Prevent and address harassment and sexual misconduct

Consultation on a new approach

We recently consulted on a new approach to tackling harassment and sexual misconduct in English higher education.

What did we propose?

We proposed a new condition of registration to ensure that students are protected from harassment and sexual misconduct.

The proposed new condition would require universities and colleges to publish a single document explaining:

  • the steps it will take to protect students from harassment and sexual misconduct
  • arrangements for handling incidents
  • details of how it will support anyone involved in incidents
  • details of training for students and staff.

This new approach would also:

  • provide clear and specific definitions of harassment and sexual misconduct to support consistency across the sector
  • require universities and colleges to have the capacity and resources to deliver everything required by the proposed condition
  • introduce freedom of speech principles to ensure that when navigating these issues a provider places significant weight on the importance of freedom of speech within the law
  • prohibit non-disclosure agreements forbidding students to talk about incidents of harassment and sexual misconduct
  • place regulatory requirements on universities and colleges in relation to personal relationships between students and relevant staff.

You can read our proposals in full in our consultation document.

Outcomes of the consultation

The deadline for responses to the consultation was 4 May 2023. We aim to publish a summary of responses and our decisions in the coming months.

Published 23 February 2023
Last updated 09 May 2023
09 May 2023
Page updated to reflect that the consultation is now closed.

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