Impact Investigations Team
In light of recent spiking incidences, Impact in collaboration with NSTV and URN have conducted a university-wide survey* shedding light on female safety concerns at the University of Nottingham.
90% of female students who experienced sexual assault or harassment decided not to report it.
Impact’s Investigations Team found that over half of the female students surveyed (321 women) had experienced sexual assault or harassment during their time at the University. Of these, over 90% (291 women) chose not to report the incidence.
Emily Garton, the University of Nottingham Students’ Union Women’s** Officer, told Impact that a new, inclusive and effective reporting process, known as Report and Support, had been promoted via a number of channels. These included “welfare training, emails, the website, the My Nottingham App, the screen outside the Portland Building, social media, and so on”.
Despite this, 83% of students said they did not know about the process. Furthermore, only 5.4% of female students said they would consult a personal tutor or UoN staff member for support, with 81.7% saying they would confide in friends, instead. This raises concerns, therefore, that the issue lies not simply in promoting the reporting system further, but in encouraging women to come forward in the first place.
One female student said she was “scared to report in case there [were] consequences for me or people find out”. Another wrote that if she “reported the incidents nobody would believe me” as the perpetrator was “a confident and popular student that was well liked in my halls”.
It seems that, rather than simply promoting the reporting process, the University needs to convince its female students that they will not be punished for speaking up. Devising an inclusive and sensitive reporting process for victims is a step in the right direction, but it will remain nothing more than a token measure if female students are too frightened of the repercussions to use it.
When asked for comment, Claire Thompson, the University’s Associate Director of Student Wellbeing said:
“Everyone in our community should feel safe at all times from any form of abuse. We educate our staff and students on the standards of behaviour we expect and promote safety and awareness initiatives such as Let’s be Clear on Consent to protect our community against sexual misconduct.
Students who have experienced sexual harassment and violence are encouraged to report through the University’s Report and Support system, via the website or university app. Students seeking advice about sexual violence are offered a meeting with a Sexual Violence Liaison Officer who has specialist, accredited training to support students making a disclosure (resources linked at the bottom of the article).”
**When this article uses the term women, men, male or female, it references all individuals self-identifying with these genders.
**The survey received a total of 826 responses, 615 of whom identified as female and 211 as male.
Written by Niamh Robinson
Researched by Impact Investigations team:
Niamh Robinson, Madeleine Collier, Emily Vivian, Lauren Mcgaun, Alice Nott, Gareth Holmes, Hannah Walton-Hughes, Jasmin Lemarie, India Rose Campbell, Natasha Saxton, Lana Christon, Tessa Williams, Faith Millington, Sarina Rivlin-Sanders, Rebecca Starkie, Olivia Conroy, Lauren Bryant, Niamh Budd
Featured image courtesy of Rian Patel. Permission to use granted to Impact.
Further resources and support:
University of Nottingham Sexual Violence Liaison Officer (SVLO) Service:
Report and Support: https://reportandsupport.nottingham.ac.uk/
Let’s Be Clear on Consent: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/currentstudents/healthyu/lets-be-clear-on-consent.aspx