In this episode of the HJ Talks About Abuse podcast, Alan Collins and Feleena Grosvenor explore the recent coverage regarding the statistics relating to sexual abuse and harassment taking place in Universities in England and Wales every year.
It is estimated that there are 50,000 incidents of sexual abuse or harassment in universities every year. The figure, however, could be much higher as there has not been appropriate research and surveys into this subject in the UK.
A recent book has been published called “Unsafe Spaces: Ending Sexual Abuse in Universities”. It addresses the extent of abuse and is critical of universities for failing their students and staff. The book states that the majority of universities seek to conceal the extent of the sexual misconduct instead of focusing on care and prevention.
It appears that university policies are not well created or well implemented. Often there is no specialist person to develop these policies or to advise how to best support victims. Many universities actually use volunteers in this area.
Some changes are starting to be made. For example, St Andrews University have in the last month launched a new website to report abuse and discrimination. Universities UK (UUK) which speaks for 140 universities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, said it would be publishing guidance and recommendations on managing staff on student misconduct later this year.
We will eagerly wait to see what proposals are made, and trust that openness and the safety and welfare of everyone on campus will be the top priority for university management.