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Statement of Commitment: Preventing and responding to harassment and sexual misconduct

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The University is committed to fostering a stimulating, supportive and inclusive learning and working environment. We aim to create a culture of mutual respect and support for diversity, underpinned by mutual respect and trust where all our students and staff are able to achieve to their full potential.

We believe that everyone is entitled to study and work in a positive, safe and supportive environment that values and promotes personal dignity.

There is no place for any form of harassment, hate or sexual misconduct at our University.

This Statement sets out our positive aims and commitments to protect our students and staff from all forms of harassment and sexual misconduct from other students, staff or visitors.

We define Harassment (section 26 of the Equality Act 2010) as:

including unwanted behaviour or conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment because of, or connected to, one or more of the following protected characteristics:
age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation.

We acknowledge harassment to include domestic violence and abuse (which can also involve control, coercion and threats) and stalking.

We also consider harassment to include any incidents of physical violence towards another person(s) on the basis of a protected characteristic and hate crimes, such as those criminal offences, which are perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by hostility or prejudice, based on a person’s disability or perceived disability; race or perceived race; or religion or perceived religion; or sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation or transgender identity or perceived transgender identity.

We define Sexual Misconduct as:

relating to all unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, including, but not limited to:

  • sexual harassment (as defined by Section 26 (2) of the Equality Act 2010)
  • unwanted conduct which creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment (as defined by the Equality Act 2010)
  • assault (as defined by the Sexual Offences Act 2003)
  • rape (as defined by the Sexual Offences Act 2003)
  • physical unwanted sexual advances (as set out by the Equality and Human Rights Commission: Sexual harassment and the law, 2017)
  • intimidation, or promising resources or benefits in return for sexual favours (as set out by the Equality and Human Rights Commission: Sexual harassment and the law, 2017)
  • distributing private and personal explicit images or video footage of an individual without their consent (as defined by the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015).

Our definitions include harassment and sexual misconduct through any medium, including, for example, online.

We will:

  • communicate clearly and embed our approach to preventing and responding to all forms of harassment and sexual misconduct;
  • implement a systematic approach to tackle harassment and sexual misconduct which is embedded within our governance structures. This will include Board of Governors and University Executive oversight for these issues;
  • engage with a diverse range of students and staff to develop and evaluate systems, policies and processes to address harassment and sexual misconduct;
  • have in place effective policies and processes for reporting and disclosing harassment and sexual misconduct, and appropriate support for those who have experienced it;
  • engage in a sensitive manner to support student and staff wellbeing. This will include ensuring that engagement is accompanied by appropriate support and safeguards, which have been informed by specialist expertise, where appropriate;
  • implement adequate and effective staff and student training to raise awareness of, and prevent, harassment and sexual misconduct;
  • have in place fair, visible and easy to understand policies and processes which deal with complaints, allegations and disclosures and set out the circumstances in which disciplinary proceedings may be initiated against a student or member of staff;
  • work with our Students’ Union, Trade Unions and other relevant bodies to deliver a clear and consistent message to students, staff and visitors that harassment and sexual misconduct will not be tolerated;
  • set out behavioural expectations for prospective and current students and staff, and these will be visible, easy to understand and be made clear to new students and staff as part of induction activities.

 

Approved by: Board of Governors
Date: May 2021

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