Creating Conversations about Consent through an on-Campus, Curriculum Embedded Week of Action

Kimberley Hill, Melanie Crofts

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Sexual violence is a widespread issue on university campuses. Although not a new concern, Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the United Kingdom (UK) have only recently implemented prevention strategies. Many approaches focus on increasing knowledge of consent and related harms, but are rarely evaluated, or sit outside of the curriculum. While research is increasing, students’ perceptions, on-campus experiences, support-seeking and reporting preferences remain unclear. This article presents a case study of an award-nominated, annual ‘Consent’ week of action involving inter-disciplinary, cross-campus, curricula-embedded workshops and events. 171 students and 10 staff completed a 25-item survey focusing on event feedback, sexual violence victimisation experiences, bystander intervention opportunities, reporting preferences, support service knowledge and perceptions of consent. Our findings suggest sexual violence is prevalent, with many students witnessing incidents, but not knowing where to report or seek advice. Reasons included self-management, stigma, safety concerns, limited faith in existing reporting mechanisms and the normative nature of sexual violence within UK HEIs. Students and staff rated the ‘Consent’ week as excellent, particularly in increasing knowledge around consent, which students appear to find difficult to navigate. Our work highlights the importance of embedding consent-related initiatives within existing programme curricula, highlighting challenges and recommendations for future initiatives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-147
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Further and Higher Education
Volume45
Issue number1
Early online date20 Apr 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2020

Keywords

  • Consent
  • education
  • sexual violence
  • student
  • university

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