Safer Spaces Policy


All individuals are entitled to a working and studying environment which respects their personal dignity and which is free from objectionable conduct. 

(St Anne’s College Personal Harassment Policy and Procedure, C.3.1.1).


In the spring of 2014, St Anne’s Middle Common Room adopted the Safer Spaces policy as an enactment and enlargement of the Personal Harassment Policy and Procedure already in place at St Anne’s College. St Anne’s MCR was one of the first common rooms in the University, alongside Wadham and St Antony’s, to adopt such a policy.


The Safer Spaces policy acknowledges that sexual assault and sexual harassment are serious issues which affect people across cultures and communities. The objectives of the policy are:

  • to ensure that students feel safe and supported at MCR events and in MCR spaces;
  • to ensure that students have an avenue for concerns about and complaints of harassment, and that any complaints are handled effectively and constructively by the MCR and College;
  • to ensure that both MCR members and members of the College Welfare team, including the Head of Welfare, Dean, and Assistant Deans, have a clear understanding of the basis of the policy on harassment and assault at MCR events.


The MCR will only be a safer space if all members and any guests they might bring are fully aware of the policy and the College’s regulations for junior members. The Safer Spaces policy is designed to facilitate an environment of mutual respect without limiting personal freedoms and social interactions.


It is the responsibility of every member of the MCR to encourage and participate in making the MCR a safer space.

For more information, or to read the constitutional amendments outlining the Safer Spaces policy, click here.





What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault is intentionally touching someone else sexually without a reasonable belief in their consent (Sexual Offences Act 2003).


What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment includes unwanted or persistent advances of a sexual nature, or advances that cause the recipient to feel threatened; for example, unwanted sexual comments about a person’s body; persistent or aggressive invitations to engage in sexual activity.


What is general harassment?

General harassment includes verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual for reasons that may include (but are not restricted to) race, skin colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age or disability. General harassment can also include bullying, which occurs when any such behaviour creates an intimidating or offensive environment for employment, study or for social life and can occur even if offence is not intended.


If someone threatens to physically harm me, is that physical assault?

Yes. Even if someone threatens to use unlawful force, this can be considered physical assault.

Who can I approach if I have a concern?

You can approach any member of the College Welfare and Decanal Teams, including the Tutor for Graduates (Anne Mullen), the Dean (Don Porcelli), the Assistant Deans (Franziska Kohlt and TBA), the Assistant Dean for Welfare (Sneha Krishnan, the College Personal Harassment Advisors (Zoe Sparrowhawk, Professor Roger Crisp, Professor Kate Watkins, and Terry O’Shaughnessy), the College Nurse (Carolyn Ruhle), the College Counsellor (Ann Hart), the Lodge Porters, and the RSH Wardens.


What is a Safer Spaces Facilitator?

A Safer Spaces Facilitator is any member of the MCR Committee or general membership of the MCR who has undergone OUSU sexual consent training and have agreed to become Safer Spaces Facilitators. They are there to listen, to signpost, and to refer individuals on to the appropriate members of the Welfare and Decanal Teams.


How do I raise a concern?

Any member of the MCR who has experienced sexual assault, sexual harassment, general harassment, and physical assault and battery, or who has concerns about these issues which they wish to discuss informally, can approach a Safer Spaces Facilitator and/or members of the College Welfare and Decanal Team.

Individuals wishing to raise a concern may do any of the following:

  1. Seek support from a member of the College Welfare and Decanal Team;
  2. Make an informal complaint according to College’s Personal Harassment Policy and Procedure;
  3. Make a formal complaint according to College’s Personal Harassment Policy and Procedure.

What do I do in an emergency?

Any member the MCR or guest at an MCR event should contact the lodge or a warden as appropriate so that they may contact the authorities.

Laura Ludtke

Laura Ludtke is a D.Phil in English Literature.

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