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Combat Misconduct

We are excited to share the main outcomes of the Combat Misconduct project. Since 2019, we have been working in partnership with Universities UK and the NUS to improve responses to sexual violence, harassment and misconduct across the higher education sector. We also worked closely with five partner universities and student unions: Aberdeen, Anglia Ruskin, Queen’s University Belfast, St George’s, and Warwick.

This project was funded by Rosa’s Justice and Equality Fund.

To support universities to tackle sexual misconduct, we produced three online resources, outlined below. These were developed through consultation with our partner universities, research with university students, and in close cooperation with recent graduates with a wealth of experience campaigning and influencing change in universities. 

AVA also provided bespoke consultancy for partner universities ensuring that their sexual misconduct policies and practices were robust and relevant. We also provided grant funding and training workshops on sexual misconduct and harassment for our partner student unions.

For consultancy inquiries, please get in touch via combatmisconduct@avaproject.org.uk. We can provide expert support when working with survivors of gender-based violence and abuse and can help to inform policies and processes for tackling sexual misconduct.

  • The Impact Matrix is an online tool which helps higher education institutions to measure and improve their university’s approach to tackling and preventing sexual misconduct. The tool supports institutions to collect and analyse evidence. It helps in assessing their response to sexual misconduct whilst also tracking progress towards established sector standards, and provides expert recommendations for improvement. Access here.
  • Combat Misconduct Resource Hub is an online tool which provides tailored information, guidance and resources on sexual misconduct for university students and staff. Split into two sections, the separate staff and student sections of the hub cover topics from awareness, prevention, support, investigation and campaigning. Access here.
  • Toolkit and quick guide for vice-chancellors, principals and senior leaders provides peer-to-peer advice based on interviews with vice-chancellors who are leading the way in tackling sexual misconduct, harassment and all forms of hate.

Combat Misconduct: Vice-Chancellors Toolkit

This toolkit provides peer-to-peer advice based on interviews with vice chancellors who are leading the way in tackling sexual misconduct, harassment and all forms of hate.


Combat Misconduct: quick guide for vice-chancellors and principals

This quick guide provides peer-to-peer advice based on interviews with vice-chancellors who are leading the way in tackling sexual misconduct, harassment and all forms of hate.

  • Report into studentexperiences of sexual misconduct at UK universities. AVA conducted nationwide research scoping the impact and nature of sexual misconduct at university. This report makes informed recommendations to help tackle sexual misconduct at universities.

Student Experiences of Sexual Misconduct at UK Universities

This research was conducted by AVA (Against Violence and Abuse), a specialist gender based violence charity. Through a nationwide survey, in-depth interviews and a focus group, students and staff shared insight into the nature and impact of sexual harassment, violence and abuse at university, and students’ experiences of disclosing, formally reporting and accessing support.

  • Quick Guides to help universitied embed safe and effective ways of reviewing, developing and assessing responses to sexual misconduct on campus.

Quick Guide: Self-care for university staff, students, survivors and campaigners working to combat sexual misconduct

This guide has been created by AVA (Against Violence and Abuse) to support university staff, officers, students and campaigners working to improve responses to sexual misconduct in university settings. This guide is designed to support you to stay safe and look after your wellbeing as you manage the impacts of working with trauma.


Quick Guide: AVA’s Whole Institution Approach to preventing and tackling sexual misconduct in higher education

The Whole Institution Approach is a model developed by AVA researchers and prevention experts to support higher education institutions in preventing gender-based violence. This model is a robust and holistic approach to preventing gender-based violence, and is designed to promote real long-lasting change. The model applicable for universities has been adapted from AVA’s renowned Whole School Approach Model.


Quick Guide: Asking and responding to disclosures of sexual misconduct from university students

This guide has been developed by AVA (Against Violence and Abuse) to support staff at UK universities who are handling disclosures of sexual misconduct from students. This guide is designed to support safe and empathetic disclosures to ensure survivor’s needs are met. Making sure that survivors of sexual misconduct are safe and supported is everyone’s responsibility.


Quick Guide: Consulting with students and survivors to develop and review your university’s response to sexual misconduct

This document is a comprehensive guide developed by AVA to help you safely engage with students as you develop and review your plans to combat sexual harassment and misconduct at universities. It is designed to be used by student support teams, student unions and others who are organising focus groups and workshops to understand students’ views and feedback.


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