Tackling Sexual Harassment (1314P7)

Status: Lapsed | Zone: Student Life

Passed: 27/03/2014 | Lapsed: 27/03/2014

This policy was discussed at the following meetings:

  • According to Hidden Marks, a national report, 68% of students have been subject to verbal or physical sexual harassment, and nearly one in four have experienced unwanted sexual contact. This is especially applicable for women in nightclub environments. [1]
  • The current Union Valuing Diversity Policy, which states that SUSU must:

    “ensure that every student and staff member is treated fairly and have equality of opportunity within the union.
    not tolerate any discrimination against students or staff on any grounds.
    work alongside cohorts of individuals who may be subject to discrimination, prejudice and intimidation to provide a safe, welcoming and enjoyable environment.
    actively encourage participation from groups that are not usually involved in SUSU activities.” [2]
  • We do not currently have any definition for sexual harassment.
  • SUSU should raise awareness of sexual harassment/ violence and other kinds of harassment or bullying.
  • That we should create a more specific policy to taking a stand against Sexual Harassment and address the challenges it creates.
  • SUSU should create an environment where all students can enjoy time in their Union without being harassed.
  • In alignment with NUS definitions SUSU understand sexual harassment as describing unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature, including; someone making comments with a sexual overtone that made you feel uncomfortable; wolf whistling, catcalling or making noises with sexual overtones; being asked questions about your sex or romantic life when it is clearly irrelevant or none of the other persons business; being asked questions about your sexuality when it is clearly irrelevant or none of the other persons business; someone exposing their sexual organs to you when you did not agree to see them; someone groping, pinching or touching your body in a sexual manner when you did not agree to them doing so; and someone exposing any part of your body without you agreeing. [3]
  • To take action by understanding, educating, training and reviewing.
  • To begin the process of challenging unacceptable behaviour by first understanding what students currently believe the term sexual harassment to mean, and gauge their perceptions of its occurrence.
  • To educate those who engage in acts of sexual harassment:

    by running a drip-fed campaign throughout the year with various forms of media provoking debate around sexual harassment – especially focussed on End of Term, Freshers and New Year.
    by creating an action plan to work with at least five local night time venues in the academic year 2014/2015 to embed best practice.
    To ensure that we have a clear, transparent and simple procedure for affected students to report and address specific incidents of sexual harassmenet within SUSU.
    To ensure that those who witness or are victims of sexual harassment know the correct steps to take, by creating a programme of training for elected officers and relevant staff to help them understand what sexual harassment is and how to deal with it (to include Union Councillors, Student Leaders, Sabbatical officers, club captains/ Social sec and members of JCRs [4]). This will occur within the first 2 months of starting their roles.
    To support those who experience sexual harassment by regularly reviewing the support, processes and procedures that currently surround sexual harassment in SUSU every 12 months, and making changes where appropriate.
  • The Equality & Diversity Committee, along with the Student Life Zone, to have ownership over any work done to tackle sexual harassment.
  • VP Welfare and Equality and Diversity Officer to lead all work.