Sorry! De informatie die je zoekt, is enkel beschikbaar in het Engels.
This programme is saved in My Study Choice.
Something went wrong with processing the request.
Something went wrong with processing the request.

Social safety

At Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, it is important to us that students and staff feel safe. Have you experienced inappropriate conduct or felt unsafe on campus, off campus or online? Let us know.
  • Would you like to report a situation that has made you feel unsafe, or do you need advice?

    The Social Safety Coordinators investigate and give advice regarding situations that involve safety and social safety. The Social Safety Coordinators can also take action to tackle unsafe situations. You can read more about how this works below, in the section ‘Social Safety Hotline’.
  • Would you like somebody to talk to even if immediate action is not required?

    For support, advice and somebody to talk to, you can contact the confidential counsellors for students or for staff and PhD candidates. The confidential counsellor will take you through the options, such as initiating a complaints procedure, and can support you in this process.
  • Do you have a legal question or need advice about procedures?

    The ombudsman can give you information about relevant aspects of the law and procedures, and explain your rights, responsibilities and options with a view to resolving the issue that you are facing.The ombudsman is independent and impartial, and handles all complaints in the strictest confidence.

This page provides information about the various forms of inappropriate behaviour and how we can help you if you experience them.

Contact the Social Safety coordinators

Send an email to A Social Safety Coordinator will contact you to make an appointment. Are you in immediate danger? Call the university's emergency number: 020-5982222 or 112.

Social Safety Hotline

  • About the Social Safety Hotline

    What we do

    The Social Safety Hotline consists of five Social Safety Coordinators. The Social Safety Coordinators investigate and give advice regarding situations that involve safety and social safety. Together, we will discuss your situation and come up with a solution so that you are able to feel safe once again.

    In addition, we provide advice and training for staff, so that they are aware of how to maintain a safe working and learning environment.

    The Social Safety Coordinators:

    There are currently five Social Safety Coordinators:

    • Charlotte Holtkamp (works Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday)
    • Jos de Haan (works Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday)
    • Amber Borra (works Thursday)
    • Marjolein Pouw (works Wednesday, Thursday)
    • Rosanne van Kampen


    Please contact us on our general e-mail address: We aim to answer all mails within two working days.

  • How does it work?

    Unfortunately, our students or staff members occasionally find themselves confronted with worrying or inappropriate conduct. Details of the action you can take and who you can turn to for help or advice are given below.

    This includes the opportunity to report your concerns anonymously, as we fully realize that reporting a possibly harmful situation can put you at risk. Our goal is to restore a safe situation. We do this based on the duty of care we have for you as a student or staff member. This duty of care applies to you, the person who communicates or wants to report this behaviour, but also to the person who displays this behaviour.

    You can report worrying or inappropriate conduct to the VU Social Safety Hotline. You can do this via e-mail, WhatsApp or phone. Scroll down for the contact details.

  • What will happen when I make a report?

    Submitting a report

    1. Submit a contact request

      You can do this by sending an email to In most cases, we will make an appointment immediately. During office hours you can also call or send a WhatsApp message to: 06-81387779 (Monday - Thursday) or 06-18869645 (Tuesday to Friday).
    2. Meeting

      You will have the opportunity to explain what is going on. We will then discuss with you which action may be appropriate and how we can support you in this.

    What happens after I make a report?

    1. Risk assessment and action plan 

      The coordinators often start with a risk assessment, to determine the level of risk. If there is an immediate risk to your safety, immediate action may be taken. An action plan will then be drawn up. In some cases, the case may be transferred to a confidential counsellor, for example, or to the ombudsman or one of the external parties we work with.
    2. You are in charge at every step

      Which steps are ultimately taken depends on the person who submitted the original report. The social safety coordinators can advise and, where necessary, supervise the process of restoring safety for everyone involved.
    3. External parties

      Our social safety coordinators do not handle reports regarding concerning or inappropriate conduct alone. In order to resolve situations carefully and responsibly, we may call on the expertise of the social safety expert team, who have specialist knowledge in this area. If this is necessary, your case will be discussed completely anonymously, and your report will not be traceable.

      Sometimes it may be necessary to bring in external partners in order to resolve a situation properly, or transfer it to a relevant authority. This may be a local police officer, the Centre for Sexual Violence, or the Blijfgroep (which supports victims of domestic violence).
  • What kind of reports can you make to Social Security Coordinators?

    Stalking and prolonged complaints

      • What is it?
        If you are regularly hassled by another person against your will, you may be a victim of stalking. Stalking is a very intrusive form of annoyance and intimidation and can be a criminal offence. If you are being stalked, it is important not to keep it to yourself. Contact the social safety coordinators for help.

        Another form of stalking involves the prolonged and persistent expression of grievances or complaints. The purpose of this is not the complaint itself, but to keep your attention. It can sometimes take on extreme forms and cross the line. There are examples where lecturers have to deal with individual students who persistently complain.
      • What can you do?
        If you are dealing with stalking or prolonged complaints, discuss this with someone you trust. The social safety coordinators can provide you with advice and assistance. We will draw up a plan of action with you. If the person you tried to cut off persists tos talk you, you can also consider reporting it tot he police. The police will then interview the stalker in order to bring a halt to it.

    Sexual harassment and violence

    • What is it?
      Sexual harrassment occurs frequently among young adults. We believe it is important for victims of sexual violence to report it in order to enable appropriate assistance to be provided. If you are a victim of sexual violence, you may experience concentration problems, PTSD or symptoms of depression. It can become more difficult to study or work.

      Even more people deal with sexual intimidation, such as verbal or non-verbal behaviours, being touched, slutshaming and sexting.

      Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has signed the Amnesty International manifesto against sexual violence. By signing it, the University is accepting its responsibility to tackle the problem.
      Read the manifesto
    • What can you do?
      Seek help. First make sure to set boundaries and put yourself in a place of safety. Confide in someone and talk about it. Keep evidence. If sexual harassment leads to an unsafe situation and you want to take action, you can contact the social safety coordinators. They can advice you or refer you to the appropriate organisation or, if necessary and desired, contact the police. If the suspected perpetrator is a VU student or employee and you are feeling unsafe at VU Amsterdam, we will draw up a plan of action to ensure you can feel safe again. This is always done in consultation and you will remain in control at all times.

      If you want someone to listen to you or are you unsure whether you want to proceed to take action? Contact the confidential counsellor for students or for employees.

      For more information, consult Sexual Assault Center.

    Domestic violence:

    • What is it?
      Domestic violence is any kind of violence that takes place in the home or within the family circle. Domestic violence occurs in a number of different forms, such as physical violence, sexual violence, honour-related violence or psychological and verbal violence. Examples of violence include:
      • targeted aggression, for example yelling or hitting;
      • neglect;
      • undesired sexual advances;
      • threats to your safety because you have ‘violated’ family honour.

    The effects of domestic violence can be very damaging, leading for example to medical conditions and mental health problems.

    • What can you do if you experience domestic violence?
      Because domestic violence doesn’t stop by itself, it’s important to ask for help: get help from people who can assist you. And if you are ever in immediate danger, get to a safe place and call 112.

      Emergency services can help you make up a plan to increase your safety in the longer term.

      If you are experiencing domestic violence but there is no situation of acute danger, take someone you trust into your confidence and talk to them about it. You can also call Veilig Thuis (‘safe at home’) at 0800-2000 for advice and support. You can tell them your story, and do so anonymously if you want. You can also contact them when you suspect someone you know is the victim of domestic violence.

      Talk to a student advisor, confidential counsellor or social safety coordinator. The social safety coordinators can give you advice or refer you to the appropriate assistance. They are in close contact with the Blijf Groep and can consult with the local police in order to increase the safety.

    Honour-related violence

    • What is it?
      Honour-related violence refers to acts committed by family members when they feel the family honour has been damaged. In order to ‘restore’ honour, as they believe, the victims – male and female – are rejected, threatened or abused.
    • In what situations can you contact the social safety coordinators?
      • If you refuse to marry someone against your will.
      • If your family does not allow you to get a divorce.
      • If you are afraid of kidnapping by your family.
      • If you are in a same-sex relationship and your family is against this.
      • If you are dealing with exposing, sexting or any other form of sexual harassment.
      • If you are being monitored and your freedom is being curtailed.
      • If you feel threatened by your family for any other reason.
    • What you can do yourself:
      Are you dealing with honour-related violence? Or do you know someone who is in trouble and is looking for help? You can go to the Kenniscentrum Eer & Veiligheid (Honour & Safety Knowledge Centre) for advice and help with family honour issues. Do not wait until things get worse or go wrong! Do you need help immediately? Then call 088 234 24 50 (7 days a week, 24 hours a day). In case of immediate danger, do not take any chances! Always call 112. 

      The Honor & Safety Knowledge Centre staff will also hold a walk-in clinic at VU (location HG-0E.74a) on the following days in 2023:
      • 11 and 23 January
      • 8 and 20 February
      • 8 and 20 March
      • 5 and 17 April
      • 3, 15 and 31 May
      • 12 and 28 June
      • 10 and 26 July
      • 7 and 23 August (due to summer holidays not at the location, but only via e-mail:
      • 4 and 20 September
      • 2, 18 and 30 October
      • 15 and 27 November
      • 13 December

        The time is from 2:00-4:00 pm. It is not necessary to make an appointment. You may have to wait for a while because someone else is in the room. Complete confidentiality applies to these conversations. We understand very well that confidentiality is of great importance.

    Inappropriate behaviour online

      • What is it?
        There are increasing incidences of people experiencing inappropriate behaviour via WhatsApp or social media. Examples include racist messages on social media, sexist comments in WhatsApp groups, or messages from fake accounts. These can be hurtful and make you feel unsafe. It can also be a form of bullying.
      • What can you do?
        Make it clear that you find the message annoying and that it offends you. Keep a record of the messages. Talk to other people about it. Consider blocking the sender of the messages. Report it to the social safety coordinators.

    Suicidality or confused behaviour

    Do you need help now? 113 suicide prevention is here for you 24/7. Call 0800-0113 free of charge or chat on

    Are you worried about a (fellow) student, a teacher or a colleague who is expressing suicidal thoughts or showing signs of mental health issues? VU Amsterdam has produced a guide to give you some tools for how to act in this situation. This guide can be used by employees, PhD candidates and students. Feel free to pass this link on to anyone you know, especially anyone you think may need it.

    Do you need help yourself? VU Amsterdam offers support for mental health problems. Students can contact the Student Wellbeing Point and consult a student psychologist. Employees can obtain counselling from one of our occupational social workers. This support is mostly temporary and related to your studies or your work at VU Amsterdam. For long-term support, you should consult your general practitioner.

  • Anonymous reports

    If you would like to remain anonymous when submitting a report, this is possible up to a point. We would advise you to talk to the confidential counsellor in such cases. This is almost always completely confidential and anonymous, and is possible without sharing your contact details. You can also make an appointment with the Coordinator to discuss the options with respect to your report (even if you have submitted this anonymously).

  • Guide to supporting people who are suicidal or confused

    Are you concerned about a (fellow) student, teacher or colleague who is suicidal, distressed or confused? Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has created an advice card for these situations. The card can be used by staff, PhD candidates and students. Feel free to give it out to people you know who may need it.

  • Help, support or advice on other subjects

    Both inside and outside the university, there are people and organisations that can help you with specific situations and requests for help. The Social Security Coordinators work with many of these and can help you reach out or get more information.

    If you are still unsure who best to reach out to regarding your situation, you can consult our decision tree. These are available for PhD candidates, staff, or students. The Coordinator can also take you through your options.

Confidential counsellors

  • Confidential counsellors for students

    The Executive Board is keen to ensure that VU Amsterdam offers a safe and pleasant environment for all students. Sexual harassment and other forms of undesirable conduct (violence, intimidation, aggression, bullying) will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Incidents are rare but not entirely unknown. VU Amsterdam therefore applies an active policy to counter all forms of undesirable conduct. Special 'confidential counsellors' have been appointed. There is also a formal complaints procedure and an investigating committee.

    VU Amsterdam has appointed Confidential Counsellors for students. They can be contacted via the email address

    Currently, all conversations with the confidential counsellors are by telephone or via Zoom. If you would still benefit from a live conversation, please contact us. 

    • Fatiema Khadje, +31 (0)20 59 82094
    • Mariken Blom,  +31 (0)20 59 85027
  • Staff and PhD counsellor

    The confidants offer a listening ear and can offer support in raising the issue of undesirable behaviour. The confidential advisors treat what you tell them confidentially: they do nothing without your permission and knowledge. 

    There are central staff counsellors and decentralised counsellors who are exempted by their faculties or departments for part of their time to assist staff and PhD students. You are free to choose who you want to contact. A confidential counsellor can assist in submitting an official complaint to the independent complaints committee for undesirable behaviour. 

    Please find all information and contact details on Confidential counsellors staff and PhD's

Do you need help or advice?

Please contact the social safety coordinators