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Universities and colleges receive 245 million to tackle sexual harassment

HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) has awarded grants to over 60 projects in universities – including University of Leicester - and colleges across the country which address concerns about sexual violence and harassment on campus.

The grants, from HEFCE’s Catalyst Fund, were issued in response to a report by the Universities UK Harassment Task Force which explored the nature and scale of the problem in higher education, and highlighted the need for institutions to respond more effectively.

Gill McIntyre, Head of Student Support at the University of Leicester, said: “We are dealing with a sector wide issue and information we have received from our own student survey (2016) reflects what the NUS found in their ‘Hidden Marks’ Survey (2010). On that basis we are being proactive in addressing this social issue. Work will include supporting students who have been a victim of sexual assault as well as working positively across the student community in ways to change the culture.”

The University of Leicester campaign focuses on developing a robust framework and is known as ‘Standing Together’. New initiatives together with existing work will be combined and embedded so that work extends beyond the project time and funding. This will involve cutting across organisational boundaries to ensure services join up, both internally and externally so that students don’t have to navigate themselves between organisational services for support.

Professor Jon Scott, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience, said: “This funding from HEFCE provides significant recognition and support for the on-going work of the Standing Together campaign. Sexual harassment is wholly unacceptable and the University of Leicester is committed both to supporting anyone in our community who has been a victim of such behaviour and to driving cultural change to eliminate this scourge.”

The University of Leicester is also a champion for HeForShe,  a global solidarity movement for gender equality, with the aim of engaging and encouraging men and boys to take action against gender inequality and to spread awareness and inspire action to eliminate discrimination against women and girls. The University of Leicester was invited by the United Nations to be one of just ten universities in the HeForShe ‘10x10x10 IMPACT Champions’ programme.

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