Sexual & Gender-based Violence Action Plan 2020/21

Learn about the work we are doing through our action plan to challenge all forms of sexual and gender-based violence at Queen Mary.

Updated October 2021 

In 2020, we published our action plan in response to concerns raised by students about current reporting and investigation processes at Queen Mary for sexual violence, domestic abuse, harassment and other forms of gender-based violence. We committed to a series of actions, including consultation with student survivors, to better understand the issues with the current system and identify improvements. Below, you can learn about what we have been doing over the past several months on each of the action plan points.

We recognise that although in recent years, a significant amount of activism has challenged sexual and gender-based violence in university communities, there is still a long way to go. We are committed to preventing violence, educating our community and improving survivors' experiences at Queen Mary. 

If you have any questions or you would like to get more involved in our work, you can get in touch with us at su-representation@qmul.ac.uk or contact Vice President Welfare, Muneer Hussain, at su-vpwelfare@qmul.ac.uk.

If you have experienced sexual and gender-based violence, such as sexual violence, domestic abuse, harassment, stalking or forced marriage, you can find more information about support services and reporting at Queen Mary, as well as external and specialist services, on the Report and Support platform here

 

 Action 

 What we will do 

 Progress 

 Update October 2021

Campaigns, training and awareness

1.1 

Consent and active bystander training for student groups 

We will work toward introducing mandatory, full-length training for all student groups on consent, being an active bystander and responding to disclosures as part of our training programme. 

Complete 

For September 2020 we updated our training programmes for student group committees and part-time representatives to include sessions on being an active bystander and responding to disclosures. 

We also run training sessions throughout the year on consent and being an active bystander open to all students. You can find these here

1.2 

Make it compulsory for student groups to elect a Welfare Representative to their committee 

We will make it compulsory for all student groups, not just Sports Clubs, to elect a Welfare Rep to their committee. These reps receive mandatory training on responding to welfare issues, including on consent, being an active bystander and responding to disclosures. 

Complete 

From September 2020 we asked all student groups to include a Welfare Rep on their committee. As of September 2021, it is mandatory for all student groups to elect or appoint a Welfare Rep or incorporate their responsibilities into another role.

All Welfare Reps are required to attend mandatory training on being an active bystander and responding to disclosures, liberation, and signposting for welfare concerns. In addition, we promote training opportunities on topics such as anti-racism.

1.3 

Lobby the University to introduce compulsory training on consent and being an active bystander for all new students 

We will continue to lobby the University to introduce compulsory training on consent and being an active bystander to all new students, in line with a motion passed at Student Council. We will lobby the University to make the existing Consent Matters online module compulsory for all students. 

 Ongoing 

Our Executive Officers continue to lobby the University to expand training and we have promoted existing training opportunities such as the Consent Matters online module to students. 

1.4 

Launch a campus-wide campaign challenging sexual and gender-based violence, harassment and hate crime 

We will continue our work toward relaunching a permanent, campus-wide Students’ Union campaign challenging sexual and gender-based violence, harassment and hate crime to replace our previous Zero Tolerance campaign. 

In progress

Our Executive Officers have been working on developing a new campaign to replace and update our previous Zero Tolerance campaign. 

For more information, please contact our Vice President Welfare, Muneer Hussain, at su-vpwelfare@qmul.ac.uk.  

Reporting policies and processes

2.1 

Lobby the University to improve their reporting and investigation processes 

We will continue to lobby the University to improve their reporting and investigation processes in response to student feedback and in line with sector best practice. 

 Ongoing 

Our Executive Officers are continuing to lobby the University to improve their reporting and investigation processes.

For more information, please contact our Vice President Communities, Radhika Thiagarajan, at su-vpcommunities@qmul.ac.uk

2.2 

Review internal reporting and investigation procedures to make them clearer and more accessible 

We have reviewed our internal Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Procedure to make it clearer and more accessible to students. We will continue to work toward finalising this work with the approval of the University. 

Complete

We completed a review of our internal Code of Student Conduct, Complaints and Disciplinary Procedure with new guidance for students. The new policy can be found here.

2.3 

Consult with students who have experience of the reporting and investigation process 

We will organise consultation sessions open to students to gather student feedback about the reporting and investigation process and identify areas for improvement. We will consult with: 

  • Student survivors and those with direct experience of the reporting and investigation process 

  • Student groups 

We will ensure that there are anonymous, text-only methods of providing feedback in addition to online meetings. 

Complete 

In semester 2 2020/21, we worked with Nia (East London Rape Crisis) to consult with student survivors in order to better understand students' experiences of reporting or accessing support at Queen Mary and to identify improvements. We gathered feedback through an online focus group, interviews and an anonymous survey. 

We are always open to hearing from any student who would like to provide feedback on their experiences at Queen Mary. If you would like to get in touch, you can reach our Student Voice team at su-representation@qmul.ac.uk.

2.4 

Provide advice to student groups about reporting and investigation processes and the process for removing members 

We will create specific guidance for student groups and the staff who support them on responding to a report of sexual or gender-based violence. This will include: 

  • How to respond to a disclosure of sexual or gender-based violence 

  • How to report something to the Students’ Union or University 

  • The process for removing or suspending a member or committee member 

In progress

Now that our new Code of Student Conduct, Complaints and Disciplinary Procedure has been approved, we are working to produce additional guidance for staff and students.

In the interim, we have provided training and guidance to permanent staff on responding to disclosures (see point 3.1). We also include content on responding to disclosures in our training for student groups and part-time representatives (see points 1.1 and 1.2).

2.5 

Expand Good Night Out training currently delivered to venues staff 

We will continue to deliver training from the Good Night Out Campaign on how to respond to incidents within licensed premises to staff in our venues and we will increase the number of staff who receive this training. 

Complete

Staff in our venues have received training from the Good Night Out Campaign for 2021/22 and we will continue to deliver this training annually as part of our accreditation to the scheme.

2.6 

Publicise the process for reporting within our venues

We will better publicise the process for reporting if you experience something in a Students’ Union venue, including what you can expect from Students’ Union staff. 

In progress

 

This action was paused last year due to the closure of our venues in accordance with Covid-19 guidelines. 

Our Venues and Communications teams are currently working on introducing new materials to better publicise the reporting and support measures in our venues.

Our Venues team have reviewed our Licensed Venues & Events Code of Conduct to make this more accessible and transparent and you can find this on our website here

2.7 

Review security arrangements at our venues 

We will review the security arrangements at our venues by: 

  • Taking the diversity of security staff into account when we are selecting a provider of agency staff by including it in the scoring system for future tendering processes 

  • We will aim to standardise the briefings that security staff receive at the beginning of each shift and include information about how to respond to issues appropriately 

Complete

 

Our Venues team have implemented a number of  measures to ensure that students in our venues can report safely. You can read about these measures here.

 

Student support

3.1 

Disclosure training for student-facing staff 

We will deliver training on sexual and gender-based violence and how to respond to disclosures to student-facing staff so that they can respond appropriately and with sensitivity if they receive a disclosure. 

Complete

Permanent, student-facing staff attended a two-hour training session in September 2020 on understanding sexual & gender-based violence and how to respond to disclosures. This session will be repeated annually.

Staff in our venues receive annual training from the Good Night Out Campaign (see point 2.5).

3.2 

Training for Students’ Union staff carrying out investigations 

We will provide training to Students’ Union staff who are tasked with carrying out an investigation under our complaints procedure so that they can work with students appropriately and with sensitivity. 

In progress

Now that our new Code of Student Conduct, Complaints and Disciplinary Procedure is approved, we will consider what guidance, support and training is required for staff who are supporting or carrying out investigations.

3.3 

Look into introducing a scheme for students who feel unsafe in Students’ Union venues to request help from staff 

We will look into the feasibility of introducing a scheme within our venues, similar to the ‘Ask for Angela’ scheme, for students who feel unsafe to request help from staff. In order to do this, we will look at how staff could be adequately trained to respond in this situation. 

Complete 

 

The Ask for Angela scheme is currently operating in our venues.

 

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