University sexual assault epidemic revealed

Guardian investigation finds sexual harassment at ‘epidemic levels’ at UK universities.

After submitting over 100 Freedom of Information requests to universities up and down the country, The Guardian finds that at least 169 student allegations of sexual harassment, misconduct and gender violence by university staff made between 2011/12 and 2016/17.

At least another 127 allegations were made by colleagues.

However, there are fears the real figure may be much higher, as many victims were dissuaded from making official complaints, or withdrew their allegations and came to an informal resolution.

Dr Ann Olivarius, from law firm McAllister Olivarius, has said: “These numbers are shocking, but sadly, from our experience, are just the tip of the iceberg.”

“Sexual harassment of students by staff members has reached epidemic levels in British universities. Most universities have no effective mechanism to stop staff from pressuring students into sexual relationships, and when it happens, any sort of disciplinary action is pretty much nonexistent. Those in charge are often colleagues who have many incentives not to intervene.”

Oxford University received the highest number of allegations with 11, followed by Nottingham with 10, Edinburgh with nine and University of the Arts London with seven.

Jessica Murray

(Image: Julie’s Bicycle)

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