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Tackling Gender Based Violence in Universities

13th March 2017

The problem of gender-based violence at universities will be discussed by leading figures from across Higher Education at a joint symposium in Newcastle tomorrow.

The one-day event will feature academics from a number of UK universities, including Northumbria and Newcastle. The symposium has been organised in response to the 2016 ‘Changing the Culture’ report published by the Universities UK Taskforce, which was established to examine violence against women, harassment, and hate crime affecting university students. The formation of this taskforce combined with the accompanying guidelines advising universities on how to handle alleged student misconduct that may also constitute a criminal offence, marked a turning point in the regulatory framework governing Higher Education Institutions’ response to Gender-based Violence. These changes have happened during a wider revival of resistance to Gender-based Violence in all its forms. Speakers from across the UK will come together tomorrow to provide critical perspectives on this challenge.

One of the co-organisers of the symposium is Dr Ruth Lewis, Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader for Sociology at Northumbria. The event was co-organised by Prof Kathryn Hollingsworth and Dr Nikki Godden-Rasul, of Newcastle University.

Dr Lewis, who is Co-convenor of the Universities Against Gender Based Violence network, said: “Gender-based violence, which has been a feature of university life for years, is finally getting the attention it deserves.

“Experiencing Gender-Based Violence - be it sexual harassment, sexual assault, or bullying - can be devastating, whether you’re a student or a member of staff. Many of us across the HE sector are working to improve university responses and to make sure victims get the support they need.

“The events in Newcastle this week will help raise awareness and learning about how universities should respond and what we can do to make university environments healthy and respectful for everyone.”

Dr Lewis will be delivering a paper entitled ‘Feminist Activism and Gender-Based Violence in Universities’. Geography lecture Dr Mike Jeffries will be among the other speakers. The symposium, delivered jointly between Newcastle University, Northumbria University and the British Sociological Association Gender Study Group, will take place at the Research Beehive, Newcastle University, tomorrow (Tuesday 14 March 2017). The symposium will be followed by a public lecture, ‘Campus Sexual Violence: Perspectives from the UK and USA’ by Alison Phipps (University of Sussex) and Elizabeth Sharp (Texas Tech University). For more information about the symposium click here

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