Logo Kanton Bern / Canton de BerneUniversities of Bern Counselling Centre

Sexual harassment

Have you or someone close to you been affected by sexually intrusive behaviour? Or are you unsure what exactly counts as sexual harassment? You can find helpful information on the topic here. You are also welcome to arrange a counselling session with us – free of charge and confidential.

Sexually harassing statements and actions violate the personal privacy of the persons affected by them. They can have drastic consequences and are prohibited by law. Nevertheless, there are people who commit sexual violence – whether inside or outside the university environment.  

What is sexual harassment?

Feelings of insecurity and consequences

Many people seeking advice ask themselves questions such as:

  • Have I correctly perceived and/or interpreted the behaviour that made me uncomfortable? 
  • Is what I experienced sexual harassment? 
  • Did I contribute to the assault with my behaviour, did I do something wrong?

Do not let any uncertainties prevent you from seeking help. Talk to people you trust or get professional advice and support from us or other professionals.

Sexual harassment has psychological and sometimes physical consequences. It hampers equal opportunities in the workplace and in studies, can impair the work performance of the persons affected and jeopardise their employment or their degree.

What to do in the event of sexual harassment?

Contact points at the Universities of Bern

University of Bern

The portal of the University of Bern provides information and various contact points in the event of sexual harassment:

Bern University of Applied Sciences

The Bern University of Applied Sciences offers information and helpful links on its website in the event of sexual harassment. Our counselling centre is listed as an external contact, but there are also responsible offices within the BFH: 

Bern University of Teacher Education 

The PHBern intranet contains a link to us, the counselling service of the Universities of Bern. Students of the Bern University of Teacher Education can contact us. Together we will discuss how to proceed in the event of sexual harassment – free of charge and in confidence. 

Further information and counselling options

The website of the campaign «Someone who gets too close goes too far!» offers information on sexual harassment supported by various universities:

If you are employed in the German–speaking part of Switzerland, you can access professional and confidential online initial counselling on the topic of sexual and sexist harassment in the workplace at belästigt.ch. The portal also contains information, videos, case studies, tips and addresses:

Our counselling and support

The counselling service of the Universities of Bern is also there for you in the event of sexual harassment or suspicion of such. We will support and advise you in particular if... 

  • you have been sexually harassed at a university or outside of it
  • you are wondering whether what you have experienced is sexual harassment
  • you have experienced sexual harassment as a third party, e.g. as a witness or supervisor
  • you are wondering if you have sexually harassed someone 
  • someone has accused you of sexual harassment

The contact person for this topic in our team is Ms Mirjam Zeiter.

You can register by telephone or on site at our administrative office. Your concerns will of course be treated confidentially. Our psychological counsellors are bound by professional secrecy.  

Cantonal regulations in cases of sexual harassment

In the event of confirmed suspicion of sexual harassment, the following cantonal administration processes apply in principle to the Universities of Bern:

  • Counselling services (overview) 

  • Discrimination

  • Gender and sexual diversity

  • Legal advice

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