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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge

Sexual assault: immediate help

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    If you have experienced sexual harassment and/or sexual violence, there is support available from the University of Cambridge and other organisations. You may have very mixed feelings about what happened, and whether to tell anyone. People can react very differently and this is normal. The following advice may help.

    Immediate help

    • Phone 999 if you feel you or someone else is in danger, or if you are injured.
    • You can go to, or phone, the Porters' Lodge (01223 762 100). The Porters may call the duty tutor or Senior Tutor, and can contact emergency services if necessary. Always inform the Porters as soon as possible if you have called 999 from within College so that they can assist.
    • If you want to preserve forensic evidence of an assault, you should contact the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) for advice. Avoid showering or changing your clothes until you have spoken to SARC. You can do this while you are still deciding whether you wish to report the matter – it will be helpful later if you do decide to report it. The nearest SARC is The Elms, Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon; 0800 193 5434 (out of hours); 01480 425 003. The College or the police can help with transport.
    • You can ask for an emergency appointment with the GP for contraceptive or sexual health advice.
    • There are useful guides from the University Sexual Assault and Harassment Adviser (SAHA).


    If you are no longer in immediate danger

    You may want to talk through what your options are. It is very common to feel confused or unsure about what to do and it can help to clarify your options with someone else. But you should not feel pressurised to act in any way. There is a useful leaflet from the SAHA.

    People who can offer guidance on the available options, including whether and how to report an incident, include:


    Deciding whether and where to report an incident

    Sexual assault and rape are criminal offences. Students seeking advice from the College or the University will be supported to come to an informed decision as to whether to report such an incident to the police. If the student decides not to report the incident to the police, neither the College nor the University will require them to do so. No inferences will be drawn from the student’s decision not to report the incident to the police.

    In exceptional circumstances, where there appears to be a significant or immediate risk to members of the College, the University or the wider community, the Senior Tutor may refer the matter to the police. The Senior Tutor will, in all but exceptional circumstances, inform the student making the complaint of their intention to report the matter to the police, and their reasons, before doing so.

    If a student does not wish to report the incident to the police, the College will provide advice and support to them in pursuing any route that they choose: it is best for students to discuss their options with their Tutor, Deputy Senior Tutor, or Senior Tutor (who is the College Discrimination and Harassment Contact).

    A student can make a complaint against: 

    • A student from Murray Edwards College or from a different College through the University Disciplinary or Harassment Procedures. Normally the College advises students to raise complaints of sexual misconduct through the University because the College does not have the resources nor capacity to undertake a complete investigation. Nor does it have the jurisdiction to investigate a student from another College.
    • An employee of the College (whether this person is a Fellow or a member of staff) through the College's Staff Disciplinary Procedures.
    • A person not employed by the College but working for it (e.g. supervisor, external Director of Studies, non-employed Fellow) through the College Disciplinary Procedures; currently the Senior Disciplinary Procedures (under review). The College has limited jurisdiction over such people so penalties cannot be as severe as those imposed on an employee.
    • A person employed by the University through the University HR Disciplinary or Harassment Procedures.

    Whichever route a student chooses to take, they will be supported by the College in going through the procedures.

    If, at any stage, a student making a complaint feels they are being disadvantaged or suffering reprisal from any member of College, including the person about whom they have made the complaint, as a result of having made that complaint, they should seek advice and guidance from the Senior Tutor or another senior member of the College.