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New zero tolerance, reporting & discipline procedures launched

The safety and welfare of Sussex Students’ Union members and staff is something that we take very seriously. In order to ensure that the Students’ Union operates as a safe and accepting place, Students’ Union Council has agreed a number of changes to current policies and procedures. Here is a quick round-up of the key changes and why they matter:

Our new Zero Tolerance Policy covers the following objectives:

  • Support all Union staff, officers, volunteers, members and visitors attending Union events, activities and affairs or on our premises who have been subjected to sexual harassment, bullying, discrimination or violence
  • Foster and maintain an environment in which Union members and staff understand the implications of the aforementioned behaviour through training
  • Remove barriers to reporting incidents
  • Enforce a zero tolerance approach to addressing incidents of sexual harassment, discrimination and violence via our Discipline Procedure
  • Commit the Students’ Union to monitoring the implementation of this Policy and to evaluating its effectiveness

In order to implement the Zero Tolerance Policy we are training staff to ensure they:

  • Understand the contents of the zero tolerance policy.
  • Understand rape culture, the myths around sexual abuse and what impact that has.
  • Provide a safe environment for union members and visitors to report incidents
  • Respond appropriately to any incidents and record them.
  • Refer union members and visitors to appropriate services on and off campus.

A new Discipline Procedure outlines how the Union will deal with any report of an incident of misconduct received by a member or other person arising from their dealings with any Union member(s), including misconduct by any Union clubs, societies or groups. Previously, the Union had one document titled 'Membership, Complaints & Discipline'. This will now be split into two documents.

A new online reporting tool has been launched in order to make it easier for students, staff and visitors to report incidents. This tool will also mean that people can now anonymously report zero tolerance incidents which will enable the Students' Union to also gather annual data about the number of incidents of sexual harassment, discrimination and violence.

A new online complaints form has been launched in order to make it easier for students and visitors make complaints about any aspect of their dealings with the Students’ Union (including its clubs, societies, publications and trading services) which they are dissatisfied about.

Visit the Students’ Union page about making a complaint for more information.

Grainne, Welfare Officer, has this to say about why these changes are happening and what the benefits will be:

The Zero Tolerance Policy will ensure that we are supporting students as much as possible, and make reporting of incidents much easier. It will also allow us to keep a record of incidents of sexual violence that are happening, so that we can work on our prevention and education measures, and make sure that students union venues and events are a safe space for all students. It will send a clear message that the students union will not tolerate sexual violence, harassment, or abuse.

If you have any questions about the new discipline and reporting procedures, please get into contact with Grainne, welfare@sussexstudent.com, or visit our support page.

 

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