Definition of terms

Harassment, sexual harassment, hate crime, bullying or victimisation can be a manifestation of oppression based on an actual or perceived characteristic that an individual may have. Oppression is the structural organisation of society where everyday actions disadvantage one group and disadvantage another. Systems of oppression can include:


Oppression against individuals or groups based on their racial identity, whereby white people are privileged over other racial identities.


Sexism is prejudice or discrimination based on a person's sex or gender, whereby men and boys are privileged over women and girls.


The structural dominance of cis people (those who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth) which oppresses Transgender people (those who do not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth).


A system of dominance by heterosexual people, oppressing those with any other sexual or romantic orientation e.g. lesbian, gay, non-labelling, bisexual, asexual, queer, pansexual etc. Heterosexism also enforces, and is enforced by, the gender binary.


A system of oppression that includes discrimination and social prejudice against people with disabilities, their exclusion, and the valuing of people and groups that do not have disabilities.


A system of oppression that works against the young and the old and values individuals in their 30s to 50s.


The institutional, cultural, societal, and individual beliefs and practices that assign value to people based in their socio-economic class. Here, members of more privileged socio-economic classes are seen as having a greater value.


The fear and hatred of that which is perceived to be foreign or strange.

Discrimination can also include:

Discrimination based on Religion and Belief (including no belief) – Oppression against individuals or groups based on their religious beliefs and practices. This includes Islamophobia, which describes discrimination against Islam, Muslims, Islamic traditions and practices, and, more broadly, those who appear to be Muslim. It includes antisemitism, which describes systematic discrimination against and oppression of Jews, Judaism, and Jewish culture and traditions.

Discrimination based on Marriage or Civil Partnership

Discrimination based on Pregnancy, Maternity, Paternity or role as a Parent or Carer.

Your individual experience of harassment, sexual assault, hate crime, bulling or victimisation could be informed by one or more than one of the characteristics that you have or are perceived to have. It could also be informed by issues outside of the types of oppression and discrimination listed above.