A UK wide University staff strike is taking place at the end of February, due to universities wanting to end guaranteed pension benefits regardless of members’ contributions to their pension scheme over their employment lifetime. For this reason this local event will be postponed to the 12th of April 2018, to coincide with the ESRC seminar held at University of York. Updates about the event will be posted on this website.

York local findings:

Since the release of the NUS paper Hidden Marks in 2010, violence against women students and sexual violence in universities have been of national concern. In 2015 Universities UK created a Taskforce to examine violence against women, harassment and hate crime affecting university students. The sector-leading #USVreact research project, comprising 7 European countries, aimed to develop innovative specialist training for university staff who may respond to disclosures of sexual violence; delivering training across more than 20 partner and associate partner institutions. As a partner institution we have trained more than 90 staff members at the University of York, and through roll-out to our associate partners Lancaster University and York St John University it is predicted that a further 80 will be trained by end of Feb 2018.

In this free one-day conference there will be keynote presentations from Fiona Waye (Senior Policy Lead in Inclusion, Equality and Diversity at Universities UK) and Professor Carolyn Jackson (Lancaster University). Speakers from the University of York will introduce specificities of the local context, Prof Vanita Sundaram will present research findings from the evaluation of the training and discuss challenges in disseminating the programme. Associate partner institutions were responsible for rolling out the training programme in their own, different, institutional contexts. Speakers from each university will review their experience of implementing and embedding this programme. The afternoon will feature a break-out session addressing plans to embed training for staff within institutions and consider the future of this project.

The conference would be useful for researchers in the field of VAW and GBV, student-facing university staff and those working with survivors of sexual violence.

#USVreact is funded by the European Commission’s DG Justice, Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (DAPHNE strand).

Conference Programme:


Vanita Sundaram Coordinator/PI for University of York

Annis Stead Researcher for University of York

11:15 – 11:45 KEYNOTE ADDRESS 1

Fiona Waye Senior Policy Lead in Inclusion, Equality and Diversity at Universities UK:

12:00- 12:40 CONFERENCE PANEL 1: The University of York context

Open Door Team (student wellbeing service)

Student wellbeing needs                                                                                                                                                 (10 mins)

Mia Shantana Chaudhuri – Julyan and Alex Urquhart Community and Wellbeing Sabbatical Officer

and President of York University Students’ Union

Students’ Union awareness of/commitment to the issue/action                                                                        (10mins)


Colleges approach to student wellbeing                                                                                                                              (10 mins)

12:40- 13:30 FINDINGS PRESENTATION 1: USVreact at University of York
Vanita Sundaram and Annis Stead

Development of training, practice and findings at University of York                                                      (30 mins)
Student and Academic Services

Institutional support for survivors of sexual violence in policy and practice                                     (20 mins)

13:30 – 14:15 LUNCH (provided)

14:15 – 14:45 CONFERENCE PANEL 2: Local Support Services
Dani Ward Survive, Support for survivors of rape and sexual abuse in North Yorkshire
Independent Domestic Advice Services (IDAS)

14:45 – 15:30 FINDINGS PRESENTATION 2: USVreact at Associate Partner Institutions
Gemma Linfoot-King Building Healthy Relationships Project Manager, York St John University

15:30 – 16:00 BREAKOUT SESSION
-development of the USVreact project

-communication between local partners
-embedding in institutions
-evaluation in the local community

16:00 -16:30 KEYNOTE ADDRESS 2
Professor Carolyn Jackson Department of Educational Research, Lancaster University