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Petitioning The University of East Anglia

To get the University of East Anglia to have a proactive stance on sexual violence

Sexual violence is a public health crisis with as many as 1 in 100 people in the UK being a victim of a sexual offence.(1) A recent NUS study has shown a higher prevalence in universities, with 1 in 7 women identifying students experiencing serious physical or sexual assault.(2)

Despite a policy being created, the University of East Anglia has yet to proactively publish or advertise it. Without publishing a clear process of handling a report, many victims of a sexual crime may not wish to seek support. In fact, 93% of victims do not report incidents of sexual violence.(3)

Sexual violence can lead to physical problems such as unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Also, sexual violence may have a profound effect on an individual's mental health with depression, anxiety, substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder often being experienced. Not being able to access support can leave people with long term effects.

UEA does not systematically record disclosures of sexual violence. By neglecting to do this, the university cannot plan to help and support victims, or understand the scale of the problem.

We petition the University to work with SAAC and the Union of UEA Students to:

1. Have funding for a comprehensive strategy on prevention of sexual violence including:

      a.  talks for new students on issues of consent and advice and guidance

      b.  mandatory training for all staff in a supportive role

2. Ensure that students are aware of the policy on sexual violence and have clear guidelines on where to go for support and how their report will be handled. 

3. To have a dedicated system in place to actively record the number of reports of sexual violence, including compulsory reporting by all UEA staff.

4. To have clear and specific disciplinary procedures for incidents of sexual violence that involve students.

We have been repeatedly told that UEA ‘takes this matter very seriously’; however, we have yet to see these words put into action. We demand that the university meets with SAAC and the Union of UEA Students to discuss this matter with us.

 

References:

1.      Ministry of Justice, Home Office & the Office for National Statistics, Overview of sexual offending in England and Wales, (10/01/13), https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/214970/sexual-offending-overview-jan-2013.pdf (accessed 14/09/15)

2.      National Union of Students, Hidden Marks report, (2nd edition), http://www.nus.org.uk/Global/NUS_hidden_marks_report_2nd_edition_web.pdf (accessed 14/09/15)

3.      National Union of Students, Hidden Marks report, (2nd edition), http://www.nus.org.uk/Global/NUS_hidden_marks_report_2nd_edition_web.pdf (accessed 14/09/15)

 

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