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Cambridge University uncovers 173 cases of sexual harassment on campus

The University of Cambridge has said it has a “significant problem” involving sexual harassment and misconduct after an awareness campaign found nearly 175 cases of misconduct on campus.

world Updated: Feb 06, 2018 21:46 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
MeToo,sexual harassment,University of Cambridge
File photo of the University of Cambridge.(Reuters)

An awareness campaign launched by the University of Cambridge in October 2017 has uncovered 173 cases of sexual misconduct on campus, even as varsities across the United Kingdom take steps to deal with the issue.

Cambridge pro-vice-chancellor Graham Virgo saidthe 173 reports until January 31 were received after an anonymous reporting tool was introduced. Most were student-on-student cases, while seven were by staff against colleagues and two by students against staff.

“We expected high numbers, and view it as a metric of success. It appears victims have confidence in our promise that these figures will be used to judge the nature and scale of sexual misconduct affecting students and staff, and to act on it accordingly," Virgo said.

“It supports our belief that we have a significant problem involving sexual misconduct – what we now need to ensure is that those who have been affected receive the support and guidance they need.”

The data gathered, Virgo said, was anonymous and some of it will be historic.

“Challenging sexual misconduct is not only the right thing to do for the safety and well-being of staff and students. Universities are in a unique position to instil a zero tolerance approach to misconduct in their students which they can take with them into the future,” he added.

Groping and sexual misconduct at the University of Oxford have made headlines in the past. In 2015, women students coded a new app called First Response to take survivors and friends ofsexualassault survivors through the most relevant options available to them to deal with such cases.

These included attending asexualassault referral centre, to calling the police and getting medical attention. It also provides information about optional ways to respond to asexualassault and essential knowledge about support resources, including critical contact details and answers to frequently asked questions such as what constitutessexualconsent.

First Published: Feb 06, 2018 16:19 IST