You yourself determine which behaviour or action is transgressive or unwanted. What is not acceptable to you may be acceptable to others. The judgement as to whether certain behaviours (verbal or physical) are permissible is subjective and personal. They may also be culturally or socially determined. 


Violence refers to any instance where a person harms, attacks, threatens or stalks another person psychologically or physically. This includes verbal aggression (swearing, cursing), threats and physical violence. This action has occurred on a single occasion only and does not form part of a repeated pattern of behaviour, which then we would consider to be bullying.


Behaviour that has the purpose or effect of violating someone's personality, dignity or integrity is called (cyber) bullying. This includes the deliberate creation of a hostile environment. Bullying occurs in words and deeds, and can be temporary or sustained. This refers to a repeated pattern of behaviour. Examples of bullying are systematic gossiping, social isolation or spreading offensive content via the internet.


Discrimination means that someone is treated unfairly or unequally because of specific personal characteristics such as gender identity, skin colour and age.  This includes not only direct or indirect discrimination, but also any incitement to discriminate, incidences of intimidation, hate messages and hate crimes.


Racism is where someone adopts a position of systematic hostility or contempt towards a certain individual or groups of people based upon their nationality, skin colour, where they come from, or their national or ethnic origins.

Source: UNIA


Sexism is a set of beliefs about the sexes and about the relationship between them. In these beliefs, there is an objective hierarchical relationship between the sexes and this relationship is also considered desirable. Sexism is an act based on an unjustified distinction between the sexes that adversely affects one or more members of either sex.

 Source: Institute for the Equality of Women and Men

Unwanted sexual behaviour

When verbal, non-verbal or physical behaviour with a sexual connotation has the purpose or effect of violating someone's personality, dignity or integrity, it is labelled as unwanted sexual behaviour. This includes the deliberate creation of a hostile, humiliating or threatening environment. It may involve unwanted touching, ambiguous or unambiguous remarks, intimidation, unwanted emails, leering, sexual assault, rape or showing or taking pictures.

Abuse of power

Abuse of power is where someone makes improper use of a position of dominance, influence or authority towards another person. This can take the form of inappropriate behaviour such as bullying, (sexual) intimidation or verbal aggressionโ€ฆ People who find themselves in a position of dependence risk becoming a victim of inappropriate behaviour. Often, it is also more difficult for them to set boundaries or indeed to raise the matter of inappropriate behaviour, since this could expose them to negative consequences affecting the rest of their (student) career, personal assessments, future promotion, (inter) personal relationshipsโ€ฆ

Transgressive behaviour at work

Information about bullying, sexual harassment and violence at work can be found on the website of the Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue. VUB signed the Declaration of Intent โ€˜Respect for one another at workโ€™.

Find out more about well-being in the workplace

Flemish Reportline for Transgressive behaviour

Have you been confronted with transgressive behaviour in a sports club, a university, a theater company or in any other Flemish sector or organisation? Or do you know someone who was? Are you seeking advice or guidance to take further steps? Contact the Flemish Reportline for Transgressive Behaviour for further help.

Contact the Flemish Reportline (website in Dutch only)