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Student Support


What is the University Sexual Harassment and Violence Advisor (SHVA)?

The SHVA is a specialist advisor who provides emotional and practical support to anyone who has been raped, sexually assaulted, or harassed, recently or in the past. We can support you whether this happened at University or not, and can help you to access other available support services. The SHVA can support you to explore your options for reporting what has happened and can support you through this process if you do choose to go ahead.  The SHVA service is not counselling or therapy, but can offer you focused, short term, emotional support to look at managing the impact of what has happened. You do not have to report your experience to access support from the SHVA . 

Arranging an appointment

To arrange an SHVA appointment at UCS please complete a 'Pre-SHVA Form' on our secure website. You do not need to give long answers; you can also put "I would prefer to talk about this in person" or “Prefer not to say”, if it is difficult to write about. 

It can be submitted securely to the Counselling Service online; you will need your Raven password to use this facility.

Please be aware that the online form requires completion within a 3hr time frame for security, after which it automatically shuts down (you may want to save your data in case the session is close to expiring).  We also recommend, that you do not send the form from a mobile phone.

You can also contact the SHVA by email:

Please be aware that currently the SHVA service only accepts self-referrals from students.

Below is a summary of the SHVA service 

Emotional support, including:

  • Supporting you to understand and manage the impact of sexual violence.
  • Enabling you to develop positive coping strategies.
  • Helping you to re-build your self-esteem and trust in yourself and others.  

Practical support, including:

  • Providing you with impartial information and support around your options for reporting both within the University and externally.
  • Supporting you through any reporting process you choose to engage with.
  • Signposting and referring you to appropriate support services both within the University and externally.

Talking about experiences of sexual assault and harassment can be very difficult and we understand that it may feel daunting to access the service. The SHVA has a lot of experience in dealing with issues around sexual assault and harassment and will be able to provide a safe and sensitive space for you to discuss your feelings and thoughts. The SHVA is NOT a counselling or therapy service, but does provide emotional support around what has happened, and you are able to access the counselling service as well.  If you are unsure about something that has happened and think it might be sexual assault or harassment then you are welcome to access the service and explore this with the SHVA .
We have information about further resources and support, including self-help information on this website - follow the Self Help link here or on the left.

Will it be confidential?

The SHVA support is confidential, which means your situation will not be discussed with anyone outside the Service, unless we have your consent to do so. Exceptions to this rule apply only if there are legal or statutory obligations to disclose, or if there is a risk of serious harm to the client or to others. For more information about this please see our Confidentiality Policy.

Who is the Service for?

The Service is free and available to all undergraduate students in residence and graduate students on the register, including students of the Theological Colleges, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. Students who are intermitting from their studies may be referred to external services, their GPs or offered a limited service with a view to referral.
Again, if you are unsure about something that has happened and think it might be sexual assault or harassment then you are welcome to access the service and explore this with the SHVA .  Below is a non-exhaustive list of types of behaviour that would constitute rape, sexual assault and harassment.

  • making offensive comments about someone’s personal traits or assumed personal traits  
  • controlling or coercive behaviour  
  • physical misconduct (hitting, pushing, spitting, pulling hair etc)  
  • repeatedly following another person  
  • inappropriately showing sexual organs to someone  
  • inappropriate touching through clothes without consent  
  • kissing without consent  
  • sharing private sexual materials of another person without consent  
  • attempting to engage in sexual intercourse or a sexual act without consent  
  • engaging in sexual intercourse or a sexual act without consent 

Cambridge University resource on your options and detailed information on support available