Monday, December 19, 2016

Introduction and Background 4/5

This report outlines findings from a survey carried out by the National Union of Students exploring the prevalence and nature of harassment, stalking, financial control, control over course and institution choice, and physical and sexual violence faced by women students. The UK-wide study provides a snapshot of the experiences of women students today. It includes information about survey respondents’ experiences of harassment and violence, the extent to which these crimes were reported and to whom, the profile of offenders, and the impact of such incidences on women students’ health, relationships and education.
The study covers full-time and part-time students in both further and higher education. Both UK  domiciled and international students took part, and surveys were completed by students studying in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.


The British Crime Survey has consistently shown that young women aged 16–24 have a heightened risk of being a victim of violent crime compared with older women. It has also shown that the majority of victims of domestic violence are women, and that sexual partner violence in young people’s relationships is alltoo common.1
These figures, in addition to the publication of research suggesting a hardening of attitudes towards victims of sexual assault,2 were the background to this research exploring the experiences of women in further and higher education today. We wanted to find out from women students themselves what their experiences of harassment, stalking, violence and sexual assault were.
We wanted to know what the consequences of suc experiences were for students, and whether they were reporting them to the police and to people within their institution. And we wanted to know what they thought could be done to support women students who have been victims of such crimes, and to end violence against women.
In the public policy environment, there is ongoing work to address violence against women and girls in all its forms. At the beginning of 2010 the Government published its strategy to end violence against women and girls, the result of a year-long consultation which engaged thousands of people.3 Alongside the strategy, a number of reviews commissioned by the government are underway to consider particular aspects of the problem. At the end of 2009, Sara Payne published her review of the criminal justice system's response to rape victims.4 In February 2010 Dr Papadopoulos published an independent review on the sexualisation of young people;5 and Baroness Stern published findings from a review of the way that rape complaints are handled in March 2010.6
We hope that, by illuminating the specific circumstances in which student women experience the range of behaviours included in our survey, this research will be a useful contribution to an ongoing debate about how to end violence against women.

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