Uni harassment cases rise as new support centre opened

There were more complaints of bullying and harassment in the last academic year than in the last five combined

A total of 92 cases of bullying or harassment have been reported to the University of Oxford since 2012, Cherwell can reveal, with more reported complaints of sexual harassment in the last academic year than the previous five combined.

Five cases of rape or sexual harassment were reported in April 2018 alone, with the figures obtained by Cherwell by Freedom of Information (FoI) requests suggesting a clear upwards trend in the frequency of reported cases.

The news comes after a new Sexual Harassment and Violence Service was jointly launched by the University and Oxford SU on Monday, following recommendations from a working group led by Helena Kennedy QC.

The number of reported cases of bullying or harassment has increased in recent years.

In the past three there have been over ten reported complaints against University staff, numbers not matched in any of the previous four years.

So far in 2018, 15 complaints of non-sexual harassment or bullying have been made against University staff.

In the last academic year, there were four allegations of rape made against Oxford students, three of which are still under ongoing University investigations and one of which is not currently under ongoing investigation.

In April 2018 the University recorded two allegations of rape, two of sexual assault, and one of sexual harassment.

All of these cases are still being investigated by the University.

A single complaint upheld over the last two years, while five of the 26 complaints made in 2017/18 have been partially upheld.

Of the remaining 26 complaints recorded since 2017, nine were not upheld, five were resolved informally, six investigations are ongoing or on hold, and two were unable to be completed.

Responding to the upwards trend in bullying and harassment, a spokesperson for the University told Cherwell: “The University is committed to providing an environment where all students and members of staff are treated with dignity and respect and can work free from any type of discrimination, harassment and victimisation. “The University strongly condemns all forms of bullying or harassment as unacceptable behaviour, and we have clear procedures for complaints to be made and addressed.

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We have established a network of approximately 300 harassment advisers within the University, across each department and faculty, and confidential advisors are appointed within the colleges.”