In October 2016 UUK’s Changing the Culture taskforce published the ‘Report of the Universities UK taskforce examining violence against women, harassment and hate crime affecting university students’.
Following this publication higher education organisations such as Universities UK and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales began to issue guidance to the sector on how institutions in Wales can contribute to assisting students who have experienced violence, harassment or hate crime. As a Welsh Institution, this would also include the 2015 Welsh Government’s ‘Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Act’.
At this time Cardiff Met set up it’s ‘Changing the Culture’ task and finish group is to coordinate all of the work happening across the University, make sure we are meeting regulatory requirements, and discuss ideas on how we can make Cardiff Met a safe community for staff and students. The group has 4 strategic objectives around prevention, protection, support, and measures for reporting progress.
“The University is committed to developing a culture within the University community in which any incidents of Sexual Misconduct and Violence will not be tolerated, and will be thoroughly addressed to ensure the preservation of a safe environment for both staff and students.”
As a SU we wanted to get involved where we could have the most impact and felt this was best suited under the prevention objective;
• Increasing awareness and challenge attitudes/myths of sexual misconduct;
• Increase awareness in students of the importance of safe, equal, and healthy relationships and that abusive behaviour is wrong [Includes consent];
• Make early intervention and prevention a priority.
With the use of our resources, the connection with students through our rep structure, sports clubs, societies, we felt like we could achieve these objectives with an awareness and presentation campaign. This is also supported in UUk’s 2016 guidance outlined there is evidence to show that collaborative projects between the university and SU, especially when it can to awareness campaigns, were more successful.
We put forth a campaign proposal to the Task and Finish group in December 2019 outlining our plans for the campaign, support we would need from the university, considerations to make (i.e. increase in disclosures, support for staff, training). It was agreed the SU would take the lead.
The campaign was due to be released on April 1st 2020 in line with Sexual Assault Awareness month, however, due to Covid-2019 the campaign was postponed.