Cambridge is a great place to go to university and is a fairly secure place to be. However, as safe as the college system may feel, it is not immune to crime. It is still important to take good care of yourself and your possessions, to ensure that you don’t become a victim of crime.
Wherever possible, avoid walking around Cambridge alone at night. If it is unavoidable, contact the porter’s lodge before setting off. The Queens’ porters can be contacted on 01223 335500, and if necessary they can come and meet you in town and walk you back to college. You can also contact the porters at any of the other colleges if you need help getting home safely. If the only safe way home is by taxi, keep a receipt and the college can reimburse you. You can also get a personal alarm from CUSU if you would like to carry one with you.
These are the numbers and links to two main taxi companies in Cambridge, but you can always go to a taxi rank to take one without prior booking:
Panther Taxis (Tel: 01223 715715 / Web: http://www.panthertaxis.co.uk)
CamCab (Tel: 01223 704704 / Web: http://www.camcab.co.uk/)
Drink spiking is not common but does occur in Cambridge. Make sure to never leave your drink unattended, regardless of your gender, and don’t accept drinks that you haven’t seen poured. Very occasionally spiking can happen within a college environment (eg formal hall or bar), and if this happens you should tell the college porter immediately. You should report any incidents to the senior tutor so that they can be addressed, even if this happens in another college.
If you suspect that your drink has been spiked, you should seek immediate medical attention and inform someone straight away so that you can be looked after appropriately, as you might feel dizzy and/or sick. In bars, you can inform any member of staff, and in clubs, you can talk to a bouncer. If in doubt, you can call the Porter’s Lodge who will assist you however they can.
Theft, criminal damage and burglary account for a large proportion of crimes against students, with most student rooms containing laptops, mobile phones or digital cameras making the accommodation prime targets.
If you have been affected by crime, help is always available. Take a look at the Student Advice page on how to report a crime (https://www.studentadvice.cam.ac.uk/welfare/personalsafety/) to the police for more details. Alternatively, you can always call Crimestoppers on 0800555111. This is an anonymous service, so no-one will ever know that you made the call, you will not have to make a statement, and you will not have to appear in court. You can also drop into the Parkside Police Station for immediate help.
There will be information about ensuring your possessions and locking up your bike, as well as reporting crimes and victim support during Freshers’ Week. If you need support throughout the year, you can talk to a college parent, one of the welfare officers, or anyone on the JCR committee. If need be, you can contact the CUSU Welfare and Rights Officer, Christine Pungong, or the CUSU Disabilities Officer, Emrys Travis.
If you think a theft has taken place within College, the best place to go is always the Porters’ Lodge. The porters will call the police if needed and can make sure that any necessary gates are opened to allow access for emergency vehicles. If you need help contacting the porters or want support talking to the police, you can contact any of the welfare advisors, Rvd Harling, Dr Kelly, or any of the JCR committee members.
Unfortunately, bikes are frequently stolen in Cambridge, and it still remains the primary way that individuals get a criminal record in Cambridge. At Queens’ we have ample storage space for bikes on our main site. Bikes locked up on college grounds very rarely go missing, so always lock your bike up in College overnight. You will need to register your bike with the Porter’s Lodge, and they will give you a green label to make sure your bike clearly belongs in the bike shed. If your bike is stolen, report the theft to College and to the police (https://www.cambs.police.uk/). They will want to know details about the bike, for example, the frame number. This should all be recorded on the registration form which you hand into the porter’s when you first bring a bike into college.
Bikes left around Cambridge, at faculty buildings and at the station, in particular, are more vulnerable. Wherever you leave your bike, make sure it is locked up with a good quality lock. Always lock the frame of the bike to a solid post, because if you only lock the wheel up, a thief may remove the wheel and take the bike. Try to use a D-lock or another similar lock with a sturdy frame.
Sexual assault and harassment
Unfortunately, sexual assault and harassment is prevalent on university campuses nationwide and across the world. The CSEW estimated that 20% of women and 4% of men have experienced some type of sexual assault since the age of 16 in 2017 (https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/articles/sexualoffencesinenglandandwales/yearendingmarch2017#main-points), and in 2018, a study on sexual violence in universities found that nearly one in ten female students will have been seriously sexually assaulted since starting university (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/02/universities-rape-epidemic-sexual-assault-students).
If you have been sexually assaulted or harassed, the most important thing to know is that there are people here to help you. Queens’ takes sexual assault and harassment very seriously, and there are multiple options to make sure that your wellbeing is a priority. You can get immediate help from any of the college porters at the Porter’s Lodge, day or night. You can talk to the college nurse, Alex Green, during her open office hours, or to any of the welfare advisors (Emily Farrar and Anna Reali), including Reverend Tim Harling (located in Cloister 2). Dr James Kelly is the senior tutor, and he can be contacted by any Queens’ student for support. Everyone also has an academic tutor that you can get in contact with if you feel that the assault is affecting your studies (list of tutors is on the Queens’ website https://www.queens.cam.ac.uk/life-at-queens/student-welfare/tutors).
Reporting sexual assault and harassment
There are three key ways to address sexual assault and harassment issues. These are not comprehensive, but provide a brief outline as to what options are available:
You can report the assault to college. Revd Tim Harling is the sexual assault and harassment advisor for Queens’, and will be able to step in to support reporting the assault where appropriate. The Dean of College, in collaboration with the Senior Tutor and the President of College, decides what disciplinary method is most appropriate.
This is mainly for issues within College. For cross-collegiate incidents, reporting it to college may help you get the support you need.
The most important thing for college and for everyone in the JCR is the victim’s welfare. This means that nothing will be officially filed or documented unless you give your explicit consent, and all meetings with the welfare team are confidential. You can contact Anna Reali or Emily Farrar (the welfare advisors), the college nurse Alex Green, or any relevant member of the JCR committee for support.
This entails a multitude of university-level procedures. The options are outlined on the webpage (https://www.studentcomplaints.admin.cam.ac.uk/harassment-sexual-misconduct). Here, you can report students or staff, anonymously report sexual harassment and sexual misconduct (https://www.studentcomplaints.admin.cam.ac.uk/harassment-sexual-misconduct/reporting-harassment-bullying-discrimination-or-sexual-misconduct), find resources for prevention and support, and find details as to the code of conduct.
When the code of conduct is violated, can be reported to OSCCA. This can be a lengthy process, and details of it are outlined in a guide on the OSCCA page (https://www.studentcomplaints.admin.cam.ac.uk/files/staff_guide_to_cases_of_student_harassment_sexual_misconduct_0.pdf). This reporting process can be used cross-colleges, and between staff and students.
If you do not want to formally report someone, but want the incident to be recognised on the university level, you can use the anonymous reporting system (https://www.studentcomplaints.admin.cam.ac.uk/anonymous-reporting) that has been recently introduced. Here, you can give details of the sexual assault or harassment without giving personal identification details.
Another option is to go through the police. The college recommends contacting the Porter’s Lodge first if you want to call the police, as otherwise, police officers will come onto the site in full uniform, which might be traumatic for all parties involved. However, the Cambridgeshire Police forces have specially trained police officers to deal with crimes of sexual violence.
When someone contacts the police to report a sexual assault, the duty police officer will call out a specially trained officer who will then carry out the investigation. At the police station, the person reporting the attack will be interviewed (and a statement will be produced) and a medical examination performed. The person involved has the right to have a friend with them while giving a statement. For more information, see the Rape Crisis webpage on reporting incidents to the police (https://rapecrisis.org.uk/reportingtothepolice_1.php). Revd Tim Harling knows how the police operate, so if you have further questions about this part of the process, please contact him.
It is worth noting that for this option, you will need evidence adhering to the criminal standard of proof. This involves visiting a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) or rape crisis centre and giving a statement to police. The nearest rape crisis centre is The Elms (https://www.theelmssarc.org/) in Huntingdon. Also, the university will not process a university sexual harassment complaint at the same time as a police investigation.
The critical thing with sexual assault and harassment is personal welfare. For this, there are plenty of resources available. One port of call is the college welfare team, the college nurse, or the college porters. If you feel more comfortable talking to a fellow student, you can contact one of the JCR welfare officers (Joy Hunter and Tom Chesworth), the women’s officer (Alex Ajioka), or the vice-president external (Tom Mayer) who manages JCR welfare roles.
University Counselling Service (UCS)
There is a specialist centre for rape victims as part of the UCS (https://www.counselling.cam.ac.uk/sexual-assault-and-harassment-advisor). You can request a specifically trained counsellor, and they will try to get you an appointment as soon as possible
Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre
This is a helpline service run by women, for women who have survived or are currently experiencing sexual violence. The helpline is also open for family, friends and professionals who are supporting a survivor. Email support is available at: email@example.com, or go to the website (http://cambridgerapecrisis.org.uk/about-us).
Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs)
The nearest SARC is Hinchingbrooke Hospital (http://www.theelmssarc.org/). These centres are available to any victim of sexual assault, regardless of whether you have reported the assault or not. They can offer medical examinations as well as counselling.
The most important thing to note about sexual assault and harassment is that there is support available no matter how big or small you feel the incident is. There are many people here to support you and your wellbeing in the best way for you, regardless of who you are.
- Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre (http://www.cambridgerapecrisis.org.uk/) – confidential support for women and girls who have experienced rape, childhood sexual abuse or any other form of sexual violence. Helpline: 01223 245888
- Survivors UK (http://www.survivors.org/) – for male survivors of sexual abuse. Helpline: 020 3598 3898
- NHS (https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sexual-health/help-after-rape-and-sexual-assault/) – NHS guidelines for support after a sexual assault
- Student Advice (https://www.studentadvice.cam.ac.uk/welfare/crime/) – the section on support after a sexual assault has links to counselling services around the Cambridge area
Hate crimes are crimes motivated and carried out based on a certain identity marker, eg race, religion, gender, or sexuality. If you think you have been a victim of a hate crime, you can get support whether you choose to report the crime or not. If you want to report it, you can contact to the local police, and more information on how to do this can be found at this website: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/law-and-courts/discrimination/hate-crime/how-to-report-a-hate-incident-or-hate-crime/. If you need support during this process, you can contact any of the welfare advisors, including Rvd Harling and Dr Kelly.
It is also important that you get the support that you need. If you want counselling support, you can go through the University Counselling Service (UCS website: https://www.counselling.cam.ac.uk/), and you can also request a BME counsellor if this is helpful to you. You can get informal support from any relevant JCR committee member, including but not limited to, the BME Officer (Iman Khakoo), the LGBT+ Officer (Ryan Montgomery), the Women’s Officer (Alex Ajioka) and the Disabilities Officer (Alice Wenban). You can also get support from the CUSU Executive Officers who will be able to support you through official report filing if need be.