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Education in the media: Tuesday 6 February 2018

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Today’s Education in the Media looks at sexual harassment on campuses and Safer Internet Day.

Sexual harassment at universities

Today, Tuesday 6 February, the Today Programme, Sky News, Telegraph, BBC News, Times, the Sun and Guardian all covered figures released by the University of Cambridge which show that there were 173 complaints of sexual misconduct reported to the University between May 2017 and January 2018. The majority of allegations were made by students on the misconduct of other students. These figures came to light after the university launched an anonymous reporting tool to make it easier for people to come forward.

Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Graham Virgo has written a blog, which has been published in the i newspaper, where he welcomes the confidence of victims to come forward with complaints.

The government is absolutely clear that sexual harassment in any form is entirely unacceptable and we are strongly supportive of The Higher Education Funding Council of England (HEFCE) Catalyst Fund, which has awarded grants to over 60 projects, developed with students, in universities and colleges across the country which addresses concerns about sexual violence and harassment on campus.

The Universities UK (UUK) taskforce set up in November 2015 is also key to tackling sexual misconduct on campus and we have been clear about the responsibility of universities to look at new ways to tackle this issue.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

The government takes any form of violence and sexual harassment, including in higher education, extremely seriously. That is why we asked Universities UK to set up a sexual violence and harassment taskforce specifically to tackle this issue.

We encourage institutions to take a proactive response to sexual harassment, ensuring that students feel confident and able to report any issues.

Safer Internet Day

Today, Tuesday 6 February, we are marking Safer Internet Day 2018 which is being celebrated globally.

We want the UK to be the safest place in the world to be online, that is why today, the Prime Minister will set out a series of measures to achieve this, including confirming that the government’s Internet Safety Strategy will be published this spring.

At the Department for Education, we are looking at the best way to include internet safety in relationships and sex education. Our call for evidence ends on Monday 12 February.

Have your say on relationship education in schools here .

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