Content note: Domestic violence & sexual violence
The review by domestic violence researcher Professor Westmarland into how the university dealt with the case of a member of University staff convicted of violently attacking his student partner has been published [pdf - content note: domestic violence].
When the case came to light we were shocked by the apparent lack of action by the University so welcome this independent review and moves to better support survivors of assault and abuse.
The report, based on interviews with people across the University community including the student survivor, outlines the chronology of the case. It sets out three examples of good practice in the handling of the case and four broad areas of bad practice as well as observations on the wider issues and impacts of the case.
Professor Westmarland concludes the report with 11 recommendations. We are pleased to see that the University have agreed to implement these recommendations and that some of this work is already underway including the Changing University Cultures initiative. We think it is important that students are involved in making these changes and are keen to work with the University on this.
The Vice-Chancellor’s commitment to take reports of abuse seriously and investigate claims that are brought forward is a constructive move.
Frida Gustafsson, Students’ Union Women Students Officer has said the report echoes what students have told Union officers: “I’ve met many students shocked and angered over the poor treatment of and help given by the University to the student in this case. The Westmarland report shows what we as a student body were already painstakingly aware of; that the University as an institution has substandard policies and practices dealing with issues of domestic assault.”
Frida is eager to see the recommendations lead to changes at the University: “I am, however, glad to see the pledge by the Vice-Chancellor to implement significant change regarding the issues highlighted in the report. The University’s intent to review their practices and policies and implement all recommendations given by the Westmarland report is a significant step forward, and the Union’s work from here onwards is to work with the Vice-Chancellor to ensure that the University’s pledge is transformed into actual change.”
You can read the full report [pdf - content note: domestic violence] and the University’s response online.
Professor Tickell, University Vice-Chancellor has said that the University will look into any other past issues, that they will immediately look into the matter and carry out whatever appropriate action is necessary. Students can get help making a complaint from the Students’ Union’s independent and confidential support & advocacy team.
Students can seek specialist support from the following services:
Assistance is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from the University’s security and emergency welfare support services.
The University has compiled a list of resources for survivors of sexual violence.
National helpline for victims of any crime or for people who have been affected by a crime committed against someone they know. 0845 30 30 900 weekdays 9am-8pm, weekends 9am-7pm.
National Domestic Abuse helpline – England - 0808 2000 247
A Freephone confidential 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge. For women experiencing domestic violence, their family, friends, and people calling on their behalf. There are Translation facilities for callers whose first language is not English, and a service for deaf people.
Survivors UK Helpline Web Chat
National Helpline Web Chat for adult male survivors of rape or sexual (Monday – Friday 10.30 – 21:00; Saturday – Sunday 10:00 – 18:00)
Men’s Advice Line - 0808 801 0327
Advice and support for men experiencing domestic violence and abuse.
Mankind Initiative - 01823 334244
A national helpline for all men suffering from domestic abuse or violence and for their friends and family. Monday-Friday 10am-4pm and 7pm-9pm. Normal BT rates apply. Text relay services for deaf people via www.textrelay.org
Respect - 0808 802 4040
Supporting all perpetrators of domestic violence, young people who use violence and abuse at home and in relationships and men who are victims of domestic violence.
National LGBT Domestic Abuse Helpline - 0800 999 5428
Emotional and practical support for LGBT people experiencing domestic abuse. Abuse isn’t always physical - it can be psychological, emotional, financial and sexual too.
National charity working to end domestic violence against women and children. Website for victims, survivors and those seeking to help them – information about local service contact details, an online forum (24 hours a day), hundreds of pages of information including an online Survivor’s Handbook.
Independent Choices - 0161 636 7525
Independent Choices was founded in 1978 as an organisation run by women, for women who are experiencing or have experienced domestic abuse. Through our Helpline services we can offer advice, information, telephone counselling and support to any woman (age 16 and over).
In an emergency, if a crime is happening right now or someone is in immediate danger, telephone 999. If you are deaf, deafened, hard of hearing or have a speech impairment: Textphone 18000
To report an incident of sexual violence or domestic abuse, contact your local police force. Many will have a specialist unit of trained officers to support you. For all non-emergency calls to the police in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland: Telephone 101 (Textphone: 18001 101).
Many police forces provide online forms and information about alternative contact methods (like text messaging or email) on their individual websites.
Sexual Assault Referral Centres
Contact a local Sexual Assault Referral Centre for immediate medical and emotional support – find your local SARC via the NHS webpage.
Rape Crisis Centres - 0808 802 9999
Rape Crisis Centres offer a safe and non-judgmental environment where women and girls can talk freely and confidentially. Rape Crisis Centres provide a confidential helpline service for women and girls who have experienced any form of sexual violence at any time in their lives, as well as a range of other specialist support services. Rape Crisis national helpline open every day of the year 12-2.30pm & 7-9.30pm. Find your local Rape Crisis Centre at www.rapecrisis.org.uk/centres.php
National Stalking helpline - 0300 636 0300
Network for Surviving Stalking
Contains information about stalking; safety advice and links to organisations that can help
Somerset and Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Support have produced a self help guide for survivors of sexual violence.
6a Pavilion Buildings, Brighton BN1 1EE
Local Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVA): 01273 203380 x103
Drop-ins: 7pm–9pm, Mondays & Thursdays, 01273 203380 firstname.lastname@example.org
Counselling: 01273 203380 or email email@example.com
The Saturn Centre-Sexual Assault Referral Centre
Crawley Hospital, West Green Drive, Crawley, West Sussex RH11 7DH
For collection of forensic evidence so that reporting to the police can be delayed and for crisis and medical support following recent sexual violence
Available 24 hrs, Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm
Call 01293 600469 for an appointment or out of hours phone 0800 0337797 for advice from the on-call team.
The Solar Clinic at SHAC (East)
Royal Sussex County Hospital, Eastern Road, Brighton
For support, STI tests, treatment and emergency contraception
Available Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm •
Call 01273 523388 (opt 2) for requesting urgent appointment with Health Advisor
1 Brunswick Road, Hove, BN3 1DG Phone: 01273 911680
Support for self-identifying men (18+) survivors of sexual abuse and their partners, families and friends through 1:1 counselling,
Runs support services and programmes for people who inflict violence in relationships
Phone: 0808 802 4040
E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
R.I.S.E (Refuge, Information, Support and Education)
A charity providing support and sanctuary for victims of domestic abuse in Sussex.
Phone: 0300 323 9985
Help and support for survivors of domestic and sexual violence and abuse in Brighton & Hove and East Sussex.
Phone: 0300 323 9985
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