“Since forming, we have been able to have an impact in drawing attention to the ways in which staff sexual misconduct has serious impacts on students, and on other staff, and lobbying for institutions and sector bodies to recognise that they have to address the ways in which staff abuse their positions and that strategies to prevent staff sexual misconduct must be part of wider sexual harassment, sexual violence and hate crime initiatives.”
Our name is a reminder of the turning point for change. In December 2015, a small group organised what we believe is the first UK university conference on staff-to-student sexual harassment at Goldsmiths, University of London. Out of this conference arose the need for a national organisation to address the sexual misconduct of academic and professional staff within UK universities.
£1752 is the amount of money that was allocated by Goldsmiths to this event. While this provided a starting point for change, greater investment is needed by institutions for comprehensive preventative structures to be put in place. This work requires both action by individual institutions, and long-term partnership and investment in research, education and prevention by the higher education sector as a whole.
The 1752 Group draws on expertise from our backgrounds in organisational change, student unions, private and public sector consultancy, facilitation, corporate training, grassroots activism, and research. Our work has contributed to a national conversation in the UK and we are leading action on staff-to-student sexual misconduct in higher education. Sexual misconduct by staff is under-reported and under-researched.
Higher education institutions in the UK need to be leading the change to prevent cultures of abuse, respond effectively and without inflicting further harm, ensure robust, student-centred reporting and investigation procedures, and implement policies and procedures to eliminate the sexual misconduct of academic, professional services, contracted and temporary staff.
We advocate for a national code of conduct supported by an independent office, reporting and complaints process, transparent recording procedure, and long-term support for victims of sexual misconduct in higher education.
We have established six strategic priorities for the higher education sector in the UK to begin to address staff-student sexual misconduct. All six must be enacted together as part of an overall, wide-ranging and comprehensive approach to this issue.