Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at a Universities UK report on gender-based violence, harassment and hate crime in universities.
University UK report
Today, Wednesday 9 October, Universities UK published their ‘Changing the Culture’ report on harassment, hate crime and sexual violence. This was covered by the Times Higher Education, Independent, The Telegraph, BBC news online, Daily Mail, and I.
The report looks at progress made by the university sector two years on from the publication of its initial report ‘Changing the Culture’ in 2016. It presents findings from a survey of 95 higher education providers and makes a number of recommendations for the sector.
In 2015, we asked Universities UK to establish a specific taskforce to tackle sexual violence and harassment and have tasked the Office for Students (OfS) to work with the sector, including to progress the taskforce’s recommendations.
Universities Minister Chris Skidmore said:
Any form of harassment, violence or hate crime is abhorrent and unacceptable anywhere in society, and this includes our world-leading universities, which should be safe and inclusive environments.
The impact of these offences can be devastating on victims, and while this report shows the progress which has been made, it also highlights the sad truth that there is much further to go to combat the culture of harassment, support those affected and take serious action where needed.
I am struck by the report’s finding that not all senior leaders are taking strong ownership of the issue, which is simply not good enough. I am urging all leaders to prioritise a zero tolerance culture to all harassment and hate crime and do all they can to follow these recommendations.