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Universities and colleges to tackle sexual harassment

Posted on 15 March 2017

The University of York is leading on one of 60 projects across the country aimed at addressing concerns about sexual violence and harassment at universities and colleges.

The £2.45 million grant, from HEFCE’s Catalyst Fund, was issued in response to a report by the Universities UK Harassment Task Force which explored the nature and scale of the problem in higher education, and highlighted the need for institutions to respond more effectively.

The projects have been developed with students, who will have pivotal roles in their delivery. They cover a wide range of activity, including training and awareness raising, digital innovation, and new approaches to prevention and reporting.

HEFCE Chief Executive, Professor Madeleine Atkins, said: “All students should feel safe and supported during their time in higher education. Universities and colleges are working hard to tackle issues of sexual harassment and violence on campus, but there is more to be done.

“We are delighted to be supporting a range of innovative projects, and we will be looking to share good practice and evidence of successful outcomes over the coming months."

Dr Rob Aitken, Director of Colleges, and Dr Vanita Sundaram, at the Department of Education, will lead the York project, which will focus on developing an institution-wide approach to sexual violence through the delivery of consistent guidance to staff and students on issues of conduct and disciplinary processes. Training will also be developed for student leaders to allow them to establish a culture change in attitudes towards sexual violence in the wider student community.