Universities in the west of England have pledged together for the first time to take a collective approach in tackling sexual violence and harassment.
The ‘joint commitment’ sets out 10 ways in which the universities will foster a safe environment on campus, while making sure that students affected by sexual violence or harassment are supported.
Today [5 Feb], at the beginning of Sexual Violence Awareness Week, the commitment was signed into life by the Vice-Chancellors of UWE Bristol and the universities of Bath, Bath Spa and Bristol, and the Presidents and Officers of their respective Students’ Unions.
The 10 point plan includes educating students on consent, providing clear channels to report inappropriate behaviour and supporting students if they want to report sexual violence or harassment. As part of this plan, the four universities commit to align policies and procedures and work together where cases include individuals from different institutions.
In a joint statement, the universities and their students’ unions said:
“We believe that all students should feel safe at university, so that they can reach their academic potential and fully immerse themselves in campus life.
“Today, we are sending a clear message that sexual violence and harassment is simply not acceptable.
“It’s sometimes hard to talk about inappropriate behaviour and that’s why we’re bringing it out in the open. We also want to make clear to all our students that help and support is available.
“Thank you to everyone who has been involved in this pledge and who continues to support this important work.”
The commitment was signed by:
- Vice-Chancellor & President Prof Sir Steve West and the Students’ Union at UWE Bristol
- Vice-Chancellor & President Evelyn Welch and the Students’ Union at the University of Bristol
- Vice-Chancellor & President Prof Ian White and the Students’ Union at the University of Bath
- Vice-Chancellor Prof Sue Rigby and the Students’ Union at Bath Spa University
The full joint commitment can be found below:
The ‘joint commitment’ sets out ways in which we will be making sure that students affected by sexual violence or harassment are supported.
Made by UWE Bristol, University of Bath, Bath Spa University, University of Bristol, and their respective Students’ Unions.
The Vice-Chancellors from each of the universities, and The Students’ Unions’ Presidents and Officers commit to the following:
- We will work to ensure our staff take a person-centred approach to support students affected by sexual violence or harassment. You will be heard, listened to, and supported by your University and Students’ Union.
- Sexual violence and harassment will not be tolerated by the Universities or Students’ Unions.
- We will raise awareness of appropriate support and organisations to aid the recovery of students that have been affected by sexual violence and harassment.
- Students will be supported to report sexual violence or harassment should they wish to do so. This includes through external organisations.
- We will work together across UWE Bristol, University of Bath, Bath Spa University and University of Bristol where cases include individuals from different institutions.
- We will provide our staff and students with the tools to speak up and address inappropriate behaviour by providing training, accessible online resources and clear reporting channels.
- The Universities and the Students’ Unions will actively work locally with external organisations to address sexual violence and harassment.
- We will work preventatively to help students understand consent and will take an educative approach to tackling sexual violence and harassment.
- We understand that certain groups are more at risk of sexual violence and harassment. We will take an intersectional approach to support.
- We will ensure that our policies and procedures are aligned to support this pledge.
To mark Sexual Violence Awareness Week (5 – 11 February), UWE Bristol’s Student Communications team, the Anti-Sexual Violence Service and the Students’ Union will be hosting stalls on each of the university’s campus to engage with students, explore myths and facts around sexual violence and signpost to support.
The stalls can be found in Students’ Union spaces at:
- Bower Ashton campus - Monday 5 February from 12:00 – 14:00
- Frenchay campus - Tuesday 6 February from 12:30 – 14:30
- Glenside campus - Thursday 8 February from 12:00 – 14:00
Eugine Yafele, CEO of University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust, appointed Visiting Professor
Eugine Yafele, Chief Executive of University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust, has been appointed a Visiting Professor for the College of Health, Science and Society at UWE Bristol.