Sexual assault, harassment and hate crime
Sexual assault, harassment and hate crime are issues of concern to universities across the world. In the UK, there has been increasing attention to these issues and how they affect universities in recent years. The UK government recognised the seriousness of this concern and commissioned a Universities UK task force to examine the issues of violence against women, harassment and hate crime affecting university students, with a focus on sexual violence and sexual harassment.
The University of Liverpool takes these issues very seriously and has a number of proactive interventions in place to tackle sexual assault, harassment and hate crime affecting our students.
Prevention and changing the culture
The University is working to ensure that messages around sexual consent and acceptable sexual behaviour are disseminated to students from as soon as they accept the offer of a place. The topic is covered in a new, pre-registration module shared with all new students. It is also embedded within induction, including in talks from the Vice Chancellor and Hall Wardens in University accommodation. We will continue to work with the Guild of Students on their "Call It Out" campaign aimed at tackling sexual harassment.
We hope to create genuine culture change, which requires more than merely a top-down approach. Building on previous work with student leaders through Sport Liverpool, this year the University is working closely with the Guild of Students to develop workshops for student leaders on bystander intervention and creating a positive culture in their society or group. The impact of these workshops will be evaluated as part of a HEFCE-funded project.
Responding to disclosures
As part of the Safe and Welcoming Campus Environments Project, the University has recently undertaken a comprehensive review of its policies and procedures for dealing with student disclosures of sexual assault, harassment and hate crime. Sexual misconduct is now clearly defined as a breach of the University's Policy on Student Conduct and Discipline, and the University has the power to investigate allegations and issue sanctions if a student is found to have committed a sexual misconduct offence.
You can read more about the changes to the Policy on Student Conduct and Discipline here.
The University is also conducting a research project funded by AMOSSHE, examining students' expectations of their university when they disclose an incident of sexual misconduct. This project involves four other North West universities, and aims to report in July 2018.