University awarded national funding for student safeguarding

21 March 2017

Canterbury Christ Church University has been awarded over £40,000 to strengthen student safeguarding on campus.

The Student Peer-to-Peer Bystander-training Project aims to build on existing work undertaken by the University’s Expect Respect campaign, which in partnership with the Christ Church Students’ Union, re-enforces the University’s commitment to creating and sustaining a safe and supportive environment on campus, free from any form of discrimination, bullying or harassment.

The project specifically aims to tackle sexual violence by developing a short bystander-training programme with university staff, students, and representatives from external specialist organisations including Kent Police, Rising Sun Domestic Violence Project and East Kent Rape Crisis Centre. The training will be delivered by students to students.

The project is one of over 60 nationwide schemes, organised by universities and colleges, to receive a share of £2.45million from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to address national concerns about sexual violence and harassment on campuses.

The grants, from HEFCE’s Catalyst Fund, were issued in response to a report by the Universities UK Harassment Task Force which has called for a zero-tolerance culture across institutions.

The projects have been developed with students, who will have pivotal roles in their delivery. They cover a wide range of activity, including training and awareness raising, digital innovation, and new approaches to prevention and reporting.

Professor Helen James, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education and Student Experience, said: “Incidents of harassment, bullying, hate crime and sexual violence are of national concern and we welcome this funding from HEFCE. It recognises the important, pro-active work the University and Students’ Union have been doing together over the last year to ensure our students and staff continue to enjoy a safe and supportive environment.

“The important aspect of this project is that the training will be delivered by students to students. It will enable our students to engage with their peers and create a community of active bystanders who will have the knowledge, ability and confidence to report and take action against sexual harassment.”

HEFCE Chief Executive, Professor Madeleine Atkins, said: “All students should feel safe and supported during their time in higher education. Universities and colleges are working hard to tackle issues of sexual harassment and violence on campus, but there is more to be done. Their determination and commitment is evident in the overwhelmingly positive response to HEFCE’s Catalyst Fund call.

“We are delighted to be supporting a range of innovative projects, and we will be looking to share good practice and evidence of successful outcomes over the coming months."

Notes to editors

  • HEFCE’s catalyst fund provides targeted investment in activity led by universities and colleges. The fund supports a range of student and sector priorities, including innovation in higher education, efficiency and effectiveness, and student interest issues. The call for student safeguarding on campus was issued on 20 December 2016 and closed on 02 February 2017. HEFCE has awarded £2,453,141funding to 64 institutions.
  • The proposals were assessed by the Catalyst Safeguarding Panel, which is chaired by HEFCE’s Director of Universities and Colleges, Yvonne Hawkins. Panel members include Ben Bailey (Chair of AMOSSHE and Director of Student Services, University of Birmingham), Nerys Thomas (Head of Research, College of Policing) and Hareem Ghani, (Women’s Officer, NUS).
  • The Universities UK report, Changing the Culture, can be read here.

Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.

With 17,000 students across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

  • 96% of our UK undergraduates were in employment or further studies six months after completing their studies*.
  • We are one of the South East’s largest providers of education, training and skills leading to public service careers.

*2014/15 Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey

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Last edited: 15/06/2017 15:16:00