Sexual misconduct is being tackled at Swansea University, thanks to efforts by Students’ Union Welfare Officer Liza Leibowitz and Societies & Servicers Officer Georgia-Rose Gleeson.
A 40-minute interactive sexual misconduct module will become compulsory to all students during the next academic year focusing on general rights, bystander responsibility, prevention, respectful relationships, consent, alcohol and drug use.
Welfare Officer, Liza said: “In the 2018-2019 academic year at the University, 51 cases of sexual misconduct were referred through Student Services and the Students’ Union Advice and Support Centre. Both of these services provide an amazing support system to students who have been affected by Sexual Misconduct. However, we felt that more work had to be done on educating students in the area of Sexual Misconduct on a mandatory basis.
“In June, I attended a Sexual Misconduct Conference where I had the opportunity to hear the ways other Universities around the world are reacting to Sexual Misconduct. The one that stood out to me the most was Monash University who had a mandatory sexual misconduct module for their students.
“I then reached out to Monash and they were really cooperative in helping me get this to Swansea University”.
Following support from Monash University and Colleagues at Swansea University, Liza successfully had a proposal for the module approved by the Senior Management team at Swansea University to host the module on the digital learning platform - Canvas.
Kevin Childs, Director of Student Services at Swansea University said:
“Liza has achieved, in a few short months, what I have been pressing for, for a number of years.
“It is a brilliant achievement and something I know will make a hugely positive impact on our entire University community, in terms of raising awareness of this very complicated and often misunderstood issue.
“I am absolutely delighted with the development of this resource it will significantly support us in supporting our students to be and stay safe during their time with us. Liza is an absolute inspiration and it is a privilege to work with her.”
Societies and Services Officer Georgia-Rose has also published A Guide to Consent accessible to all students and along with Liza, has delivered consent training to members of sports clubs, societies and subject reps at the University during Freshers this term, which they are continuing to offer to all students throughout the term.
“Going through university myself, I realised the extent of which sexual assault and sexual harassment happens in everyday life, with people not realising the severity of their actions or the implications it can have on someone’s mental health for the rest of their life. Establishing A Guide to Consent is an easy and accessible way for students, staff members and the general public to gain a clear understanding into what sexual consent encompasses. It also signposts students and staff to services in and around Swansea, easing the process of getting help if needed.
“There are many misconceptions around consent within the university community, and I believe raising awareness, breaking the taboo around sexual consent and educating students is a step in the right direction to help combat the increasing rates of sexual misconduct we are facing.”