Your Deputy President and Social Sciences & Arts College Officer, Laith Jaafar, has recently worked on a sexual violence and relationship abuse policy alongside York Students’ Union, which has provided a monumental shift in the way universities will approach the issue.
Laith has worked with the President and two other Student Officers from York Students’ Union to lobby the NUS to address the sexual harassment crisis prevalent in student accommodations across the country.
Almost two-thirds of students and graduates have experienced sexual violence within UK universities. This new super policy aims to stop the inconsistences in the level of support and reporting processes across all universities in the UK, as students have previously received different degrees of treatment. Changes in the approach to educating students on consent will also be implemented by breaking down misconceptions within these topics, and setting a new universal standard of UK universities handling sexual violence.
This policy was one of six policies voted in by NUS delegates to discuss at their conference out of over 20 other policies that were presented. Laith’s policy was also the only policy where the main proposal got passed with no amendments.
Laith said: “As you can imagine, this is an extremely difficult subject to discuss but one that is definitely needed to be talked about more often. We need to ensure students are adequately safeguarded. It is time to hold institutions around the UK accountable for their mishandling of cases.”
Along with York Students’ Union’s ‘The Last Taboo’ and ‘The Red Flag Campaign’, this policy will hopefully help in putting an end to the enabling of abusers and ensuring that students feel comfortable enough to report their experience, creating a huge positive change in the handling of cases within universities and other institutions also.
If you have experienced sexual violence, harassment or abuse, you can report this either with your personal details or anonymously through the University’s Report + Support service.
Your Student Advice Centre can also provide support. You can find information and links to other organisations that can help on our website, or you can contact us directly.
You can also speak to your Wellbeing, Sport & Physical Activity Officer, Hannah, if you need support by leaving her a message. Hannah will get back to you as soon as she can.