[CW: sexual misconduct, rape]
Following recent student-led activities regarding the SU and University’s handling of sexual misconduct, we wanted to publicly respond to students’ concerns.
[CW: sexual misconduct, rape]
Following the social media activity, petition which received over 2,000 signatures, on-campus demonstration and letter received towards the end of last week regarding the SU and University’s handling of sexual misconduct, we wanted to publicly respond to students’ concerns, and also offer some guidance to those who are victims of sexual misconduct.
As an SU we stand in complete solidarity with survivors and those actively combatting sexual misconduct at Warwick, and we are fully committed to tackling this issue. Therefore, it is paramount that we make students more aware of the help and support currently available, whilst also acknowledging that there is still much progress to be made.
If you or someone close to you has been affected by sexual misconduct, and you aren’t sure where you want to go for support, or want to consider your options in relation to reporting, we would encourage you to speak to an advisor at the SU Advice Centre. The Advice Centre is a free, impartial, non-judgemental, confidential space for all students to access support, which is completely independent from the University. The team is able to support you with understanding your options, and, if you choose to report any incidents, they will be able to support you with the reporting and guide you through any process, whilst ensuring you can access appropriate and specialist support. There are a variety of options available, and the Advice Centre team will act in students’ best interests to empower you to make informed choices about your circumstances.
Below are some other places you can go for any support relating to sexual misconduct:
Internal Support Services:
External Support Services:
- Coventry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (CRASAC) helpline, ring 02476 277777 to self-refer. Open Monday-Friday 10am-2pm, and Monday and Thursday 6pm-8pm
- Blue Sky Centre: visit their website or call 0800 970 0370. BSC offer support for victims of Rape or Serious Sexual Assault, and offer specialist support to LGBTQUA+ and BAME people.
- IAPT (NHS Improving Access for Psychological Therapies), ring on 02476671090 if you are registered with a GP in the Warwick/Coventry area
- PAPYRUS, visit their website or call to access the suicide helpline, 0800 068 4141. ?
- Galop provides a free service for all LGBT+ people who have experienced sexual assault. Call 0800 999 5428, send them an email or visit their website.
- Mind, a mental health charity, call their info line at 0300 123 3393 or visit their website
- If you are in immediate danger of harm from others or yourself, please contact the police: call 999, 112 or campus security if you are on campus (024 7652 2222)
Since the group chat scandal, the University has invested in and implemented a new, much more robust procedure for the reporting of sexual misconduct: their priority is to support students making disclosures. This process is called Report & Support. Once you’ve reported through Report & Support, you will be assigned a Student Liaison Officer, who will help to advise you of your options, including referral to a University disciplinary investigation or assistance with police reporting. It also accepts anonymous disclosures, and offers support for previous sexual abuse, which may have occurred before coming to the University. We are conscious that we need to raise the profile of Report & Support to ensure all students know how to report incidents of sexual misconduct to the University, and so we will work with the University and students to promote and improve it as much as possible. As such, we will work with the University to increase the amount of promotion and the accessibility of Report & Support, and will continually promote it through SU channels, including the website, Facebook page and All Member Email.
We’re aware that there are calls for the University to take reports more seriously and to impose harsher sanctions on students who commit sexual misconduct. As a result, we will be meeting with the University to push for harsher sanctions to be given to these students, and address any concerns surrounding the Report & Support process. If you have had a negative experience as a result of Report & Support, please do let us at the SU know, as several Officers are in regular communication with the Report & Support team, and we are committed to continuing to tackle any issues raised to us regarding the system and process. If you would like to raise an issue or concern, please get in touch with the SU Advice Centre, or, alternatively, fill out our online form. Regardless of whether you raise your concerns through the Advice Centre, the form, or the town hall meeting (see below), we will not share your identity with the University.
As an SU, we have several initiatives in place aiming to tackle and raise awareness of sexual misconduct in our community. However, this movement has been a reminder to us as to how much of an issue this is at Warwick. Whilst the below initiatives are just some of the campaigns the SU currently runs and are planning to expand on, we know there is still much work to be done, and so would welcome any feedback or suggestions you may have as to how we can better support students and tackle this issue. As such, we are planning to host an online Town Hall meeting where we welcome you to come and speak to the Officer team about your questions, suggestions or concerns surrounding work the SU are doing relating to sexual misconduct on campus. It will take place on Wednesday 9th December at 3-4pm, and is open to any interested students.
In all SU outlets and venues, we operate the ‘Ask for Angela’ scheme. This means that if you are placed in an uncomfortable situation, or you have experienced sexual misconduct, you can always approach a member of SU staff and ask for ‘Angela’. They will then calmly ensure you are removed from any situation in a discreet manner, and are offered support. We will ensure that promotional materials for this scheme are still in place (such as on the back of toilet cubicle doors), and reinstated if they have recently been removed/damaged. We’re also looking into further training we can give to our outlet and venue staff to ensure they are able to effectively deal with any incidents or disclosures of sexual misconduct and better protect students from such harm.
It’s essential that sports club and society exec members feel empowered to support and signpost students within their club or society who have been affected by sexual misconduct. The last training sessions for exec members were held in February 2020. As such, we will be running training sessions for club and society exec members, and ensure that every club and society has a Welfare Officer on the exec.
The Dean of Students’ office within the University also offers an Active Bystander Intervention course which we are promoting to club and society exec members and through the #WeGetConsent campaign. The workshop provides an introduction to our role as (active) bystanders within the university community (and beyond), and supports participants in their journey towards possessing the knowledge, skills and confidence to make safe, effective interventions. For more info or to sign up, click here.
We are also planning to develop consent workshops to compliment the Active Bystander courses, which will be available to all students and promoted through all available SU channels. We also plan to introduce a dedicated email newsletter to keep students updated on our work on #WeGetConsent.
Alongside the above initiatives and plans, several Officers have met with some of the students who wrote the open letter, started the petition, and organised the protest, and so we are currently putting together an action plan to ensure all the points raised will be addressed.
Finally, we are committed to ensuring all students can lead a safe life at Warwick, and will continue to tackle all forms of sexual misconduct within our community. Please do reach out for support if you or someone close to you has experienced sexual misconduct, and do let us know if there’s anything we can do to better support you or tackle this issue on campus.
SU Full and Part Time Officer Team