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Durham University

Durham University News


Outstanding student support honoured

(1 December 2017)

Durham University has been recognised for its commitment to student support.

At the 2017 Times Higher Education Awards, held in London on Thursday 30 November, the University was Highly Commended in the Outstanding Support for Students category, for its Sexual Violence Task Force (SVTF).

Addressing a sector-wide issue

The honour recognises the work the SVTF undertook to address the sector-wide issue of sexual violence and misconduct at universities, and in society more widely.

The Durham University SVTF was established in 2015 to contribute to the prevention of sexual violence and to improve the support those experiencing sexual violence receive from the University.

It made a series of recommendations, which were approved by University Council and are being implemented by the Sexual Violence and Misconduct Operations Group (SVMOG).

Recent examples include the introduction of a new Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy and Procedure, training for staff in responding to sexual violence and misconduct, and all new students being encouraged to complete the Consent Matters online training course.

'Positive steps'

Owen Adams, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Colleges and Student Experience) and Chair of SVMOG, said: “We recognise that sexual violence and misconduct is a matter of international concern. Here at Durham, we had an early focus on sexual violence and misconduct. We have made a number of positive steps forward, but we recognise that this is just the beginning of an important programme of change.

“We look forward to building on the initial phase of work, to continue to work with external partners and to learn from colleagues at other universities, so that together we can eliminate sexual violence from our universities.”

'Much still to be done'

Professor Graham Towl, who chaired the SVTF, said: “Universities are uniquely well placed to contribute to the prevention and tackling of sexual violence on campus and beyond.

“These are civic and educational responsibilities that we take very seriously at Durham, as evidenced by our sector leading work in this area. But there remains much still to be done.”

Durham was also shortlisted in the Research Project of the Year: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences category for the Scottish Soldiers project, and the Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community category for Durham University Residents Forum. 

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