News - Reported increase in sexual harassment claims in UK universities

HR Professional Support - Rebecca Tuck

The Guardian has spent six months investigating sexual harassment within Universities. It reports Freedom of information (FoI) requests sent to 120 universities found that students made at least 169 such allegations against academic and non-academic staff from 2011-12 to 2016-17. At least another 127 allegations about staff were made by colleagues. Ironically, it may well be the institutions which record the most complaints which have the best practice in terms of dealing with complaints that arise. Certainly, a lack of reported complaints ought not to lead to any complacency.

No work place is exempt from having to deal with sexual harassment issues, and it is important not only to have policies in place, but for staff to understand such policies and for leadership to demonstrate consistently best practice in adherence to them. Educational settings raise further issues, even when students are over the age of 18, given the inequality of power between students and staff.

Our team at Old Square Chambers are expert not only in advising on policies and providing training, but also are frequently instructed to carry out investigations, act as advisors to decision making panels, or determine grievances. They frequently also provide behind the scenes practical advice on how to best deal with complaints that are made.

To read the full Guardian article, click here.

Author: Rebecca Tuck

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