The University of Edinburgh has launched a new “Report and Support” system, described as ‘a platform for reporting distressing situations related to sexual violence, harassment, domestic abuse, stalking and more.’
The system allows students to report such issues anonymously or named, and ensures that they can choose “what gender of staff will contact [them],” in order to provide support.
The university has appointed a sexual harassment and violence liaison manager, and is providing student leaders, such as those providing peer support, with bystander intervention training.
Speaking about the new system, a University of Edinburgh student told The Student:
“It’s clear that there have been issues if it’s taken online platforms to get student stories heard.
“However, I do feel that the university is taking steps in the right direction.
“Within my own peer support scheme, we’ve been offered bystander training and the new Report and Support system seems to be a really informative site.
“I think that knowing their issues can be handled by trained individuals will be really reassuring for a lot of students and hopefully encourage more to come forward to make the campus feel safer in future.”
The “Report and Support” system has been instigated following a spate of media coverage and criticism for the alleged rape culture on campus as well as previous reporting systems being deemed inadequate.
A number of online platforms have received student testimonies of alleged rape culture on campus.
The Everyone’s Invited website has 53 stories of sexual violence linked to Edinburgh, while the Instagram account Edinburgh Anonymous has seen 101 accounts from Edinburgh students.
A University of Edinburgh spokesperson said: “We are committed to addressing the issue of sexual violence on campus and have invested significantly in awareness raising, delivering training for students and staff and ensuring there is effective professional support available for any student who needs it.
“Our new Report and Support platform allows students who have experienced sexual harassment, violence or abuse to use the platform to either tell the University (anonymously) about what happened or report with contact details and seek support.
“The site also provides further information, advice and guidance for survivors of sexual harassment, violence or abuse.
“Reports are received by one of the Report & Support team, which is made up of five trained Student Experience staff members, including our Sexual Violence & Harassment Liaison Manager.
“They can advise on seeking support and advice regarding student wellbeing in relation to all of the issues Report & Support covers.”
Image: via wagingnonviolence.org