An AGM motion regarding tackling sexual violence at Cardiff University has been passed
It’s the first motion to have been passed unanimously at Cardiff’s SU
Cardiff University students have passed a motion at the SU’s recent AGM which focuses on dealing with sexual violence at Cardiff University.
The vote was passed unanimously at the meeting, which is the first time this has been achieved at Cardiff’s SU.
This comes after students came forward saying they haven’t felt safe or supported by the university, as reported by the BBC.
In a recent report showing data that was obtained from an FOI, the Disclosure Response Team (DRT) at the university released data from 2017-2021 which showed all sexual violence or abuse disclosures.
The data showed that only one student has been permanently excluded for sexual violence. This is why the motion, named Time to Act was started.
The motion focused on ensuring that “Cardiff University and the Students’ Union uphold their legal duty of care for victims of sexual violence at Cardiff University”. This will be done by working with the university to make structural and cultural changes which will be effective in upholding its legal duty of care.
Cardiff University has said however, in response to the motion and release of the data, that some of these reports and stats have not been directly caused by its students. Therefore, there is only so much they can do. The motion directly disputes this claim and the motion’s founders believe that Cardiff University still has a legal duty of care, no matter if the perpetrators are students or not.
In an exclusive interview with The Cardiff Tab, the founders of the motion, Rebecca Rumsey, Bethia Tucker and Emily Carr said they want there to be large structural and cultural changes within the university in order to combat the issue.
They also added that they want the university to know that this isn’t them shaming Cardiff University, but rather the large scale national issue, and that the ways in which all universities deal with sexual assault aren’t effective enough.
They mentioned that DRT is a big area in which they hope to tackle as they believe it lacks transparency. Cardiff University has said previously that DRT will be reviewed.
In the interview they said: “The goal of this motion is to make Cardiff Uni’s response to sexual violence more intersectional, and that sexual violence affects everyone.”
They also mentioned that they are going to “consult with Cardiff University” and within that consultation they are hoping they can figure out how to make the DRT more effective and more well known around campus.
This comes after them saying: “Many survivors of sexual violence who shared their stories with us, didn’t know they were able to get support from the university.” The founders believe this could be done by making sure there are consent classes in Freshers’ Week, as done by Liverpool and Durham Uni
They also want there to be monitoring of society group chats due to instances such as the Durham Uni group chat scandal.
Cardiff University’s Students’ Union told the BBC that “student wellbeing is a central priority” and it “heavily invests in safety measures that go above industry best practices”.
However, it did also add that it “wholeheartedly agreed” that more needs to be done to understand why students do not report these kinds of incidents.
A Cardiff University spokesperson told The Cardiff Tab: “Any form of sexual assault can have a devastating effect on a student’s experience of higher education and their lives.
“Students should be able to participate in all aspects of University life without fear of being subjected to sexual harassment, violence or abuse. We have a zero-tolerance approach to violence against women.
“We are one of a small number of universities who have a dedicated Disclosure Response Team (DRT) to help support victims at a time when they are experiencing such devastating and often life changing trauma – this also applies to historic victims. This is a team of specialist University staff trained to respond to disclosures of violence and abuse who can ensure victims get appropriate support – whether that’s through our in-house support and wellbeing teams or from an appropriate external NHS service, specialist charities or victim support. We would urge any victim or survivor to reach out to us – dedicated support is available.
“We know that we have successfully supported many of our students who have experienced sexual violence, but we are considering what more the University can do to better promote – or improve – its specialist services for victims of sexual assault and rape. The University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education and Student Experience is leading a review looking at:
• How the University better communicates its DRT service to students. Despite our best efforts to promote our support services and specifically the DRT, we know we might not always get it right and there is more that we can do.
• How we capture data around sexual violence. We do record data, but we will consider other options for reporting.
• The effectiveness of the consent training already in place across the University and delivered to new students each year.
“This review will be done in partnership with Cardiff University Students’ Union and other external partners.
“Encountering any form of sexual assault has a devastating effect on a student’s experience of higher education. Tragically, we know that these types of incidents are not confined to Cardiff – these are issues that impact all universities and society as a whole. Collectively, we must do more to prevent and then ensure appropriate support is available for victims.
“Any one of our students who is a victim should be reassured that we have the DRT service in place, and we encourage them to get in touch – they are available, and they will support you.”
If you have been impacted by this article, you can find support at Rape Crisis England and Wales.