SVTF produces guide for HE leaders to address sexual violence

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Durham University’s Sexual Violence Task Force (SVTF) has produced a guide for staff and student higher education leaders that outlines how sexual violence may be addressed in the university environment.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stuart Corbridge, said ahead of its launch that Durham “is clear that sexual violence will not be tolerated.

“We are working, and will continue to work, proactively to address this very issue, learning from best practice.”

The guide includes a summary of the final recommendations made by the Sexual Violence Task Force, which will be taken forward by the Sexual Violence and Misconduct Operations Group (SVMOG).

Among other things, the University will “have specialist policies and procedures in place for investigating incidents of sexual violence,” “ensure that every policy and practice is test against the organising principle of empowering those who make such reports,” and “enact culture change through bystander intervention and consent workshops for all students.”

Professor Corbridge said that an online training module on sexual consent will be made available to students this term.

“We are further piloting bystander intervention in our colleges and via student groups.

“In addition, our Student Support and Training Officer (Sexual Violence and Misconduct) supports Durham student campaigns on the issue.”

The appointment of the Student Support and Training Officer (Sexual Violence and Misconduct) is noted as “a unique role in the UK HE sector,” supporting the working of the SVMOG.

The SVMOG “includes a representative from the Students’ Union and specialist partners such as the Rape & Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre.”

Photograph: Durham University

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