Three-quarters of University harassment reports from women


Three-quarters of bullying and harassment claims reported using the University’s Report and Support tool have been submitted by women, according to a Freedom of Information request submitted by Palatinate.

96 claims of bullying and harassment were submitted using the University’s Report and Support tool between October 2019, when the tool launched, and June 2021. 76 of these reports specified a gender, with 56 of such reports coming from female students or staff, amounting to 74% of reports where the gender of the reporting party was disclosed.

These figures include all reports submitted against staff and students, whether upheld, investigated, or resulted in a formal outcome, or not. 

The University told Palatinate that it is “committed to making Durham a safer place to live, work and study”, and that its policies regarding bullying and harassment have been “developed mindful of the gender-based nature of much harassment”.

83 of the reports disclosed the race of the reporting party, with 30% of these reports being made by BAME students or staff

As well as the 76 reports that disclosed a gender, 83 of the reports disclosed the race of the reporting party, with 30% of these reports being made by BAME students or staff. The University website says that BAME and women-identifying members of the Durham community experience “disproportionately high levels of unwanted behaviour”.

Staff and students can choose to remain anonymous when making a report using the tool. However, when an anonymous report is made, the accused individual cannot be named. When students and staff report a named individual, they are required to disclose their own identity. In this case, the report is passed to trained staff and an investigation may follow. 

Data published by the University reveals that 64% of reports made between October 2019 and February 2021 using the Report and Support tool were anonymous, and 36% of reports provided contact details. The University explains that there is a high proportion of anonymous reports “due to personal effects and burden of proof”.

“We are committed to making Durham a safer place to live, work and study”

Graham Towl

Commenting on the figures, Durham University Womxn’s Association said they “believe that the university does not do enough to protect female students and staff members from harassment and bullying. 

“There is a certain culture within Durham University that inspires and encourages condescension, belittlement, and mockery of women on this campus. If the university truly wants to make a difference to the experiences of female members of staff and students then it must restructure its reporting system. 

“The university has become too reliant on student-led welfare teams within individual colleges to handle issues such as bullying. This university needs to implement a strong system that adequately investigates and punishes instances of bullying, especially bullying steeped in misogyny.”

Graham Towl, Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Colleges and Student Experience), Durham University, said: “We are committed to making Durham a safer place to live, work and study and have worked closely with the Students’ Union to develop policies which encourage a learning environment where we actively strive to tackle issues of bullying and harassment. 

“We encourage students and staff to report matters of unwanted behaviours at Durham University. This is to ensure that they can be signposted to the right support, and if wanted, by the reporting party, we can go on to investigate too. Our policies have been developed mindful of the gender-based nature of much harassment. 

“Clear and well publicised reporting mechanisms such as the Report and Support tool, robust policies and procedures and well-resourced teams to deal with reports in appropriate ways are essential and we have them in place. We are further investing in this area with a focus upon prevention”. 


One thought on “Three-quarters of University harassment reports from women

  • Yeah I was catcalled, a young man said Hey Beautiful when I was walking to my lecture and it brightened up my day so much I replied ‘Hey, you shouldn’t talk to women like that’ because silence is violence lol
    But so is shouting at a stranger, like maybe his intentions were genuine, is he looking for a wife? Should I have asked him out, or kept walking with my head buried.
    Fight or flight response.
    I fought, he backed down laughing. Well at least I made him smile, I’m delighted he had a great day. He’s the main character btw, he always has been, he’s had different faces over the years but he’s the boss.
    Then T Swift releases ‘the man’ music video and you dance in your pyjamas in your room like she’s the pied piper. You’re hypnotised that a happy woman has said lol imagine if I was a man, people wouldn’t tell lies about me, they’d actually observe my actions, instead of twisting my words. The Man applies to the manTM in your life, he has the emotional maturity of a carrot.


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