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Sexual harassment

On this page, you can find out who to turn to if you have experienced sexual harassment. You can also find further information on consent, and training courses that can help associations to promote a safe environment.

Sexual harassment is any form of sexual behaviour that is perceived as unwanted or coerced by the person experiencing it. It is also known as sexually transgressive behaviour or sexual violence.

Examples of sexual harassment include:  

  • Physical contact that is against your will, such as unwanted touching, sexual assault or rape. 
  • Intimidating or transgressive comments or (online) messages.
  • Spreading sexually explicit images or messages without consent, or threatening to do so.

If you have been subjected to sexual harassment, you may experience feelings of shame and other unpleasant thoughts and emotions. It's perfectly normal to find it difficult to talk about your experiences and seek help, but it is very important that you do so.

Did it just happen and are you in danger or in need of medical care? Call 112

Sexual Assault Center

If you have experienced sexual harassment, you can always turn to the Sexual Assault Center. Here, professional counsellors are available 24/7 to listen to you and provide the care you need. They work closely with doctors, psychologists and the police and can put you in touch with the right sources of help. But only if this is what you want.

Call free of charge: 0800-0188
Available 24/7

Chat with the Sexual Assault Center
Mon-Fri from 16.00 till 06.00
Sat/Sun/national holidays from 20.00 till 06.00

The sooner the better – but it’s never too late

We recommend that you contact the Sexual Assault Center as soon as possible. This is important for your psychological recovery and also, in cases of sexual violence, to help prevent pregnancy, treat possible venereal diseases and secure evidence.

It is never too late to seek help. Even if the experience took place some time ago, you can still contact the Sexual Assault Center.

Insurance coverage

Not all insurance policies cover specialist care such as psychologist appointments. Check in advance what is included in your policy and if required, take out additional coverage. Visit the insurance page for further information.

In many cases, sexual harassment is punishable by law. You can therefore choose to contact the police, even if the experience took place some time ago.

When you contact the police, you will be put in touch with a staff member who is specially trained in this area. They will explain what to expect if you choose to report a crime, so you won’t encounter any surprises later. It’s then up to you if you want to file a report.

  • Slachtofferhulp Nederland (Victim Support Netherlands) offers a private online community through which you can share stories with other people who have experienced sexual harassment. The website is in Dutch but you can translate it with the Google Translate tool.
  • In November 2022, new peer support groups will be launched for Leiden University students who have experienced sexual harassment. If you feel the need to share your experiences with fellow survivors, you may find these groups helpful. The groups will meet at a location outside the university under the guidance of experienced staff members from Slachtofferhulp Nederland (Victim Support Netherlands). You can find dates and a registration form in this announcement

The staff of Rap 100 ‘Air your heart’ can offer a listening ear and help you to bring order to the things that are bothering you. All conversations are strictly confidential.

Call free of charge: 071 7440 165
Every day from 16.00 till 18.00, and from 20.00 till 22.00

Have you experienced sexual harassment and has this had a negative impact on your studies? Contact your study adviser or coordinator to discuss the progress of your studies. Or make an appointment with a student psychologist.

Have you been sexually harassed by a fellow student, lecturer or other university staff member? You can talk to the university’s Confidential Counsellor for Unacceptable Behaviour. They can offer advice and support, and discuss ways in which you could solve the problem or make an official complaint. The confidential counsellor can also refer you to right sources of care.

Are you concerned that a fellow student is exhibiting sexually transgressive behaviour, for example towards a fellow student? Contact the Advisory team for concerning or threatening behaviour.

Clear communication can help to prevent sexual harassment. Always explicitly ask for consent (permission). That way you can be sure that the other party agrees. Asking for consent can also be sexy: you can talk to each other about what you’d like to do. Consent can be withdrawn at any time, even if you have already started. Read more about consent on this flyer and the website of Our Bodies Our Voice, a foundation that works to prevent sexual harassment.

Would your study or student association like to learn more about consent, communication and a safe culture? Take part in a training course offered by Our Bodies Our Voice, a foundation that specialises in the prevention of sexual harassment. Training courses are subsidised by university. You can request more information by sending a mail to diversitytraining@BB.leidenuniv.nl.

Amnesty ‘Let’s talk about yes’ manifesto

On 10 March 2022, Leiden University signed the Amnesty International 'Let's talk about YES' manifesto. In doing so, the university pledged its commitment to preventing sexual harassment. Measures are also being taken to ensure that everyone within the university feels responsible for a culture in which sex is based on equality and consent.

Read more

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