Many universities and colleges work hard to prevent harassment, hate and sexual misconduct and support their students where they experience these issues.
The specific needs of students vary between different universities and colleges, and these providers are responsible for developing their own policies and procedures to address harassment, hate and sexual misconduct.
But the OfS has an important role in aiming to ensure that every student is supported to access, succeed in and progress from higher education. As part of this we consider that all higher education students, however and wherever they are studying, should be protected from harassment, hate and sexual misconduct.
Our work in harassment, hate and sexual misconduct covers three broad areas:
- Providing a consistent set of standards through our statement of expectations to support universities and colleges to develop and implement effective systems, policies and processes to prevent and respond to incidents of harassment and sexual misconduct.
- Working with a range of partners to develop and share sector-wide effective practice, guidance and resources.
- Providing funding for higher education providers to develop practical and innovative approaches and solutions.
We encourage all higher education providers to:
- Take a whole provider approach – embedding across the whole organisation, their approach to preventing and responding to all forms of harassment, hate and sexual misconduct
- Embed a systematic approach to tackling harassment, hate and sexual misconduct in governing structures
- Engage with students to develop and evaluate systems, policies and processes
- Implement training to raise awareness of, and prevent, harassment, hate and sexual misconduct
- Have policies and processes in place for students to report and disclose incidents of harassment and sexual misconduct
- Have a fair, clear and accessible approach to taking action in response to reports and disclosures
- Ensure students have access to appropriate and effective support.