Criminal and disciplinary proceedings

Sexual assault, harassment and hate crime can be treated as either criminal or disciplinary offences, depending on how the victim/survivor wishes to proceed. Due to new guidance published in 2016, universities may now investigate potentially criminal misconduct offences under their own disciplinary proceedings in the following cases:

  • Where the victim/survivor does not wish to report the incident to the police;
  • Where criminal proceedings have concluded.

Criminal proceedings

If the victim/survivor wishes to report the incident to the police, the University can help them to do so. Student Welfare Advice and Guidance can support students through the process: contact them on 0151 795 7879 or advice@liverpool.ac.uk

Where the incident is being dealt with as a criminal matter, the police will investigate whether there is enough evidence to bring the matter to a trial. If it goes to trial, the jury will decide whether it is beyond reasonable doubt that the alleged perpetrator committed the offence. If they are found guilty, the courts could impose criminal penalties, such as fines, community service or jail.

Where criminal proceedings against a student are ongoing, the University will not take disciplinary action until criminal proceedings have concluded. In order to ensure the safety of all parties, the University will convene a Risk Assessment Panel under Appendix H of the Policy on Student Conduct and Discipline and may impose precautionary measures such as a temporary suspension until criminal proceedings have concluded.

Disciplinary proceedings

If the victim/survivor does not wish to report the incident to the police, they may wish the University to take action instead. The University does not have the power to investigate crimes, but it does have the power to investigate breaches of its Policy on Student Conduct and Discipline in cases where the alleged perpetrator is a UoL student. If the victim/survivor wishes the University to investigate a student's conduct, they can make a complaint which will trigger an investigation. Should there be sufficient evidence for the matter to be taken to a Board of Discipline, the Board will decide whether, on the balance of probabilities, the alleged perpetrator committed the offence. If they are found guilty, the Board of Discipline can issue a range of sanctions depending upon the nature of the offence. Indicative sanctions for non-academic offences can be found in Appendix I of the Policy on Student Conduct and Discipline.

If you wish to make a complaint against another student or a member of staff, you can do so formally through the Student Complaints Policy and Procedure. Advice on making a complaint is available from Student Welfare Advice and Guidance. You can also seek independent advice and support throughout the complaints and/or disciplinary process through the Guild of Students.

If you've been accused

If you are a University of Liverpool student and have been accused of sexual assault, harassment or hate crime, you also have the right to seek support from the University or Guild of Students. See more here.

Contacts:

Student Welfare Advice and Guidance: advice@liverpool.ac.uk / 0151 795 7879

Guild Advice Service: guildadvice@liverpool.ac.uk / 0151 794 6868

You can read more about the 2017 changes to the Policy on Student Conduct and Discipline here.