Brunel University London has been delighted to lead on the European Commission co-funded ‘Universities Supporting Victims of Sexual Violence: Training for Sustainable Student Services’ project (USVreact). The project was implemented from march 2016 to February 2018, during a period of heightened international focus on challenging the issue of sexual violence and at a time when Universities UK were finalising their report entitled ‘Changing the Culture: Report of the Universities UK Taskforce Examining Violence Against Women, Harassment and Hate Crime Affecting University Students’ (UUK, 2016). The resulting public calls for action, underpinned by significant research and activism over time, have created a productive context for the implementation of the project.
At Brunel University London, a bespoke education programme for staff was designed to enable staff to respond appropriately to disclosures of sexual violence by raising awareness of sexual violence as a social issue, and supporting the development of knowledge and skills. The programme has already been undertaken and well evaluated by a number of staff. The awareness-raising aspect of the programme has generated interesting discussion about the possibilities for culture change at the University and in society more broadly. These are important discussions which must be sustained now that the project is complete.
The relevance and significance of this project is reflected in the response that the team have received from staff across all parts of the University including the Union of Brunel Students. There has also been a great deal of interest from across UK Universities, other organisations and the media, reflected at the recent project conference held at Brunel University London on 7th February 2018.
This report makes valuable recommendations for the University on the basis of the research evaluation undertaken, as well as ones that are applicable in other Universities and organisations. The implementation of these recommendations has positive implications for everyone at Brunel University London, supporting both students and staff in their daily lives and creating a positive campus culture where all feel valued and safe.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the contributors for their time and input into the USVreact project and the associated report.
Professor William Leahy BA (Hons), MA, PhD, FRSA
Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs and Civic Engagement)
Brunel University London