Academics from the University of Suffolk have released research claiming there is a ‘worse than postcode lottery scenario’ when it comes to how universities handle online harassment and hate crime.
Professor Emma Bond, Director of Research and Professor Andy Phippen, Visiting Professor and Head of Centre for Digital Rights, have compiled a report following Freedom of Information (FOI) requests that suggest that it doesn’t just come down to the location of the university in how online harassment and hate crime are dealt with but which member of staff the victim speaks to.
Professor Bond and Professor Phippen submitted FOI’s to every UK university asking detailed questions about their approach to tackling online abuse experienced by students.
When asked to show their policies on online harassment and hate crime, almost 60% of the documents failed to mentioned the word ‘online’. Many universities allow for anonymous reporting, but the research claims this means students can not be supported sufficiently and it found there is a “highly concerning lack of training around online abuse".
The The Office for Students (OfS) has recently launched a consultation on what it expects from universities when dealing with harassment and sexual assault, warming that it would use its regulatory powers against universities failing to properly deal with such incidents.
To access the research, please click here
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