After a gruelling week of grim news about the murder of Sarah Everard, shocking evidence of the prevalence of sexual harassment of young women in the UK, and an ONS report on the disproportionate impacts of the pandemic on women, it’s important that we all pause to reflect on what more we can do within our community, individually and collectively, to challenge and eradicate violence against women, sexual harassment and the corrosive effects of gender inequality.
We’re in a good place from which to do better, and to contribute to the progress we so urgently need to achieve. We have a number of excellent researchers with significant expertise in sexual violence; we have a Policing Institute leading national research projects around the management of sex offenders; we’re on the road to becoming the main provider of Police Officer education across the East of England, ensuring that equalities training is embedded in all aspects of our delivery; and we have an absolute commitment to inclusion in our mission and everything we do. We have an excellent network of Sexual Violence Liaison Officers and a Students’ Union Advice Service that is second to none; we are working with Consent Collective to address sexual violence in our community, and have committed to a session on sexual violence at our forthcoming Senior Staff awayday; and we are one of five universities working with the charity AVA on a pilot project, #CombatMisconduct, to create effective models for challenging sexual misconduct in HE, and appointing additional staff to help us lead this work.
But, plainly, and painfully, sexual harassment, abuse and violence remain a blight on far too many women’s lives. Let’s all, please, take some time to speak out against sexual harassment and violence against women, and reflect on what more we can do – as educators, researchers, co-workers and managers – to eradicate it from our communities.
Professor Roderick Watkins, Vice Chancellor
15 March 2021
Sexual violence is never okay. We want you to feel that you can talk to us about these issues, and access our support if you are affected.
Bullying, discrimination, harassment, hate crimes, sexual violence and domestic abuse can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, class, or background.
Unsilenced is our online reporting tool to make it easier for students to tell us their situation so we can respond and offer support if the student wishes. For more information visit Report an incident of harassment.
The Harassment Support Network (HSN) is here if you have been affected by any unacceptable behaviours and want to talk to us.
The network is currently made up of Sexual Violence Liaison Officers (SVLOs) who can support you if you have experienced sexual violence and Harassment Support Officers (HSOs) to support you if you have been affected by hate crime, harassment, discrimination or bullying. For more information, including contact details for our Sexual Violence Liaison Officers, visit Harassment support network.
The Counselling and Wellbeing Service is available to all ARU students and offers a free and confidential service to promote mental health and wellbeing. For more information visit Counselling and mental health support.
The Students' Union Advice Service can support you on a number of problems, including sexual health, domestic abuse, mental health, relationship advice, and more. For more information visit the ARU Students' Union website.
There are many organisations and mental health services outside ARU who can support you if you are experiencing difficulties. Visit our health and wellbeing hub for their contact details.