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University sets out its stall on tackling sexual harassment



Students and staff at the University of East Anglia (UEA) will this week be working with community partners to raise awareness of the local services and support available to people who may have experienced sexual harassment or assault.


The UEA Students’ Union and the university’s joint Never OK campaign sets out clear expectations around zero tolerance towards sexual harassment, relationship abuse or hate and to help mark the national Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week an information day is being held on Thursday 8 February in Union House.

The day includes information stands with Norfolk domestic violence charity Leeway, The Harbour Centre (sexual assault referral centre), Norfolk Police, UEA’s Student Support Services and Wellbeing team, UEA Students’ Union clubs and societies, and a panel debate chaired by Maggie Wheeler on the topic of “When is banter not appropriate?” 

UEA Vice-Chancellor Prof David Richardson, who was a member of the national Universities UK taskforce on sexual harassment, said: “It is vital that universities confront the daily experience of sexual harassment and assault that far too many students, especially women, face. Sexual harassment has figured prominently in public life with the rise of the #metoo social movement and as a university we are committed to taking action in partnership with students and the local community.”  

UEA Students’ Union welfare officer India Edwards said: “We know that sexual harassment and assault goes unreported and we know why - too often students don’t trust that that the venue they’re visiting or the University they’re being taught in will take their complaint seriously and handle it appropriately. Our joint work with the University seeks to shift the culture - making clear what behaviour is and isn’t “OK”, and setting out clearly for students what they can do when they face harassment or assault”

The Never OK campaign at UEA sets out a culture of zero-tolerance for sexual harassment, assault, or hate. A number of other important changes at UEA also being implemented from this week:

 

  • Online Consent Matters training for students and staff
  • Awareness training around relationship abuse (provided by the charity Leeway)
  • A new online centralised reporting system for sexual harassment, relationship abuse or hate
  • Bystander training to help people respond to incidents