Sexual Harassment & Bullying Case Studies

This page is part of the Inclusion Case Studies from the Inclusion Framework.
On this page, we showcase some of the support structures and research projects currently being developed to improve universities’ provisions for those who experience or witness sexual misconduct, harassment, or bullying. These provisions also apply more broadly to misconduct that is motivated by sexism, racism, ableism, or LGBTQIA+ phobia.

Please note that the following information is correct at the time of writing (November 2022), but is subject to change.

University of Gothenburg

Research-driven work on sexual harassment

The Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research is a knowledge hub in the Nordic countries, producing research-driven knowledge on gender, power and sustainability to address global societal challenges.

Since 2018, the Secretariat has performed a number of studies on sexual harassment (listed and published on the page just linked to), in academia and in working life. This includes research reviews on prevalence as well as preventive actions, surveys on policies in EU member states’ research funding agencies and research-performing organisations, and a study on threats and harassment Swedish higher education institutions.

The Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research has become a central expert institution on sexual harassment, on the national and Nordic level. The studies performed have generated more demand from external partners for further studies and projects.

External partners and clients for recent projects include the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Council for Higher Education, the Nordic Council of Ministers, Kantar Sifo, the Swedish Equality Ombudsman, the European Commission Standing Working Group on Gender in Research and Innovation, Karolinska Institutet, and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. 

University of Warwick

Report + Support

The Report + Support platform allows students and staff to disclose incidents of bullying, harassment, discrimination, hate incidents/crimes, and sexual misconduct. It represents a trauma-informed and survivor-led institutional response to these issues. Following the Independent External Review in 2019, both disciplinary policies and processes were reviewed to support this trauma-informed approach through collaboration with the Students' Union, staff from across the institution in student-facing roles and external organisations.

The basic platform is provided by another external organisation, Culture Shift, in exchange for an annual licence fee. The development of Warwick’s Report + Support service was overseen by Jemma Ansell (a former Welfare & Campaigns Officer in the Warwick Students’ Union), under the direction of Helen Knee (Director of Student Discipline and Resolution).

Through Report + Support, students and staff can either submit an anonymous disclosure (using a multi-stage online form that guides users through the choices open to them) or speak to an advisor about their experience. In either case, the platform and associated in-person support (provided by Liaison Officers) are designed to empower users decide on their next steps, and understand the processes entailed by those next steps.

An introductory video and FAQ help to orient first-time users of Report + Support. The homepage also provides resources to define key terms, offer guidance tailored to different circumstances, and link to other relevant initiatives. The latter include confidential support services run by the Students’ Union, Wellbeing Support Services, Staff Wellbeing Hub, and the university’s Health Centre, as well as self-help resources and external charities. There is also a webpage listing relevant campaigns on topics such as consent awareness, violence against women, LGBTQIA+ phobia, and being an active bystander.

In developing the above resources, the Report + Support team have worked hard to ensure that clear, appropriate, and emotionally supportive language is used at all times. An advisory group, initially made up of 52 people from across all departments, gave feedback on not only the Report + Support web content, but also the institution's overarching values, disciplinary and grievance policies and principles, and the preventative education strategy for the future. From the outset, Warwick have been clear that whilst Report + Support is available to intervene when harassment has taken place, a part of the team’s core purpose is also to provide harm-reductive and preventative education to both students and staff.

However, the team also make it clear where their support ends and that of other services begins. One major objective of all these initiatives is not just to create brand new support systems, but also to enable existing systems to operate in a more integrated and sustainable way, with a single point of contact (Liaison Officer) available to individuals who have experienced trauma, to help navigate these existing services.

The University of Warwick’s commitment to providing support in these areas is reflected in the five Warwick Values, the Sexual Misconduct Policy and Processes, and the Dignity at Warwick Policy.