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Access Denied: Sexual Violence Impact on WP.

Bovill, Helen



Developing Bystander Intervention in a UK University.
‘When you are a survivor of sexual assault, participating in your education is easier said than done.’ (NUS, 2016).
Impact upon widening participation
If a student is a victim of sexual assault it can be very difficult to participate fully in the student experience. They may have to see their alleged perpetrator, change classes, change accommodation or develop new social groups. Sexual assault can affect confidence, raise levels of anxiety and lead to mental and physical health issues. Impact upon retention, attainment and progression can all result. Sustained commitments from universities toward cultural change is required to lower the prevalence of sexual violence on campus and to mitigate against the lasting impacts for those who are subject to assault. This paper/discussion group will consider university developments in tackling these issues.
Research so far
Campus sexual violence has been under-researched in the UK. British Crime Survey Statistics demonstrating the prevalence of violence towards women changed this landscape. The British Government published ‘End Violence Against Women’ in 2010. A UK study by National Union of Students (NUS) surveyed female students about perceptions of safety and experiences of harassment, stalking and sexual assault. 2058 responses were received, headline findings were:
• 68% experienced some form of verbal or non-verbal harassment.
• 12% subject to stalking.
• 16% experienced unwanted kissing, touching or molesting.
• 7% subject to serious sexual assault. (NUS 2010, 3).
Further research followed (Phipps, 2013; Cambridge Study on Sexual Violence 2014). In 2016 Universities UK published ‘Changing the Culture’ obligating UK universities to develop strategies to manage violence and harassment. The Higher Education Funding Council for England announced a range of catalyst funds from 2016. This research emanates from one of these funds.
This study
In 2014 a Bystander Toolkit was developed by the University of the West of England (UWE), an 8 hour intervention drawing upon similar US programmes. This paper reports on working with students to develop this programme into a social norms media campaign of: a 3 minute film, posters, and a shortened Bystander programme; targeting behaviours to become socially proscribed.
Research to date has encompassed pre and post questionnaires to up to 85 first year students who received the 8 hour bystander intervention. This was followed with 3 focus groups and poster workshops lasting up to 3 hours with 15 students who had received the intervention.


Bovill, H. (2018, July). Access Denied: Sexual Violence Impact on WP

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Start Date Jul 1, 2018
Deposit Date Jul 22, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jan 3, 2020
Public URL