Sexual harassment is any kind of unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature that makes you feel humiliated or intimidated, or that creates a hostile environment.

When someone calls you insulting sexual names, talks about you in a sexual way that makes you feel uncomfortable (like commenting on your body), or spreads sexual rumours about you, that’s sexual harassment. It can happen in person, over the phone, or online.

Sexual harassment can make you feel anxious, depressed and lead to other problems, such as difficulty sleeping.

Verbal harassment

Verbal harassment might include someone making sexually suggestive comments to you. For example remarking on your body or appearance, or name calling.

Sexual jokes

If you’re subjected to sexual jokes that make you feel uncomfortable, offended or intimidated, this counts as sexual harassment.

Sexual advances

Unwanted sexual advances are a form of sexual harassment. This might include ‘leering’ or unwanted and inappropriate sexual propositions, whether in person, over the phone, by email or online.

Experiencing sexual harassment at work can create a stressful and hostile working environment, particularly if you’re harassed by someone who works closely with you.

If you’re sexually harassed by someone at work, you may feel intimidated or anxious about going to work.

Sexual harassment is a form of unlawful discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.

If you experience sexual harassment at work, you can report it to your manager, HR representative or trade union. It’s a good idea to keep a record of any emails you send or receive regarding the harassment as these may help if you make a claim.

Anyone can be subjected to unwanted sexual behaviour. If you contact Victim Support for help we’ll believe you, and any support you receive will be confidential.

This means if you’ve experienced sexual harassment but don’t want to disclose your sexual orientation or gender identity, you don’t have to.

Experiencing sexual harassment can affect you in many different ways, both emotionally and physically.

You may feel intimidated, distressed, lacking in self-esteem and self-confidence. You may experience low mood or depression, anxiety, stress, embarrassment, fear, and feeling unsafe. Physical symptoms may include feeling unwell or sleep problems.

Everyone reacts differently to sexual violence, so whatever you’re feeling is normal and valid.

If you need support to cope or move forward from your experience, you can contact us anytime, day or night. Our service are free and confidential. We will listen with compassion and never judge you.

If possible, try to keep a record of your experiences of harassment including dates, times and details of what happened, in case you decide to report it.

If the harassment happens at your place of work, you can report it to your manager, HR team or trade union to take action. You can also speak to the Equality Advisory and Support Service for independent advice.

If you’re in danger, call the police on 999.

If sexual harassment escalates into violence, threats or sexual assault, you can report this to the police by calling 101 or contacting your local police force. Whether you report a crime to the police is entirely up to you.

You can also contact Victim Support and we can explain all the options available to you and support you through your journey.

No matter what the situation is, sexual harassment is never OK and it isn’t your fault.

If you’ve been subjected to unwanted sexual behaviour, you can contact Victim Support for free and confidential help.

We can explain all the options available to you. You don’t have to face this alone.

We have more information on how we can support you after sexual violence.

When you report a crime to the police, they should automatically ask if you’d like help from an organisation like Victim Support. But anyone affected by crime can contact us directly – you don’t need to talk to the police to get our help.

You can get in touch by:

You can also create a free account on My Support Space – an online resource with interactive guides to help you manage the impact crime has had on you.

If English is not your first language and you’d like support, call our Supportline and let us know which language you speak. We’ll call you back with an interpreter as soon as possible. We also welcome calls via Relay UK and SignLive (BSL).

Families and friends affected by crime can also contact us for support and information. If you’re a child or young person under 18 and are looking for support, visit our children and young people website for information and tips.

If you’ve been raped or sexually assaulted, it was not your fault - no matter the circumstances. Find out how you can get help.

Stalking is fixated, obsessive, unwanted and repeated behaviour that makes you feel pestered and harassed.