewd comments
o making sexual remarks about clothes and appearance
o calling someone sexualised names
o sexual “jokes” or taunting
• Physical behaviour, such as:
o deliberately brushing against someone
o interfering with someone’s clothes
o displaying pictures, photos or drawings of a sexual nature
• Online sexual harassment, such as:
o consensual and non-consensual sharing of nude and semi-nude images and/or videos (It is a criminal offence to take and share nude photographs of children under the age of 18)
o sharing of unwanted explicit content
o upskirting (is a criminal offence)
o sexualised online bullying
o unwanted sexual comments and messages, including, on social media
o sexual exploitation
o coercion and threats
Swift has a duty of care to determine when these actions cross a line into sexual violence.
Harmful Sexual behaviour
Swift is aware that children’s sexual behaviour spans wide continuum, from normal and developmentally expected to inappropriate, problematic, abusive and violent.
Problematic, abusive and violent sexual behaviour is developmentally inappropriate and may cause developmental damage. The widely adopted umbrella term for this is “harmful sexual behaviour” (HSB).
HSB can occur online and/or face to face and can also occur simultaneously between the two.
An awareness of developmental behaviour is critical when considering HSB, with behaviour deemed harmful if there is more than 2 years difference in the ages of children/young people or if one of the children is pre-pubescent, and the other not.
Swift is aware that a younger child can abuse an older child, particularly if they have power over them, such as the other child has a disability or is smaller in stature.
Early intervention is key in reducing the risk of such behaviours escalating.
The Designated Safeguarding Lead will have a good understanding of HSB, with training refreshed every 3 years, or when legislation changes.
Extra familial harms
Safeguarding incidents and/or behaviours can be associated with factors outside the Academy and/or can occur between children outside of these environments.
At Swift, all staff, and in particular, the designated safeguarding lead (and deputies) will always consider whether the young people that attend the Academy are at risk of abuse or exploitation in situations outside their families.
Extra-familial harms take a variety of different forms and children can be vulnerable to multiple harms including (but not limited to):
• sexual exploitation
• criminal exploitation
• sexual abuse
• serious youth violence
• county lines
Technology is a significant component in many safeguarding and wellbeing issues. Children are at risk of abuse online as well as face to face.
In many cases abuse will take place concurrently via online channels and in daily life.
Children can also abuse their peers online; this can take the form of:
• abusive, harassing, and misogynistic messages
• the non-consensual sharing of indecent images, especially around chat groups
• the sharing of abusive images and pornography, to those who do not want to receive such content.
In all cases, if staff are unsure, they should always speak to the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy).
It is important that Swift provides as much information as possible as part of the referral process to the LADO or social care. This will allow any assessment to consider all the available evidence and enable a contextual approach to addressing such harm.
All Swift staff take part in mandatory safeguarding training on induction, and annually thereafter. Continued CPD takes place regularly to cover all aspects of safeguarding.
Swift has a statutory duty to:
• Safeguard and promote the welfare of the children in our care.
• Read and understand Keeping Children Safe in Education and Working Together to Safeguard Children
• Cooperate with safeguarding partnerships
• Have a behaviour policy, with measures in place to prevent all forms of bullying, including cyber bullying, prejudice-based and discriminatory bullying
Author: Jayne Hipkiss (approved by Jack Edwards, Academy Director)
Review date: 08/08/2022
Next review date: 08/08/2023
Authorisation by the Managing Director:
Name: Greg Morrall