Student guide to tackling harassment, hate and sexual misconduct

About our sexual misconduct pilot survey

We have developed a pilot survey for students to help us understand how widespread sexual misconduct is in English universities.

By running this survey, we want to:

  • understand students' experience of sexual misconduct (any sexual experiences you’ve had that were unwanted)
  • understand how these experiences have impacted on your learning
  • get a sense of your understanding of your university's policies and reporting systems
  • understand the best methodological approach to a survey of this kind.

This work is being carried out on our behalf by IFF Research, an independent social and market research agency.

We invited universities in England to take part in the pilot. If you are an undergraduate or postgraduate student at one of the participating universities, your university will send you further information about the project.

  • The University of Essex
  • Northumbria University
  • De Montfort University
  • The University of Westminster
  • Buckinghamshire New University
  • SAE Institute
  • University for the Creative Art
  • Richmond American University London
  • St Mary's University
  • Hartpury University and College

IFF will then contact you by email in September 2023 with an invitation to take part in the online survey. You will have until the start of November to complete the survey. 

The survey is completely voluntary and you can withdraw at any time. It will take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

At the end of the survey, you will be asked if you are willing to take part in an informal interview which will ask you about your experience of taking part in the survey.

About the questions

The survey asks about any sexual experiences you may have had that were unwanted.

We're interested in all experiences – whether they have happened in connection with your university or at other times and places in your life since you became a student.

We know that the survey content may be distressing for some students, and we have taken great care to ensure the questions are designed to limit this distress as much as possible. You'll be able to skip any questions you don't wish to answer or stop at any time.

How will my data be used?

Your university will upload personal data to a secure site for IFF Research to use to invite you to take part in the survey. 

Your survey responses will be securely shared with the OfS in a way that individuals cannot be directly identified. In all data processing we will take measures to protect your confidentiality and restrict access to the analysts working on the project.

The published data will not identify any individual, and your individual responses will not be shared with your university. At the end of the research project, your personal information and survey responses will be securely disposed of by IFF. The OfS will retain unattributed survey responses (without names and student contact details) indefinitely for statistical analysis.

Read our privacy notice for full details, available under 'student surveys'.

What support will be available for me?

Our help and support page lists national organisations and charities that may be able to support you if you have experienced sexual misconduct.

The survey will also provide links to services you can access and details of any support your university has available for you.

How will the survey help?

The outcome of the pilot will help us decide whether we should conduct a national survey. 

The findings will also help participating universities take action to prevent incidents and to know whether their activities are having an impact.

Further information

If you have any questions you can email us at [email protected].

If you would like to contact IFF about this research, please email [email protected].

Published 05 July 2023
Last updated 10 November 2023
10 November 2023
List of participating universities updated.
06 October 2023
List of participating universities published.

Describe your experience of using this website

Improve experience feedback
* *

Thank you for your feedback