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DEADLINE EXTENDED: Pilot Universities Wanted for #CombatMisconduct Project!

Join the Campaign to #CombatMisconduct

Let us help you to develop a pro-active approach to tackling sexual violence and harassment at your institution

 AVA, the national domestic and sexual abuse charity, has approached UUK and the NUS with an offer to support further change across the sector through a new two-year project, #CombatMisconduct. AVA’s work focusses on whole-organisational models for tackling domestic and sexual abuse including our highly regarded whole school approach. We will draw on this experience to support universities.

We are now recruiting 5 University to become a #CombatMisconduct pilot site. We are looking for universities from across the U.K. to participate in the project and where possible we are looking to support a diverse range of institutions.

If you would like to become a #CombatMisconduct pilot site, please complete the attached Expression of Interest form and return it to the #CombatMisconduct project manager, Jennifer Holly, by email to jennifer.holly@avaproject.org.uk by 5pm on September 30th 2019.



The 2016 Universities UK report on sexual harassment, Changing the Culture, highlighted the excellent work by universities across the U.K. to address sexual harassment and misconduct. However, the report also showed that institutions could be more systematic in their approaches. The Changing the Culture One Year on showed that although progress had been achieved in addressing sexual harassment, challenges remained around adopting a whole institutional approach and embedding changes into existing governance, policies, practices, processes and systems.

#CombatMisconduct is a two-year project (April 2019-March 2021) that will:

  • develop new tools, e.g. e-learning programmes and an impact assessment matrix to support universities to evaluate the impact of interventions, and
  • offer five universities individual guidance to pilot a university-wide approach that works towards delivering a cohesive strategy involving all parts of the university, including senior leaders, students’ unions/guilds and external agencies. This will build on the strategic frameworks already available in the sector including Changing the Culture developed by UUK’s Taskforce, the UUK/Pinsent Mason guidance on handling student misconduct that may constitute a crime, the Equally Safe in Higher Education Toolkit, and the frameworks for handling complaints in higher education developed by the Office for the Independent Adjudicator and the Scottish Public Services Ombudsmen.
  • promote systemic change across all U.K. universities by linking in with UUk’s programme of work to showcase good practice through sector conferences.


What do we have to do as a #CombatMisconduct pilot?

We recognise that each pilot site will be at a different point in their journey, so it is difficult to say exactly what activities might be involved. As a minimum, however, to support you in the delivery of the project we ask:

  • for a commitment to set up a small working group (if one does not already exist) to support the implementation of the Changing the Culture framework, including effective data collection, appropriate governance, robust risk management and regular impact assessments. The working group will be supported by the #CombatMisconduct project manager from January to December 2020.
  • that you will allocate the required resources (predominantly staff time) to carry out the activities agreed by the working group between January and December 2020.
  • for active participation in the pilot by supporting the facilitation of the following at your institution:
    • focus groups with victims/survivors;
    • interviews with victims/survivors and with staff;
    • an online survey with victims/survivors of sexual harassment and violence.
  • for your participation in the development of at least one of the new tools e.g.:
    • the e-learning programmes for students and staff;
    • a new digital tool; and
    • a new impact assessment matrix.

There will be different levels of participation including attending a workshop to discuss design or commenting on draft versions with a maximum input of 4 days over the whole two-year project. This is flexible requirement and we will work with you to enable you to participate as much as your resources allow.

  • for your support in launching and advertising the new tools – particularly the student-facing tools – at your institution towards the end of the project (projected September 2020).


How will we benefit from being a pilot university?

  • You will receive specialist, individualised guidance from the #CombatMisconduct project manager to support your institution in adopting a whole institution approach to addressing sexual misconduct. This will be tailored to the needs of the institution.
  • Your institution will have the opportunity to input into the development of new tools (e-learning, app, impact assessment matrix) that will be crucial in supporting higher education sector across the U.K. to tackle sexual misconduct.


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