Prevent and address harassment and sexual misconduct

Survey of sexual misconduct

We are developing a pilot survey to understand how widespread sexual misconduct in the higher education sector is and learn more about the context in which incidents occur.

The pilot will survey a broad cross-section of higher education students at a selection of English universities. Fieldwork will take place in autumn 2023.

About the survey

The survey will ask students about their experiences of sexual misconduct and sexual harassment while at university.

It will explore how these experiences affected their studies, and students' experiences of the reporting mechanisms that providers have in place.

We have cognitively tested a draft of the questionnaire with students and throughout the process are working with an advisory group made up of academic and practitioner experts. Members of the advisory group include:

Name Role
Dr. Anna Bull Lecturer in Education and Social Justice, University of York
Dr. Bridget Steele Postdoctoral Fellow, Dalhousie University and the University of Oxford
Clarissa J. DiSantis Humphreys Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Manager, Durham University
Dr. David Humphreys Associate Professor of Evidence-Based Intervention and Policy Evaluation, University of Oxford
David Malpas Director of Student Affairs, Middlesex University
Prof. Graham Towl Professor of Forensic Psychology, Durham University
Jayne Aldridge Director for the Student Experience, University of Sussex
Dr. Louise Livesey Senior Lecturer in Criminology, University of Gloucestershire
Dr. Marian Duggan Senior Lecturer in Criminology, University of Kent
Prof. Matt Fossey Professor of Public Services Research, Anglia Ruskin University
Nkechi Adeboye Postgraduate Student, London School of Economics
Sarah d’Ambrumenil Head of the Office of Student Conduct, Complaints and Appeals, University of Cambridge

Participating providers will gain valuable information about their students’ experiences of sexual misconduct. The findings may help universities take action to prevent incidents, and in the future, could deepen understanding of whether activities are having an impact.

The pilot survey will also test the process for administering a national-level prevalence survey in English higher education and the outcome of the pilot will inform decisions on whether we conduct future prevalence surveys. 

Why we are running the survey

The survey was a recommendation from an independent evaluation of our statement of expectations for preventing and addressing harassment and sexual misconduct.

The evaluation recommended that we should develop a national survey looking at the prevalence of sexual misconduct to help understand the rates and context of incidents, areas of under-reporting and other gaps.

Published 26 January 2023
Last updated 22 June 2023
22 June 2023
Update on the survey and members of the advisory group added
23 February 2023
Extended deadline to 6 March.

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