Social security of students and psychological support
Prague University of Economics and Business (VŠE) provides equal study and employment opportunities to all regardless of nationality, race, gender, origin, sexual orientation, physical and cultural difference, marital status, age or religion. Any unethical, disrespectful or disruptive behaviour and actions, such as sexual harassment, are prohibited by an internal regulation, the Code of Conduct, which applies to all members of the academic community and is enforceable. Any form of disrespectful behaviour or action against the Code of Ethics is not condoned and severely punished by the VŠE management. At the same time, every effort is made to ensure that the victim receives the assistance he/she requests and remains anonymous. Everything is handled with the utmost discretion.
I have experienced sexualized violence or other disrespectful behavior. What now?
You are not alone. Speak up. There are plenty of places to get help, whether you choose to seek help on or off campus. Confide in people you trust and who will be supportive – friends, parents, school administrators or psychologists. If you are worried, try first to talk to a person at an institution you trust. This person can help you communicate about the problem with the people who are there to help you. These people can help you process the whole experience and go through the process of reporting the attacker with you.
Who to contact?
If a member of the academic community is the victim of sexual or otherwise disrespectful behavior in violation of the Code of Conduct, he or she may contact the Dean of his or her faculty or any member of the administration directly. If a member of the academic community feels that the faculty is not adequately addressing the problem reported by him or her, he or she may contact the Office of Internal Control and Audit. In such a situation, the problem will begin to be addressed outside the faculty, on a school-wide basis. The Internal Controller can be contacted through all communication channels – phone, email, MS Teams, and in person. Complaints submitted are dealt with by the Ethics Committee of the University, which is primarily responsible for monitoring ethical responsibility at the University.
The assistance from the university does not end after a complaint has been reported. Every student has the right to turn to the Academic Psychological Counselling Centre (APP) for professional help. The Academic Psychological Counseling Center provides individual counseling services to all students, staff, and alumni, free of charge. The counselling is aimed at students, graduate students and staff who find themselves in a difficult situation, need to better manage their study or work load or want to better orient themselves and try to develop their personality and abilities. The activities of the counselling centre include other activities such as group sessions, coaching, psychodiagnostics or seminars and workshops. The APP provides counselling not only for students with specific needs, but also for foreign students of the VŠE who have come to study in the Czech Republic, who may have problems adapting to a new environment, understanding a new culture and being able to communicate adequately with it. The APP staff includes experienced psychologists, many of whom also run their own private practice outside the school. APP counsellors are governed by the Code of Ethics for College Counsellors.
If a student or staff member does not want to address issues on campus for the time being, or at all, there are many organizations to which they can turn. We list them here:
- Bílý kruh bezpečí (BKB) – offers a safe space for victims of domestic violence or sexual assault. BKB provides help and support from psychologists, lawyers and social workers. BKB assists the victim in the process of dealing with the entire criminal event or is simply a place where the victim can find a helping hand in processing the trauma.
- Centrum sociálních služeb Praha (Social Services Centre Prague) – this centre can be contacted in any difficult life situation – psychological disorder, domestic violence, relationship problems and others.
- Centrum po oběti domácího a sexuálního násilí (Centre for Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence) – they provide counselling and other direct assistance to people at risk of domestic and sexual violence.
- Krizová pomoc v Bohnicích (Crisis Help in Bohnice) – offers psychological and psychiatric help to adults with acute problems. The service operates 24 hours a day without prior appointment.
- Linka bezpečí (Helpline) – helps children and students who find themselves in a difficult life situation or are dealing with everyday worries and problems they do not know how to cope with. It can be reached 24 hours a day on 116 111, as well as by chat and email counselling.
- Linka první psychické pomoci (Psychological First Aid Line)
- Bright Sky mobile app – for detecting domestic violence. It offers all the information you need in one place safely and confidentially: a 3-minute questionnaire to assess the danger in a relationship, a database of help centre contacts, a My Diary feature to record evidence, examples of domestic violence and much more. It is not only for victims themselves, but for anyone who is concerned about a friend, colleague, neighbour or family member.
Don’t be silenced by the idea that others are worse off or have experienced worse. We all perceive situations differently and feel different feelings. There is no shame in asking for help or just to be listened to. It doesn’t make you weak, but instead a strong person who has decided to address the situation. Respect your feelings. No problem is too small. You can help not only yourself, but also future victims.