Sexual Harassment Prevention & Protection

UWI, Mona - Zero Tolerance

The University of the West Indies (The UWI) is an equal opportunity institution. Accordingly, sexual harassment, an aspect of gender discrimination and of violence, is expressly prohibited and will not be tolerated. The UWI is committed to ensuring and maintaining a safe and healthy educational and work environment which is free from sexual harassment.

The UWI will reflect this policy of non-tolerance of sexual harassment in the oversight of its students, employees, persons under its independent service arrangements, other persons who provide academic services to The University, as well as to its contractual agreements, independent service arrangements and its interaction with members of the public.


What is Sexual Harassment?

According to the Sexual Harassment (Protection and Prevention) Act (2021), sexual harassment is defined as "any conduct or behavior that constitutes unwanted and unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature by one person toward another".

Types of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment can take many forms — both verbal and non-verbal. Here are the main types:

  • Physical: Unwanted touching, hugging, kissing, groping, etc.
  • Verbal: Offensive comments about appearance, sexual jokes, insults based on sex. "Compliments" can also be harassment.
  • Non-verbal: Suggestive gestures, winks, leering.
  • Psychological: Intimidation, persistent unwanted advances, sexual innuendo.
  • Cyber: Sharing sexual content or sending explicit messages via online platforms.
  • Written/Visual: Distributing pornography or written sexual content.
  • Quid Pro Quo: Trading sexual favors for job benefits or public services.
  • Stalking: Obsessive following, contact, and watching someone, either physically or online.
  • Voyeurism: Spying on someone in a private space without their knowledge.

Remember, acts or comments of a sexual nature, not intended to harass, can constitute sexual harassment if another person feels uncomfortable with such subjects. Claiming to not understand or failing to know that an act is harassing, does not mean that it is not in fact, sexual harassment.

Reporting Procedures

A sexual harassment complaint may be initiated via telephone, in-person (i. e. drop in/by appointment) or via a third party who was not directly involved with the sexual advance being reported.  Communications about an incident(s) of sexual harassment can be informal (consultation) or formal (complaint) based on the wishes of the reporting party. All sexual harassment complaints shall be confidential. The procedures for each of these avenues are outlined in the Trauma – informed sexual harassment complaints protocol.

An abbreviated complaints procedure is provided here. Your Student Sexual Harassment Peer Advisor (SSHPA), Faculty Sexual Harassment Focal Point (SHFP) or the Sexual Harassment Complaints Coordinator (SHCC) in the Office of the Campus Registrar, are all available to assist you in making a confidential complaint.

  1. Complaint received by Sexual Harassment Complaints Coordinator; Student Peer Advisor; Staff Focal Point; walk-in; WhatsApp; Telephone
  2. Sexual Harassment Complaints Coordinator informs complainant of the informal & formal procedures for staff & students. Respondent advised of the nature of the complaint with complainant’s permission. Psychosocial support is offered.

Filing Sexual Harassment Complaints

Any member of the University Community may make an allegation of sexual harassment to a Sexual Harassment Focal Point (SHFP), the Sexual Harassment Complaints Coordinator (SHCC), or directly to the Campus Registrar, stating that he or she believes that sexual harassment has occurred, either against himself or herself, or with respect to another member of the University Community.

An allegation of sexual harassment may be filed within six years of the occurrence of the alleged incident of sexual harassment.

Report a Complaint

False Sexual Harassment Complaints

A person who knowingly makes a false sexual harassment complaint to The University may be subject to disciplinary proceedings in accordance with established University procedures for misconduct. A person who knowingly makes a false complaint before the Tribunal, under section 27 of the 2021 ACT commits an offence.

A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and shall, on summary conviction in a Parish Court, be liable to a fine not exceeding one million dollars or, in default of payment thereof, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months

Important Contacts

Some Key Terms You Should Know

  • Abuse of power - the improper use of a position of influence, power or authority against another person, including actions that create an intimidating, offensive or a hostile living, working, or academic environment
  • Consensual relationship – a romantic and/or intimate and/or sexual involvement based on a mutual agreement of both parties.
  • Conciliation – the settlement of the issue usually after the complainant and respondent have undergone mediation.
  • Complainant – a person who alleges that she/he has been sexually harassed by making a sexual harassment allegation or complaint to The University of the West Indies through established procedures.
  • Consultation - the process by which an individual may seek clarification or advice on matters pertaining to sexual harassment.
  • False representation – report or statement made with the knowledge that it is untrue.
  • Mediation – a confidential and voluntary process aimed at arriving at a mutually agreed settlement at which the parties are facilitated by a person certified for this purpose, whether from the University or externally.
  • Member of the University Community means any person who is employed by The University of the West Indies as academic staff, non-academic staff, or who provides academic services to The University of the West-Indies, and any person who is a registered student of The University of the West Indies, or who is entitled to be so registered, but whose registration is pending and, for the purposes of this Policy, includes any person who has been awarded a degree by, or otherwise left The University of the West Indies during the previous six years of lodging a sexual harassment complaint.
  • Mentoring – the process by which a person who has been involved in an incident of sexual harassment is given individual guidance/supervision/direction and ongoing education with respect to issues relating to sexual harassment.
  • Power - can be defined in a general way as “the ability to act or produce an effect,” as well as more specifically, the “possession of control, authority or influence over others” (Merriam–Webster online dictionary, 2009). The capacity to act or influence others to act in a certain way (Oxford Dictionary of Organizational Behaviour, 2019) Respondent – a person whose alleged conduct is the subject of a sexual harassment complaint.
  • Retaliation – any action taken by a respondent, or any other person not connected to the sexual harassment complaint, against a complainant or third party to penalise the latter (complainant and/or third party) for participating in any process related to the pursuit of a sexual harassment complaint.
  • Sexual advance - includes any one or more of the following acts, forms of conduct or behaviour, namely— (a) physical contact of a sexual nature; (b) a demand or request for sex or for favours of a sexual nature; (c) the making of sexual suggestions, remarks or innuendos; (d) the showing of pornography or the display of images or objects of a sexual nature; and (e) any other physical, gestural, verbal, non-verbal or visual conduct of a sexual nature.