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NUS report on Sexual Violence in Further Education - AoC's statement

25 October 2019

On 20 June, the National Union of Students (NUS) has published their report - Sexual Violence in Further Education: A study of students' experiences and percepions of sexual harrassment, violence and domestic abuse in further education. David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges: “This new report from NUS makes for sobering reading. Everybody has the right to learn, to work, and to live without the threat of sexual violence. Studying and training at a college is about more than just gaining a qualification – it is about learning the skills and behaviours needed to be good citizens to thrive in society. That means equipping every student with the knowledge and confidence to identify and safely report incidences of sexual violence and inappropriate behaviour. It also means us taking seriously our role as educators and actively challenging behaviours which fall short of expectations at college and in wider society. For most students, campuses are a safe space, with safeguarding at the heart of everything that colleges do. However, one act or threat of sexual violence is one too many. Reporting sexual violence and threats of sexual violence is never easy but we would urge students to speak to staff so that they can provide them with the right levels of support and protection and to help them to improve their zero tolerance policies. Colleges are constantly reviewing their practices and looking at ways to improve their ways of working, and though difficult to read, this report shows that more needs to be done and will no doubt help to refocus those efforts. That is why the Association of Colleges is proposing to NUS and DfE to urgently establish a working group with college leaders to make sure that we are doing everything we can to share best practice, learn from each other and stamp out unacceptable behaviour, and to support those impacted and to make clear to potential perpetrators that this behaviour is never acceptable and will never be tolerated.”