The higher education sector is currently focused on the issue of sexual misconduct by or against students, following the October 2016 publication of a UK government-commissioned report on harassment, hate crime and violence against women, authored by a Universities UK taskforce. The guidelines issued by the taskforce encourage universities to revise and change their approach to dealing with reports, disclosures and allegations of sexual misconduct, particularly in cases where the allegation is not referred to the police.
This project responds to a lack of empirical research into students’ expectations from their university regarding their response to reports or disclosures of sexual misconduct. The research outcomes of this project offer recommendations on responding to reports of sexual misconduct, based on the perspectives of students at five universities in north west England:
The project also aimed to involve each institution’s students’ union, through representation on the project steering group.
This project aimed to provide the sector with empirical research findings into students’ expectations from their universities regarding their response to reports and disclosures of sexual misconduct, based on a collaboration between several universities and their students’ unions in north west England.
The project objectives include:
The project methodology involved three phases of research:
The project was overseen by a steering group comprising each institution’s Head of Student Services (or nominee) and one student representative from each institution. This steering group met to oversee the project’s progress, discuss findings and approve the final report. Appropriate expert insight was sought when formulating recommendations, utilising the academic expertise present within the participating institutions.
The project outputs include: