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 in 2015 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.

Responding to disclosures

If somebody has just disclosed an incident of sexual assault, harassment or hate crime, click here for guidance.

As part of the Safe and Welcoming Campus Environments Project, which was initiated in response to the UUK task force report in October 2016, 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 guidance for staff on receiving disclosures has also been reviewed and updated. Any member of staff could receive a disclosure from a student and it is important that all staff are able to offer the student space to talk and know who to refer them on to. As such, a multi-tiered approach to staff training is currently under development and will be rolling out in autumn 2017.

You can download the new guidance on responding to disclosures of sexual assault, harassment or hate crime here: Responding to disclosures guidance for staff.

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.

Prevention and changing the culture

Student Services offer a range of interventions aimed at preventing sexual misconduct. In addition to the work below, we can provide bespoke training where there are particular concerns. If you would like to discuss developing training for a group of students, contact the SAS Project Officer here.

The University is working to ensure that messages around sexual consent and acceptable sexual behaviour are disseminated to students from the point that they accept their 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 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.