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There's a petition to give sexual assault survivors better support at university

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According to Freedom of Information requests sent to 120 universities, at least 169 sexual assault allegations were made against staff (both academic and non-academic) between 2011-12 and 2016-17.

A further 127 allegations about staff were made by colleagues.

At the University of Glasgow there were eight cases of sexual assault and five cases of rape involving students from 2012-2016.

However, many students do not come forward in fear of repercussions on their education and some are persuaded to sort the situation internally. 

Cambridge student and CUSU Women's Officer Audrey Sebatindira started a petition calling for an improvement in the support of sexual assault survivors. The petition claims that over 300 sexual harassment claims were made against university staff in six years.

A total of four cases of sexual assault and five cases of rape were reported by students at UCL between 2013-2015. The university confirmed that there were no records relating to reports of sexual violence relating to members of staff.

In the past three years, there were eight cases of sexual assault reported at University of Oxford and seven cases of rape.

 

The petition calls for universities to all include sexual assault as a mitigating circumstance in their policies and for Universities UK (UUK) to advise them to do so.

So far, it has received over 2,000 signatures.

However, regulations governing the assessment of students is a matter for individual universities as autonomous organisations. It is therefore not something Universities UK would comment upon.

In terms of providing support for students who have been victims of sexual violence or harassment, UUK stresses that all universities will offer appropriate support if an incident occurs.

Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK and chair of the taskforce, says: “The university sector has been clear that there is no place for sexual violence, harassment or hate crime on a university campus, nor anywhere else.

“The impact of any such incident on a student is so potentially serious that universities must be ready to respond effectively and proactively engage in prevention initiatives.

“The taskforce agreed that there are several steps that universities can take to promote and reinforce positive behaviour among students.

“UK universities, however, have a significant role to play, and are in a position to lead the way in preventing and responding to violence against women, harassment and hate crime, beyond the boundaries of the university campus.”




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