New student disclosure course released to support 1 in 7 student survivors of sexual assault
5th December 2016
Marshall E-Learning have released a new online course as a response to the need for universities to increase awareness of issues surrounding students’ experiences of unwanted sexual incidents.
With at least 1 in 7 women students (14%) being the victim of serious sexual assault or serious physical violence while at university or college (Hidden Marks, NUS 2010), the course has been designed to equip university employees with the necessary tools and knowledge to effectively support a student who discloses an experience of an unwanted sexual incident.
Developed in partnership by Coventry University and Rape Crisis England & Wales, and designed by Marshall E-Learning, the aim of the Student Disclosure of Unwanted Sexual Incidents course is to provide university employees with the confidence to appropriately respond to a disclosure of an unwanted sexual incident by a student, and signpost a student to sources of assistance.
The release of the course is timely, and is featured as a case study in ‘Changing the Culture’ (2016), a report produced by the Universities UK Taskforce which examined violence against women, harassment and hate crime affecting university students.
Dianne Whitfield, Co Chair of Rape Crisis England & Wales, commented on why the course was an important step in improving support for student survivors of sexual assault:
“Women students have the right to study and live in a safe and respectful environment. Unfortunately, as local Rape Crisis Centres know too well, sexual harassment, sexual assaults and rape, both on and off campus, are significant problems that all universities are grappling with. Abuse via social media is a growing problem too. We therefore welcome the release of this course, and would urge all institutions to follow the lead of universities like Coventry.”
Dr Jane Osmond, Research Fellow at Coventry University also commented on two key aspects of the course that make it unique in the field:
“The first is that we worked closely with Rape Crisis England and Wales to ensure that the course offers employees information in a sensitive and practical manner. Second is the option for universities to upload a bespoke ‘pathway for students document’ which university employees need to download before they complete the course. This ensures that all employees have detailed knowledge of the support routes – which include external sources of help, such as Rape Crisis – that they can signpost students to.”
“This is a deep-rooted problem that has long been swept under the carpet. This course will help educate university employees and brings the guidance up to date with current standards. We would urge all universities to ensure that all survivors have access to support.”
Further details of the course can be found here: Student Disc