In a report released last week, Universities UK have issued recommendations on how to deal with university-wide problems involving violence against women, harassment and hate crimes. 

A taskforce consisting of students, university leaders and academic experts gives universities clear outlines on ways to handle situations on campus with hope to improve responses to the issues affecting campuses.

The report recommends a zero-tolerance approach to incidents, calling for trained staff and a centralised reporting system to support students and ameliorate the current conditions for reporting an incident at university.

“The report recommends a zero-tolerance approach to incidents”

Recent occurrences have shown the lack of serious responses taken by institutions in relation to reports and allegations. Winchester University student Rebecca Nice was sexually harassed by a lecturer and explained the difficulties of a student reporting against a member of staff.

Reports have also shown the fears and reluctance of individuals to report cases to members of staff in fear of endangering their academics’ careers.

Previous guidelines have advised universities not to investigate an allegation unless the victim has involved the police. The new taskforce aims to tackle this policy to create a more proactive culture towards the reported misconducts.

“The new taskforce aims to tackle this policy to create a more proactive culture”

There are plans to hold a national conference, to ensure responses and dealings are shared amongst all institutions.

The Union of Jewish Students’ (UJS) campaign director Josh Nagli has said that the report is a “constructive piece of work that will hopefully lay the foundations for a more tolerant and inclusive campus environment for all”.

Madeleine Green, a 3rd year Zoology student, told Impact: “I think anything that helps victims should happen – we need to keep pushing forward to tackle the culture”.

Ellie O’Donnell

Image: hans van den berg via Flickr

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