Everyone has the right to live and work in an environment free from harassment, bullying, discrimination and hate crime.
If you have experienced harassment, discrimination, bullying or other unacceptable behaviour as part of your role or service experience with Devon County Council (including a service it commissions) you can tell us about your experience. You can do this anonymously if you wish or request further support (someone will get back to you):
If you are unable to access the online form above or prefer to use email, you can contact the Lead Officer for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Please note that the Lead Officer for EDI can complete the online report form on your behalf but they cannot help you make a complaint against Devon County Council (they need to remain impartial). In addition, the Lead Officer for EDI:
- does not investigate complaints, but can provide advice to officers managing the investigation process.
- can signpost you to our complaints procedure or other sources of support and information so that you can get the matter resolved.
- make general recommendations to services or the organisation as a whole.
Remember, it’s OK to say it’s not OK if you experience or witness harassment, hate or discrimination.
Knowing what is happening can help us understand the issues that people are facing and develop strategies to stop them happening again. You are protected by equality law to make a complaint in good faith about discrimination and not to be victimised as a result. If someone tells us that they have experienced harassment, hate or discrimination, we will treat the matter seriously and sensitively.
Guidance for DCC Staff
If you are a member of staff:
- and have experienced harassment, bullying or discrimination as part of your employment, please see the Acceptable Behaviour Policy. We encourage matters to be resolved informally where possible, if you are unable to resolve your matter informally you could use the Council’s Grievance Procedure. Please try to resolve your issue as soon as possible. You can use this process alongside reporting the issue through the incident report form above.
- and experienced harassment, abuse or discrimination by a service user / member of the public, please see the Unacceptable Customer Behaviour Policy and speak to your manager.
- and manage a DCC social media account, please log any incidents on social media here
Make a complaint - service user or member of the public
If you are a service user or member of the public and think you have been discriminated against by a Devon County Council service / member of staff you can make a formal complaint using the Council’s Complaints (Feedback) Process. This includes services that the County Council commissions or runs in partnership with other organisations.
Complaints about Councillors can be made to the County Solicitor. Please see further information on making a complaint about a Councillor.
Contact a national helpline for advice on discrimination / harassment and human rights issues
The EASS is a national helpline that advises and assists individuals on issues relating to equality and human rights. Check their ‘Resources’ and ‘Advice and Guidance’ sections and contact them if you need further support. The EASS cannot provide legal assistance but can signpost you if you are unsure where to get legal assistance from. Staff can use this service if they want completely independent advice.
Alternatively, local community organisations such as the Intercom Trust (LGBT), Plymouth and Devon Racial Equality Council, Devon Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Service, and Living Options Devon (disability) may be able to assist you.
If you are experiencing harassment in the community from other members of the public or neighbours, for example, please raise your concerns with the Police. If you require further support you may find Victim Support helpful.
Schools and school pupils
If your complaint is with a school, you will need to complain to the school directly, using their complaints or grievance procedure. Please see our guidance for schools for further information about bullying and prejudice/hate incident reporting.
Discrimination/harassment in the community - Hate Crimes and Incidents or Sexual Assault
Through the Safer Devon Partnership, we are working with partners to tackle prejudice and hate crime across Devon.
What is hate crime?
Hate crime is any offence committed against a person or property that is motivated by the offender’s hatred of people because of their association with one or more of the equality strands. For example, you can be a victim of hate crime because of your race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Why report a hate crime?
- help the council and the police to understand patterns of behaviour.
- provide a true picture of what is happening within your community.
- help police investigate an incident which may contribute to an arrest and/or prosecution.
- help prevent these types of crimes happening to you again or to someone else.
Harassment, hate and direct discrimination involves hurtful behaviour or treating someone badly because of age, disability, gender identity, pregnancy / maternity, race/ethnicity, religion/belief or sexual orientation. It can include: hate speech, using offensive language or stereotyping; bullying; excluding or isolating; sexual innuendo and sexual harassment; refusing to provide a service on equal terms; not allowing a mother to breastfeed her baby; graffiti, physical assault and damage to property.
Indirect discrimination is where a provision, criteria or practice set by a service provider or employer disadvantages people from a particular group (which does not have an objective and legitimate reason).
Failure to provide a reasonable adjustment for a disabled person is also a form of discrimination.