Staying safe in and around Oxford is an important part of student life. Here are a few helpful resources, services, and tips that will keep you safe.
This page has information about the following topics:
Harassment and abuse
Alcohol and drugs
Keeping your belongings safe
KEEPING YOURSELF SAFE
How can I make sure I get home safely after a night out?
Before you go out, it’s a good idea to think how you will get home. Taxis are plentiful in Oxford: make sure you have the phone number for one or two taxi companies in your mobile phone.
If you walk home, stay where it is lit and where plenty of people or cars will be passing. If you're wearing headphones, only wear one as this will keep you alert to your surroundings.
Personal alarms are available at cost price from Oxford SU. They can fit in the palm of your hand and will sound a deafening shriek when the pin is pulled. You can obtain one from your college Welfare Officer, or contact Oxford SU's Reception & Services Administrator (Monday-Friday, 9:30am to 6:00pm).
There are a number of resources in Oxford providing information and support for students worried about eating disorders. Certain services will need you to speak with a GP or counsellor and be referred by them, others you can approach directly.
Who can I contact in college?
Your GP or college nurse is the best place to begin, since they will have access to your medical records and you can get an appointment quickly. Many GPs will have emergency appointments so if you feel you need to speak with someone urgently, ask for an emergency time slot. They may refer you to a counsellor, or direct you toward a support group.
Your college welfare officers are available if you do not wish to contact medical services or the Counselling Service. Anyone you initially approach should refer you to the most appropriate type of care.
If you are concerned, you may wish to consider speaking to an Advisor at the Student Advice.
What resources are available through the university?
- The University Counselling Service can arrange appointments and see students generally within ten working days.
- Nightline is an independent student-run listening service that provides support and information for students from 20.00 to 08.00 from 0th week to 9th week. It is a confidential service through the telephone.
- Student Peer Supporters are undergraduates and graduates selected and trained by the University, who are available to listen about any concerns you may have. Call 01865 270270.
- Enough! is part of Student-Run Self Help (SRSH) and is a self-help group providing support for students with eating disorders. The group meets every Thursday from 7:30 – 9.30pm during term time, and a small team of trained volunteers run the meeting. For more information, please visit the SRSH website or email All emails are confidential.
Where can I can confidential advice?
The Student Advice is the only free, independent and confidential advice, information and advocacy service exclusively available to Oxford University Students.
Who can I contact at Oxford SU?
The Vice President Welfare and Equal Opportunities is available to speak with anyone wanting to campaign in college on issues connected with eating disorders.
What other resources can I access?
HARASSMENT & ABUSE
Harassment can take many forms including bullying, stalking, and sexual and relationship abuse. It can affect you deeply, and should be taken very seriously. There are many resources throughout the University and city to support you. You will have a Harassment Advisor in your college or department. For further information, please contact Oxford SU's Student Advice, who can guide you through the process.
Sexual Abuse, Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Stalking are crimes and can be reported to the police. Call 999 for emergencies, or 101 for non-emergencies. If you are frightened, the police can help you.
I need to speak to someone about an incident. Where can I go?
If you need to speak with someone urgently, ask to be directed to the Solace centre Solace centres are sexual assault referral centres staffed by a range of specialist and experienced professionals including doctors and counsellors who will offer you crisis support and advice.
What resources are offered by the university?
You can read the University's Harassment Policy on their website. Most colleges and departments have a Harassment Advisor who will be able to advise you on the range of options available to you. If you prefer you can contact the network administrator here:
- Harassment Advisors tel: 01865270760 or email
These services may also be useful to you:
- Counselling Service tel: 01865 270300 or email
- Nightline tel: 01865 27027016 (8pm-8am in term)
If you have concerns or want more information contact the Student Advice at email@example.com
Who can I talk to at Oxford SU?
The Vice President Women is available to speak with anyone wanting to campaign in College on issues connected with harassment. It Happens Here is an Oxford SU campaign raising awareness of sexual abuse and violence.
What local resources can help me?
- Domestic Abuse Oxfordshire
- Oxford Sexual Assault and Rape Crisis Centre tel: 01865 726295 (Monday & Thursday: 6.30pm-9.00pm; Friday, 11.00am - 2.00pm; Sunday, 6.00pm - 8.30pm)
- Oxfordshire Domestic Abuse Helpline - tel: 0800 731 055 (Monday-Friday, 8.00am - 6.00pm; Saturday, 10.00am - 4.00pm. This is free and will not show on your telephone bill)
What national resources can help?
- Protection Against Stalking - email
- Rape Crisis England and Wales - tel: 0808 802 9999 (12.00pm - 2.30pm; 7.00pm - 9.30pm)
- National Stalking Helpline - tel: 0808 802 0300 or email
Alcohol and drugs
Alcohol plays a big part of student life. From college bops to traditions like 'pennying', whether you chose to drink or not, drinking culture is everywhere. If you feel you want to speak with someone about your drinking or any concerns, contact the Student Advice or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m worried my relationship with alcohol is unhealthy. Who should I contact?
If alcohol is affecting your health, make an appointment with your College GP. They will be able to go through the options available to you.
I think I might drink too much because of other reasons. What can I do?
If there is a reason behind why you are consuming too much alcohol and you wish to speak with a counselor, make an appointment with the University Counselling Service
A trained counselor may be able to help you consider the next step to resolve what’s affecting you.
If you would like to find out more about drugs and the law in the UK, visit Home office information on different drugs and legal sanctions. Release is a national centre of expertise on drugs and drugs law, which provides free and confidential specialist advice to the public and professionals.
As well as the illegal drugs we all hear about in the press, you may be faced with offers of "legal highs" and "smart drugs".
What are study drugs?
The term "study drugs" or "smart drugs" refers to prescription drugs used to increase concentration and stamina for the purpose of studying or cramming. Using or buying these medications without a prescription is illegal. Selling your own prescription is also illegal. There are potential health risks associated with taking drugs not prescribed for you. Users of study drugs can never be certain what the effects might be.
What are legal highs?
"Legal highs" are substances used like illegal drugs but which are not covered by current misuse of drugs legislation. Although these drugs are marketed as legal substances, this doesn’t mean that they are safe or approved for people to use. It just means that they’ve not been declared illegal to use and possess.
Who can I talk to about my concerns?
The Student Advice is the only free, independent and confidential advice, information and advocacy service exclusively available to Oxford University Students. If you have concerns or want more information please get in touch by emailing email@example.com
I want to campaign about drugs and/or alcohol. Who should I contact?
The Vice President Welfare and Equal Opportunities is available to speak with anyone wanting to campaign in college on issues connected with drugs and alcohol.
What local resources can help inform me about drugs and alcohol?
What national resources can help me with drugs, and give me more information about addiction?
Becoming pregnant when you want to be can be a wonderful time. It’s important to make sure you access the right services to help you and your baby be happy and healthy. Equally, finding out you or your partner is pregnant when you or they don’t want to be can be frightening and stressful. Take a deep breath, stay calm, and remember – you are not alone.
Who should I contact in college?
The first thing to do is to contact your GP or College nurse. They will help you access the right healthcare services.
Can I speak to anyone at Oxford SU?
Oxford SU runs the Student Advice, a free and confidential information, advice and advocacy service for students. An Advisor can speak with you about the range of options open to you. An advisor can also help guide you through how best to approach being a student parent and discuss any issues you may have regarding maternity or paternity leave.
Drop in sessions are held between 1st and 8th week (inclusive) at:
10am - 4pm, Monday - Thursday
Oxford SU, 4 Worcester St, OX1 2BX
Where can I access pregnancy tests?
Oxford SU provides pregnancy tests at cost price Common Rooms. Contact your Welfare Officer if you would like a pregnancy test.
What resources are available through the university?
The University allows students to suspend up to three terms for parental leave. You will need to speak with your college administrators to submit the appropriate paperwork, but tutors, supervisors, and/or funding bodies will also need to know, so provisions for time of leaving and return can be arranged. If you require any advice or support regarding University Maternity/Paternity/Parental Leave policy contact the Student Advice. The University Childcare Services has information for student parents. Including information on funding and nursery places.
How could Oxford County council support me?
Oxford County council has information on a range of services, and offers information on healthcare child-minders, nurseries and the practical aspects of starting a family.
How can I get an abortion?
You can access abortion free on the NHS.
To do so, you can get in contact directly with an abortion provider, your GP, or a GUM/sexual health clinic. Information on sexual health services in Oxford can be viewed here
Most abortions in England and Wales are carried out before 24 weeks. Abortions after 24 weeks may be carried out under certain circumstances.
See the NHS advice on abortion for more details
I’m considering cycling. How do I cycle safely?
Oxford is a cycle friendly city, so make use of cycle routes. To keep safe, make sure you wear a helmet, as well as reflective clothing and fit your bike with lights (a white front light and red rear light). Regularly check your bike is in good working order, especially the brakes. Be mindful of pedestrians and don’t go through pedestrian crossings when the lights are on red.
- If you would like to take a bike training course, Broken Spoke Bike Co-op offer courses for adults.
- Here are some top tips to remember for first time cyclists:
- Wear a helmet, as well as reflective clothing and accessories. Avoid clothing that may get tangled in the chain/wheel, or that will obscure the lights.
- Plan your route in advance, and check your bike is in good working order before you leave.
- It is illegal to cycle on a footway (pavement). If possible, use cycle lanes.
- Use cycle routes, advanced stop lines, cycle boxes and toucan crossings.
- Be mindful of pedestrians, especially children, the elderly, and disabled people. Ring your bell if appropriate, allow plenty of room, and always be prepared to slow down and stop if necessary.
- Be considerate of other road users, including pedestrians. Take care when overtaking, and look out for traffic coming up behind you.
- Do not ride your bike under the influence of drink or drugs, including medicine. It is illegal.
- Have your bike security marked, or engraved, which you can find out more about from the Thames Valley Police.
What other resources are there online about cycling?
How do I make sure my bike isn’t stolen?
Unfortunately, cycle crime does happen. It’s best to use a D Lock (you can buy one at cost price from Oxford SU) and always lock your bike to cycle hoops or in a secure cycle storage area. Remove any lights, use locking wheel nuts on your wheels and remove the saddle if portable. The University security service will mark your bike with a unique code so that the police can trace your bike back to you if it is stolen and recovered.
How do I keep other property safe?
Don't leave laptops or mobile phones in view of open windows. It only takes seconds to reach in from the street to grab something. Back up your work to an external drive which is ßkept separately to your computer so if the worst happens, at least your work is saved.
We recommend you register laptops and phones at Immobilize so that the police can trace your items back to you.
Never let people know passwords to your computers or online services and don't divulge your banking PIN numbers to anyone.
Should I insure my property?
Insure your goods. The NUS recommend Endesleigh Insurance who have insurance policies designed for students’ needs.
Who are the Community Wardens?
Oxford SU employs Student Community Wardens in sites around the city. Community Wardens liaise with local communities and help make students and the city safer. If you would like to how to become a Community Warden, contact the Oxford SU VP Charities & Community rep
I’m still concerned about my safety. Who can I contact?
- Police (non-emergency): 101
- Police (emergency): 999
- University security (non-emergency): 01865 (2) 72944
- University security (emergency): 01865 (2) 89999
- Student Advice: 01865 288466