Appointment of full-time sexual violence officer is “first of its kind in the country”


Durham University has become the first university in the UK to employ a permanent member of staff dedicated to tackling the issue of sexual violence.

As reported by The Tab, the appointment of a full-time “Student Support and Training Officer (Sexual Violence and Misconduct)” marks the University’s commitment to confronting sexual violence in Durham.

Clarissa Humphreys, who took on the role in May 2016, told The Tab that the “University is taking an institution-wide approach meaning that all members of the University community are responsible for ensuring sexual violence and misconduct are not tolerated as part of our community.”

As a social worker who specialises in violence against women, Clarissa’s responsibilities will include policy development, student support, prevention and training, and case management.

The University said that Clarissa’s role involves “supporting the work of the SVMOG (Sexual Violence and Misconduct Operations Group), focusing particularly on the implementation of training in the first instance.”

“Sexual violence is a broad societal issue requiring cultural change and training is a key component to tackling the issue and changing culture,” Clarissa told The Tab.

In a statement to Palatinate, a University spokesperson said that the “University has specialist counsellors from RSACC, the local Rape Crisis centre, on site for two days and one evening per week.

“This specialist work is funded by the University and is in addition to the staff of the Counselling Service who are all experienced in supporting students with issues in this domain. This work is separate to the Student Support and Training Officer role.”

Photograph: Durham University

Correction, 4 January 2017:

An earlier version of this article stated that the role of Student Support and Training Officer (Sexual Violence and Misconduct) was a counselling role and was a part-time position. The role was always full-time, and was recently made permanent. The role is separate from the specialist counsellors that support the University from RSACC and is in addition to staff from the University Counselling Service.

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