Students Staff

17 January 2020

Our zero tolerance approach to sexual harassment and sexual violence

Filed under: Colchester, Loughton, News, Southend — Communications, CER @ 2.10 pm

We are committed to ensuring our University is a welcoming and inclusive place, where everyone is safe and treated with respect. Here is an update on our ongoing work in this area. 

If you experience any behaviour that does not uphold our values, report it online. Search Essex, Report and Support.

The University of Essex has a zero tolerance approach to all sexual harassment and sexual violence. We do not and will not tolerate such behaviour and, together with our Students’ Union, we are committed to making our University an inclusive and welcoming environment, where everyone is safe and treated with respect.

As a result of concern about how we have handled some of the complaints made by our students in the past, particularly the length of time these had taken to be completed, last academic year we undertook a full review of our policy and processes. This has resulted in a number of changes to our disciplinary and support processes.

The most important change has been the substantial revision of the Code of Student Conduct, which we strengthened to ensure we have the tools and policies in place to improve our handling of such cases. You will now be aware of the revised Code of Student Conduct and our expectations of behaviour, and this remains at the heart of us all making our University a welcoming and safe environment.

We have also enhanced our reporting platform Report and Support, which allows you to report any event or concern you have, and you can report anonymously if you feel you need to.

Alongside improving reporting and disciplinary processes, we have also introduced consent training; bystander training; additional security patrols at night and CCTV coverage across all our campuses; and have provided additional resources for our conduct team to ensure we manage complaints as quickly as possible.

Importantly, University Senate now receives a termly assurance report on the implementation of the Code of Student Conduct 2019-20. This report will be considered by Senate next week, with the information then shared with students through the SU.

We have taken independent external advice to ensure we are creating a fair and transparent process that supports students who make complaints and ensures their wellbeing is monitored, and will continue to do so, on an ongoing basis.

If you are the victim of, or witness to, an incident that you feel is a breach of the Code of Student Conduct; you should report the incident through Report and Support. The University’s conduct procedures are not intended to replace criminal proceedings and if the allegation you have made might be an offence under criminal law, you are expected to report the matter to the Police. More information about reporting a crime is on our student directory and support is available through the Student Services Hubs at each of our campuses.

This area remains a priority for our whole community, and we all need to play our part in ensuring we are a safe and inclusive environment. We are a community of supportive and courageous people who, working together can and will instigate change.

If you have any suggestions or feedback or if you need support with any of the issues raised above please contact our Student Services Hub.

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