A new series of Pincident stats from Durham Students Union have revealed a worrying trend in violence and hate crimes around the city.
A total of 62 submissions have been reported to the online tool, which maps cases around Durham city, since June of this year. Incidents range from LGBT+, Race, Disability, to Sexually-related harassment and violence.
Across all incident categories, verbal forms of harassment were the most commonly submitted.
Most of the reported instances occurred around the City Centre.
Although a significant proportion of submissions came from students, two had been reported by staff members. Many submissions, however, have been unreported.
The main reasons for non-reporting included feeling that the incident was not serious enough to warrant a complaint, feeling that nothing would be done about the complaint, and believing that the incident could not be proved to have taken place.
While Pincident does not convey reports on to Police, it aims to provide a channel to an official complaint by encouraging victims to come forward.
Durham University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost, Professor Antony Long, said of the submissions: “We do not accept any form of prejudice or discrimination at Durham University, and we condemn incidents of abuse and harassment in the strongest possible terms.
“Where such incidents are reported to the University, students are actively encouraged and supported to report these to the Police, where there are dedicated officers in place to respond to them. However, we respect the right of the individual who has experienced such behaviour to make that choice. Students can access support even if they choose not to report an incident.
“The wellbeing and mental health of our students and staff are hugely important to us. We’d always strongly advise anyone affected by such incidents to engage with our extensive network of support including College Student Support Offices and the Counselling Service.”
In light of these reports, The University has emphasised its commitment towards ensuring every student at Durham feels safe. A series of additional measures have already been set out to meet this objective.
Over 500 Durham ‘Freps’ will be trained in Bringing in the Bystander, an active bystander training programme which is aimed at intervening during unwanted sexual and discriminatory incidents. The University also highlighted the importance of the Consent Matters course available to all students online, in addition to the Respect Matters campaign carried out by Durham Students’ Union, which raises valuable awareness.
Earlier this year, Durham University announced extra investment in specialist, external counselling available to both staff and students, increasing provision from 2.5 days per week to 3.5 days per week.
In April 2018, the University also embarked upon a £50,000 project to help combat religious-based hate crime and harassment in North East England.
The institution has also received funding as part of a national network of projects to tackle hate crime and harassment on campus.
As part of the scheme, the University will be launching an online ‘reporting and supporting’ programme that will allow the University to record reports of hate crime and harassment.
Photograph: Durham Students’ Union