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'The research around sexual coercion and assault in universities is clear and rapidly growing. It’s unacceptable that over a third of women and 12% of men said they had faced unwelcome sexual advances. There is so much universities and colleges can be doing to help tackle this issue. Everyone is entitled to a life free of violence and abuse and domestic violence isn’t inevitable. This bystander intervention toolkit for universities is about changing a generation’s approach to violence and sexual coercion.Intervention Initiative development lead, Dr Rachel Fenton from the University of West of England said:
'It is so important that those on the ground, the students, feel confident and safe enough to take active steps when they witness a problem, or experience domestic harassment themselves. We are thrilled to have put in place measures to launch this new initiative which we hope will help to change attitudes around the cultural acceptance of sexual abuse and coercion in students.'
'The Intervention Initiative works by educating students to recognise and understand sexual and domestic violence and take active steps when they witness problematic behaviour. It takes a positive approach, encouraging all students to be active bystanders, standing up against any form of violence or abuse in their community.
'The 8-week programme teaches students the necessary communication and leadership skills to intervene effectively and safely, and to change the social norm, making problematic violent behaviour socially unacceptable.'
Explains the changes to the way courts deal with domestic violence
'It is unacceptable that in England and Wales, 2 women a week die as a result of domestic violence, and many more suffer physical and mental harm.
'Workplaces are a safe space for many people living in violence and are key for providing opportunities for disclosure and support into safety. As it stands, companies can do more to support their employees who experience domestic abuse, train those who witness, and protect staff as a whole.
'Signing up to the pledge and using the toolkit not only means businesses are supporting their staff and securing safety in the workplace, but they will also save on financial loss due to absence and turnover. It is a win win for businesses and we urge them to utilise this resource.'