'Building Respect and Changing Cultures in the University Community’: An Account of Research in Progress

  • Katy Brookfield
Keywords: HEFCE, UK taskforce, bystander intervention, violence against women, sexual misconduct, online reporting


This paper provides an account of the HEFCE funded ‘Building Respect and Changing Cultures in the University Community’ project, which is based in the Student Wellbeing Centre at the University of Lincoln and is running between May 2017 and May 2018. The foundations for this project are rooted in the Universities UK report, ‘Changing the Culture: Report of the Universities UK Taskforce examining violence against women, harassment and hate crime affecting university students’ (2016). Universities UK published their ‘Changing the Culture’ report in October 2016 following a comprehensive review of evidence, and the report provides a series of recommendations to universities regarding the prevention of and appropriate response to sexual misconduct on university campuses. Our project, ‘Building Respect and Changing Cultures in the University Community’, is based around three key recommendations from Universities UK (2016); ensuring a cross-institution response to sexual misconduct on campus, developing an online reporting system with the option to report anonymously, and providing evidence led bystander intervention education to all staff and students.

To date, the project has already designed and launched the online reporting system, and we will soon be releasing the online bystander intervention modules for all staff and students. Further to this, approximately 450 members of staff from across the University will shortly be receiving face to face bystander intervention training. Here, the rationale for each of these in relation to the recommendations made by Universities UK is discussed, as is their practical application within a University setting. Finally, the paper discusses the student sexual misconduct survey and focus groups which are being run at the University, and their intended use within the project outputs.