Safeguarding student spaces and creating conversations about consent: reflections from a cross-discipline, on-campus initiative

  • Hill, K. (Speaker)
  • Melanie Crofts (Speaker)

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsOral presentationResearch


Research has highlighted rising rates of gender-based violence, sexual assaults and alcohol-related harm on University campuses. Despite this, limited research focuses specifically on understanding student perceptions of these issues and their knowledge of support services. As a campus of Changemakers, the University of Northampton (UoN) wanted to start its own on-campus conversations about these issues. A cross-disciplinary ‘I-Heart-Consent’ initiative, led by researchers from Psychology and Law recently took place, in order to locally challenge consent myths and reduce related harms. Using the National Union of Students’ initiative as a baseline, this week of action included a range of interactive workshops and events, as well as representation from local organisations, such as Rape Crisis. For example, events focused on the legal implications of consent, complications when alcohol is involved and confidential drop-in sessions were provided. Feedback was collected from attendees and participants were also surveyed about their understanding of issues surrounding sexual consent, alcohol behaviour, gender-based violence and support services. This presentation will provide an overview of the challenges in developing a cross-discipline University-wide initiative such as this, while providing an overview of events, feedback and preliminary results from this research. Following the successful awarding of HEFCE funding, this initiative has since been expanded to evaluate HE policies and procedures regarding these issues and to look at providing safe on-campus spaces for staff and students. An overview of this project will be provided, as well as the implications that this work has implications for local and national policies, procedures and wider HE practice.
Period21 Aug 2017
Event titleEighth European Society for Prevention Research (EUSPR) Conference and Members' Meeting, Vienna, Austria
Event typeConference
Degree of RecognitionInternational