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.
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.
These priorities are a living document and are intended to generate discussion and dialogue. We welcome feedback from those working in the sector on related issues.
Our Strategic Priorities
1. Implement an enforceable national code of conduct that clarifies professional boundaries. Address the issue of staff/student relationships directly within institutions.
2. Develop a reporting and complaints process for sexual misconduct/assault, which is sensitive to race/gender identity/sexuality/ability/undisclosed mental health issues.
3. Establish an independent national office for sexual misconduct advocacy and support, with specialist sexual misconduct advisors located within each institution.
4. Ensure all institutions record data and make publicly available reports on all allegations of sexual misconduct.
5. Address the long-term impact of staff sexual misconduct on those who experience it.
6. Implement comprehensive sector-wide and institution-level cultural change.
Further sector initiatives needed:
7. Instigate a national conversation on disciplinary procedures for staff members moving between institutions and data sharing across institutions.