There is a difference between ‘initiations’ and ‘problem initiations’. Not all ‘initiations’ involve the types of harmful or inappropriate activities or behaviours that would establish a ‘problem initiation’.

A ‘problem initiation’ includes any activity that could reasonably be perceived as resulting in risk or occurrence of physical or mental detriment to participants. It is a problem initiation regardless of whether it has been labelled as such by the group, regardless of an individual’s willingness to participate, and regardless of where and when it takes place.

A problem initiation is not defined by: 

  • The naming of an activity
  • When it takes place
  • The location of that activity
  • Individuals willing to participate

It’s the problem activities and behaviours which it consists of which make it a problem.

When it takes place 
Activities are often considered to only be those that take place at the start of a term, or when individuals are first joining a group. That is not correct.

The naming of an activity
We recognise activities and events that are not typically considered to be an ‘initiation’, such as sports tours or club social events. These activities can foster these problem activities and behaviours and therefore could be deemed a ‘problem initiation’.

Individuals willing to participate
We are also clear that ‘problem initiations’ include activities where inappropriate or risky behaviour is expected or normalised, regardless of an individual’s apparent willingness to participate.

Problem activities and behaviours

Inappropriate or dangerous activities or behaviours associated with 'problem initiations' include but are not limited to: 

  • Bullying, harassment and power inequality, often used as a means to coerce participation in activities, challenges and other risky behaviours designed to humiliate, often against a person’s will
  • Consumption of excessive quantities of alcohol
  • Consumption of abnormal/unpleasant substances
  • Forced acts of nudity/nakedness
  • The humiliation of a person in public (i.e. setting someone up to fail)
  • Isolation or ostracising of individuals through the removal of their mobile phones, geographical remoteness or physical isolation
  • Physical acts perpetrated against a person’s body (e.g. Shaving their hair)
  • Psychological torment
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual harassment
  • Victimisation of a specific group of individuals (e.g. “Freshers”)
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