'We want to offer a source of specialist support to students.'
Words by Jadie Troy-Pryde
Earlier this year, Cambridge University revealed that they would be banning sexist words in a bid to eradicate ‘assumptions of gender inequality’. Now, the university is taking steps to become the first in the UK to hire a full-time sexual assault and harassment adviser by advertising for the newly-created role.
With nearly one in five students admitting that they experienced sexual assault or harassment in their first week of university, it’s apparent that Cambridge is trying to address a clear lack of support for victims. The university hopes to recruit someone for the role that will work directly with students, designing and running workshops for staff, and offering support and advice to those who have experienced sexual assault or harassment.
The job, which offers a salary of up to £38k, requires the individual to work with the police, local sexual assault referral centre and Cambridge Rape Crisis in order to ‘bolster the advice and support available to a student.’
A spokesman for the University of Cambridge told the BBC: ‘The university is continuously and actively working to improve the prevention, response, support and investigation of all instances of harassment, hate crime and sexual misconduct.
‘This new post has been created to supplement and bolster advice and support available to students through the college tutorial system, and in particular offer a source of specialist support to students.’
It comes shortly after reports that students at Jesus College, Cambridge, were heard shouting misogynistic slurs and rape-inciting chants in June this year.
The Guardian‘s investigation into sexual harassment found that in the last six years there have been up to 300 claims against university staff alone, claiming that sexual harassment reached ‘epidemic levels’.
The news has had a positive response, with many praising the University for their approach to dealing with harassment. Last year, Oxford University introduced compulsory sexual consent workshops which cover sex education and legal aspects of consent.
Hopefully, these two respected institutions will pave the way for other universities to follow suit.