We know that violence against women and girls is all too prevalent.  Although anyone can be the victim of harassment and violence, these forms of abuse are disproportionally committed against women and girls, because they are women and girls.  It includes: sexual violence, domestic violence, stalking and harassment, FGM (female genital mutilation), forced marriage and so-called ‘honour-based violence’, trafficking and prostitution, and abuse of women and girls in online spaces. The perpetrators are usually men. 

Violence against women and girls occurs in every society, and women’s inequality due to other factors such as their social class, sexuality or sexual identity, ethnicity, disability, mental health and age makes them more likely to experience violence and less likely to access support. 

Gender-based violence is never the fault of the victim.  Responsibility always lies with the perpetrator. 

Everyone has the right to be safe and to be treated with dignity and respect.  We all have a responsibility to prevent violence against women and girls, with more work needed across many areas of public services and community life.  We need a culture shift away from framing the conversation as ‘how women can keep themselves safe’, with a stronger focus on prevention and appropriate access to support, for all those who need it.

If you or someone else has experienced sexual harassment or violence, you can use Queen Mary’s Report + Support pages to seek support from specialist services and/or make a report to the university.  

If you require emergency help, please call emergency services on 999. You can also report non-emergency crimes on 101.

If you require specialist support now, please see: 

  • National Stalking Helpline: offers information and guidance to anybody in the UK who is currently or has previously been affected by harassment or stalking through a freephone number and email facility – 0808 802 0300. (09:30-16:00 weekdays except for Wednesdays when it is open 13:00-16:00. The Helpline is not open on bank holidays).
  • Protection Against Stalking: specialist information and advice.
  • The Suzy Lamplugh Trust: stalking information and support service.
  • Victim Support: free and confidential support to help you deal with your experience, whether or not you report the crime. Also supports witnesses of crime – 0808 168 9111.
  • The Havens: are here to help you if you’ve been raped or sexually assaulted in the past 12 months.  You can call them on 020 3299 6900, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for an initial assessment and they will aim to see you within 90 minutes for an urgent forensic medical examination (FME).
    There are three Havens in London (Camberwell, Whitechapel and Paddington) and these are jointly funded by the NHS and Police. The medical and emotional support services are confidential. They will not tell anyone you’ve contacted or seen them unless you want them to. You can use any of their services without involving the Police.  The Havens also offer follow-up care, including counselling, tests and treatments. 
  • The National Rape Crisis helpline: provides support to women and girls aged 13+ who have survived any form of sexual violence, at any time in their lives.  Open every day of the year (including bank holidays) between 12.00 and 2.30 pm and 7.00 and 9.30 pm - 0808 802 9999.
  • Survivors UK: specialist support service for those who identify as male, trans, non-binary, has identified as male in the past, and have experienced sexual violence and/or abuse. They have an online/text/WhatsApp helpline service.
  • Galop: advice and support to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer people who have experienced sexual violence – 020 7704 2040.
  • Revenge Porn Helpline: the UK’s only service dedicated to supporting all adults who have been victim of intimate image abuse. They provide free, non-judgmental and confidential advice and support via email and phone – 0345 600 0459 (10.00am-4.00pm Monday to Friday).

We recognise that some people will feel unsafe at times and, understandably, may be looking for information on how to keep themselves safe.  
  • Safe and the City is a personal safety navigation app to route, share and rate your walks.
  • Women’s Aid’s has produced a Digital Stalking guide to protect yourself online.
  • WhatsApp users can choose to share their location temporarily with a contact.  Press the attachment button to the right of the text box and select "location" - this will share the location of the device, only with the person they are messaging, for a certain period of time, ranging from 15 minutes to eight hours.
  • On an Android phone, if the emergency location service is switched on (within settings, under the location tab), the device will automatically share its location with the emergency services during a call. An iPhone will automatically share its location once the emergency call is finished (this can be cancelled by the phone owner).
  • On most smartphones, the unlock screen will include an emergency call button without the need to unlock the device.  On some, pressing the on button and a volume key can also bring up a shortcut to 999.
  • Emergency contacts can be set up via the iPhone health app - and the people you choose will be notified if an emergency call is made.
We recognise that some people may want to speak out about their experiences of harassment, and may find these resources helpful: 
  • Hollaback!: a movement to end harassment in public spaces powered by local activists.
  • Report it to stop it: support to report unwanted sexual behaviour on public transport – text 61016 or call 101.

There are two ways you can tell us what happened