New Spaces: Safeguarding Students from Violence and Hate
Sexual assault, harassment, violence and hate crime on university campuses is a prevalent and pressing concern. A recent Universities UK taskforce report recommended that urgent action in this area is needed. Universities are significant sites for implementing a joined-up approach and tackling these issues. As a campus of Changemakers, students, inter-disciplinary researchers, professional and support staff at The University of Northampton decided to take action to address these significant and important issues, in particular within the context of a major campus move to a town centre location. As one of only 60 institutions across the country to be awarded funding from HEFCE’s Catalyst fund, this ‘New Spaces: Safeguarding Students from Violence and Hate’ cross collaborative project aimed to create vital partnerships in tackling sexual violence and hate crime on campus. The aims of the project were to evaluate existing policies and develop a student-led collaborative approach to identify what currently happens when disclosures are made; staff and student perceptions, knowledge and experiences within the campus transition; as well as providing recommendations for new institutional policies, strategies and recommendations to support students in reporting harassment, sexual abuse, sexual violence and hate crime. This project also contributes to HEFCE’s wider work in creating guidelines and recommendations for HEIs for addressing these issues. A survey of the published literature, as well as an evaluation of existing processes and policies at The University of Northampton were carried out within this project. Data collection involved 2 Staff and 2 student focus groups, as well as 11 interviews with members of the university management team. These were conducted to discuss staff and student experiences, what support was in place for disclosures and recommendations for future practice within the transition to the new campus. One of the student focus groups utilised photo-elicitation methods to allow students to visually conceptualise and create a new, safe campus space. Recommendations are provided for understanding the prevalence of these issues within a campus context; tackle normative beliefs which may influence how they are perceived; increasing knowledge and awareness of sexual violence and hate crime; implementing mechanisms for disclosure and reporting; addressing issues related to security measures and procedures; enhancing partnership working within the local community. These recommendations have local impact and are being used to inform institutional policies and procedures at The University. Project findings are also being implemented into HEFCE’s wider work and national action around these issues. Internationally, the dissemination of these findings is contributing to the limited research in this area.
Full report of the HEFCE Catalyst funded project
Citation : Crofts, M., Hill, K., Barrick, R., Callaghan, J., Prokopiou, E., Armstrong-Hallam, S. (2018) New Spaces: Safeguarding Students from Violence and Hate. Report produced for the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).
Peer Reviewed : No
- Department of Law