Addressing Student Sexual Violence in Higher Education: A Good Practice Guide

Clarissa J Humphreys
Durham University, UK

Graham J Towl
Durham University, UK

Product Details
01 May 2020
Emerald Publishing Limited
228 pages - 138 x 216mm


Sexual violence is a well-documented issue within Higher Education and wider society. Students subjected to sexual violence suffer impacts to their physical, psychological, emotional, behavioural, and practical wellbeing, which have significant effects on their studies. Higher Education Institutions have a duty to ensure students can access their education in environments that are safe, without fear, harassment, or violence. Currently, there is a critical lack of guidance on how to meaningfully address this issue in practical terms. Advice offered to the sector, particularly in the UK, has focused on why Higher Education Institutions need to address sexual violence, offering general principles to shape institutions’ responses. This unique text is the first to offer practical guidance on how to address sexual violence, utilising a comprehensive institution-wide approach. This ethical method is trauma-informed and survivor-centred whilst being intersectional and requiring perpetrator accountability. The authors provide how-to level information on staffing, policy writing, responding to disclosures, developing comprehensive prevention and response education programmes, conducting trauma-informed investigations, adjudication and sanctioning processes and considering sanctioning guidelines for sexual violence. This is a ground-breaking resource for practitioners, senior leaders, policy makers, student services administrators, educators, investigators and adjudicators in Higher Education.
Part 1: Why 
Chapter 1. Introduction 
Chapter 2. Sexual Violence in Higher Education: An International Issue 
Chapter 3. The Call to Action: Higher Education Institutions’ Role in Addressing 
Part 2: How 
Chapter 4. Embedding a Comprehensive Institution-Wide Approach 
Chapter 5. Developing a Sexual Violence Policy and Procedure 
Chapter 6. Comprehensive Institution-Wide Education 
Chapter 7. Responding to Disclosures of Sexual Violence 
Chapter 8. Trauma-Informed Investigations 
Chapter 9. The Disciplinary Process 
Chapter 10. Concluding Thoughts and Recommendations
Clarissa J. Humphreys is the Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Manager at Durham University, UK. She is a practitioner and leading authority on addressing gender-based violence in Higher Education.  

Graham J. Towl is Professor of Forensic Psychology at Durham University and visiting Clinical Professor at Newcastle University, UK. He was Pro Vice Chancellor (PVC) Chair of the Sexual Violence Task Force at Durham University in 2015/2016 and is an international authority and speaker on the subject.
'This book needs to be in the hands of every advocate, in the library of every university, and on the desks of every administrator and policy maker in the higher education sector, regardless of their geographical location. It cuts through all of the noise we’ve heard in recent years, and offers practical and realistic advice for addressing sexual violence within the higher education sector, without ignoring the nuances that can be present in any individual situation. I can’t thank the authors enough for writing it. There were so many moments as I was reading that I was actually shouting out loud in agreement with what they had written. It’s made me re-think some of the work that we’ve been doing, and how we can improve our messaging.' - Sharna Bremner, Founder and Director, End Rape on Campus Australia

'Towl and Humphreys fill a niche gap in literature by strategizing and explaining specific ways institutions of higher education can and must go beyond legal compliance and “checking the box” in order to best prevent sexual violence and support victim-survivors of violence. Their unique approach is practically focused with plenty of detailed guidance, which although UK specific is widely applicable internationally as a most useful resource. Many of their ideas should be immediately tested and implemented' - Annie E. Clark, Co-Founder and Former Executive Director, End Rape on Campus; Author of We Believe You

'This book is a desperately-needed contribution to the discourse on sexual violence in Higher Education. The authors’ nuanced analysis of international approaches to sexual violence, institutional responsibility and the varied needs of victim-survivors is also applicable to institutions tackling sexual violence outside the HE sphere. This thoroughly researched guide is a vital tool in making the transformative change necessary to eradicate sexual violence in education and I highly recommend it to student activists, students’ unions and staff working in Higher Education' - Rachel Watters, Women Students’ Officer, National Union of Students

'Institutional responses to student sexual violence continue to be inadequate across the sector as a whole, sometimes through a lack of will, but often through a lack of understanding the complexities and specific issues that arise in this field. Humphreys and Towl bring their many years’ specialist academic and practical experience to bear, for the benefit of those in Higher Education who know they must develop a better response to sexual violence in universities but need to understand more detail about what good practice looks like and why. The authors help to flesh out the compelling reasons for taking a focussed long-term, whole-institution approach and then provide the tools for ensuring that the detail of policy, culture change programmes, investigations and disciplinary processes will be crafted from a place of understanding. This is an accessible and very helpful text that provides a wealth of relevant information about all aspects of sexual violence in the student community, and sets institutions on their way to achieving appropriately high standards in their response to sexual violence.' - Dr Helen Mott, Sexual Harassment and Women’s Rights Consultant

'Universities create societal leaders and thus have a unique ability to engender cultures where gender based violence is prevented and robustly tackled. Key to this are holistic institutional frameworks which comprise an integrated suite of policies, tools, partnerships and behaviours. In this work, Humphreys and Towl provide valuable perspectives and practical, evidence-informed guidance to develop such frameworks and facilitate a culture of shared ownership across Universities to deliver tangible and impactful societal change.' - Jill Stevenson, Executive Member, AMOSSHE; Dean for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and Head of Student Support Services, University of Stirling

'This is the book that UK universities have been waiting for. Drawing on extensive knowledge of sexual violence prevention and response, the authors lay out clear and practical steps for universities to follow in order to create a safer institution, as well as pushing forward best practice through evidenced arguments. This book should be required reading for university leaders and everyone working on the front line of student sexual violence services. Now that we know how to make campuses safer, there is no excuse for institutions that fail to act' - Dr Anna Bull, Co-founder, The 1752 Group

'As a sector, not nearly enough has been done yet to tackle sexual violence in universities, despite the fact that it impacts so many students lives in such tragic and personal ways. It is great to see such a well thought out and practical resource, which removes one more barrier to implementation. As the authors suggest, ultimately the main factor that stops institutional action on this, is leadership prioritisation. For those institutions who know you still need to do more, it’s over to you to do so…' - Chris Newson, Chairman and CEO, The Student Room Group

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