Universities in the west of England have pledged together for the first time to take a collective approach in tackling sexual violence and harassment.

The ‘joint commitment’ sets out 10 ways in which the universities will foster a safe environment on campus, while making sure that students affected by sexual violence or harassment are supported.

On Monday 5 February, at the beginning of Sexual Violence Awareness Week, the commitment was signed into life by the Vice-Chancellors of the universities of Bath, Bath Spa, Bristol and UWE Bristol, and the Presidents and Officers of their respective Students’ Unions.

The 10 point plan includes educating students on consent, providing clear channels to report inappropriate behaviour and supporting students if they want to report sexual violence or harassment. As part of this plan, the four universities commit to align policies and procedures and work together where cases include individuals from different institutions.

In a joint statement, the universities and their students’ unions said:

“We believe that all students should feel safe at university, so that they can reach their academic potential and fully immerse themselves in campus life.

“Today, we are jointly sending a clear message that sexual violence and harassment is simply not acceptable. It’s sometimes hard to talk about inappropriate behaviour and that’s why we’re bringing it out in the open. We also want to make clear to all our students that help and support is available.

“Thank you to everyone who has been involved in this pledge and who continues to support this important work.”

The commitment was signed by:

  • Vice-Chancellor & President Evelyn Welch and the Students’ Union at the University of Bristol
  • Vice-Chancellor & President Prof. Ian White and the Students’ Union at the University of Bath
  • Vice-Chancellor Prof. Sue Rigby and the Students’ Union at Bath Spa University
  • Vice-Chancellor & President Prof. Sir Steve West Bristol and the Students’ Union at UWE Bristol

You can read the joint commitment to our students on sexual violence and harassment.