Friday, December 16, 2016

Key Recommendations 3/5

Our vision is of an education system in which all further and higher education students can participate confidently, without the restraint of harassment and fear of violence.
We believe that institutions and students’ unions have a key role to play in ending violence against women in education and in that regard we make two key recommendations. These recommendations have been developed as a result of our analysis of the survey responses. The detail of these recommendations, and further recommendations, can be found in the last chapter of this report.

A ‘zero-tolerance’ approach to harassment and violence
Our research shows that high numbers of women students face ‘everyday’, low-level harassment and intrusive behaviour. We believe that an environment in which sexual harassment is tolerated is one in which more serious forms of violence are less likely to be dealt with effectively. We recommend therefore that institutions and students' unions should adopt a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to non-verbal and verbal sexual harassment.
Such an approach would:
•send out a strong signal to both staff and students that such behaviour is unacceptable both within and outside of the learning environment; and,
•create an environment in which women students are able to participate with dignity and confidence.
This approach is a standard which should underpin a comprehensive, cross-institutional policy against violence and harassment of women students, as described in the following recommendation.

An institutional policy to tackle violence against women

There are numerous ways in which institutions and students’ unions can work together to prevent further violence and harassment, to ensure that women students access the support services they need should they become victims, and to encourage reporting. We recommend that institutions, in partnership with students’ unions, should develop a comprehensive policy which would set out the measures they will undertake to tackle violence against women students.

This policy should:
•set out how the institution and students' union will develop and implement activities to change attitudes and raise awareness of violence;
•enable students and staff to recognise and effectively deal with violence and harassment against women students;
•discuss how to best utilise peer support in tackling violence and harassment;
•contain plans for improving campus design and security so as to help students feel safe;
•outline how the institution will work with relevant agencies to ensure that students access the support services that they need;
•contain steps explaining how reporting will be encouraged;
•set out how the institution will respond to violence against women perpetrated by its own students.

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