How can you deal with online harassment
If you're being harassed online, or you know someone who is, you should follow the guidance below in tackling the situation. Avoid responding online.
'Don't feed the trolls'
It may be difficult, but it's always best to avoid getting into discussions online with the person who is posting abuse. Unfortunately, it's unlikely that you will be able to resolve things by responding - the person (or their persona) attacking you is often posting the messages just to get a reaction.
Reporting bullying and harassment to the University
Sheffield Hallam Support for staff
Line Manager / Head of Service or Department
If a member of staff is harassing another member of staff online or offline, you should report this to your Line Manager in the first instance. If your Line Manager is unavailable, you should report it to the Department's Manager or Head.
If you don't feel that you can speak to any of these people about the situation, you should report the issue to HR
Harassment is a disciplinary matter and will be treated in line with HR policy
You can find information about support options from Equality and Diversity
Report and Support
You can also report anonymously to Report and Support or you can report with personal details if you wish to be contacted to discuss options and support.
Sheffield Hallam Support for students
Student Conduct and Complaints
Bullying and harassment are against the Student Code of Conduct and are covered by the Student Anti-Harassment Policy you can formally report bullying and harassment by another student to firstname.lastname@example.org
Report and Support
If a student is harassing another student or a member of staff, or posting offensive material online you can report anonymously to Report and Support or you can report with personal details if you wish to be contacted to discuss options and support.
Student Advice Centre – Hallam Union
The Student Advice Centre is a designated Hate Crime Reporting Centre, they provide a free, confidential service to help support you if you feel you have been the victim of a hate crime or hate incident. They can help you report any incidents as either a victim or a witness.
We advise that you deal with social media harassment issues offline and in confidence, as quickly as possible. Only those who need to know should be told what is happening, and the situation should be dealt with sensitively.
Supporting others experiencing online harassment
While it's tempting to offer visible support online - for example, replying to messages on behalf of others, this is not advisable as you could end up becoming a victim of the harassment too.
Reporting messages to social media platforms, on behalf of others, is encouraged and can often strengthen the case for platforms to delete the offending accounts or content.
You can also point colleagues to the Confidential Care line and the Equality and Diversity Office so that they can get the support they need.
Support from social media providers
Some social media platforms offer the ability to delete (or hide) comments posted on your content. All platforms give you the option to report and block other users.
To remove comments on a personal profile, hover over the right of the comment, and click on the cross which appears.
If you want to remove comments from a Page, follow Facebook's instructions:
- How do I hide or delete a comment from a post on my Page?
- If you hide a post, the original poster and their friends can still see and respond to it; they won't be notified that it's been hidden
- Deleting posts removes them completely from Facebook - you can also ban users on pages from posting again
Facebook offer extensive advice including:
On Twitter you can't remove other people's comments but you can report tweets.
You can decide levels of access to your account - it can be Open (anyone can view and follow your account) or Protected (people have to be approved by you to follow your account, and your tweets can't be retweeted). You can also Mute or Block other people's accounts. If you Mute an account, you won't see their comments, but they can still see your posts. If you Block an account, you can't see their posts and they can't see yours (but note that if your account is open, they will be able to see your posts if they're not logged in).
- Snapchat Support (follow the link to Policies & Safety)
You may encounter fake profiles, which are set up using someone else's personal information and photos, to pretend to be that person online. These fake accounts may be used to 'friend' or communicate with your colleagues and friends, in order to get personal information, to ridicule you, or to damage your personal reputation.
You can report fake profiles to the relevant social media provider:
- Reporting fake profiles on Facebook
- Reporting fake profiles on LinkedIn
- Reporting fake profiles on Twitter
- Reporting fake profiles on Instagram
There are steps that you can take which will help to protect your accounts from being targeted.
- There is mandatory Cyber awareness training for all staff
- For Hallam IT regulations and policies (including acceptable use policy) please visit the Policies, Procedures and Guidance page.
- Alternatively, you can find more hints and tips about keeping yourself and the University safe on the IT Security blog.
In an emergency situation when you or someone else is at immediate risk dial 999. In a non-emergency situation you can call 101 or report online
National Bullying helpline
0300 323 0169
Acas (for bullying and harassment at work)
080816 89 111
National Stalking Helpline
0808 802 0300
Revenge Porn Helpline
0345 6000 459
Get safe online