University launches support system to tackle gender-based violence

A new online tool which will enable staff and students to report concerns and incidents of gender based violence and to access relevant support more easily - has been launched by the University of Aberdeen.

The joint initiative between the University and the Aberdeen University Students Association (AUSA) aims to empower people to make reports of sexual violence or harassment which they witness or experience on or off campus.

It forms part of the Equally Safe in Higher Education (ESHE) campaign which aims to eradicate gender-based violence in Higher Education.

The new system can be used to make a report or to seek support either anonymously or providing their name and is open to all students, staff and visitors to the University of Aberdeen’s campuses.

Student President Lawson Ogubie said the new initiative emphasises the ‘zero tolerance’ commitment of both the students’ association and the University when it comes to all forms of sexual violence or harassment.

The online confidential reporting system will enable anyone affected by the issue to log their concerns at any time of day or night and to book appointments for all relevant support services.

Nick Edwards, Head of Student Support at the University of Aberdeen, said: “We take the welfare of all our students and staff extremely seriously and the University constantly reviews and makes enhancements to its support services.

“It is essential that students, staff and visitors to our campuses know how to access these easily and the new online resources will provide a ‘one-stop shop’ for both the reporting of incidents or experiences and will also signpost users to all relevant support services.

“We hope that it will empower our community and enhance the safety and wellbeing of its members both on and off our campuses.”

Student president Lawson Ogubie added: “The new online reporting tool further emphasises the zero tolerance approach of AUSA to all forms of sexual violence or harassment.

“Across the University and AUSA there are support mechanisms and processes in place which demonstrate this commitment but it is important that when people see or experience inappropriate behaviour they are able to easily report it and to seek support if they have been affected by it.

“Taking a joint approach with the University means that we can bring together resources and personnel to ensure students and staff are fully informed of the services available at whatever time they may need them.”

Professor George Boyne, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, said: “We are working in collaboration with other parts of the sector to ensure students, staff and visitors to our campus feel empowered to make a report should they witness or experience sexual harassment or violence of any kind.”