New figures on sexual violence single out Durham University

Durham had the largest number of recorded rape and sexual assault allegations in the past two years


New figures on sex attacks, reported by the Daily Mail, reveal that 463 sex attacks were reported by female university students alone during the past two years. This equates to an average of one suspected victim per day during term time.

While these figures are high, rape crisis groups have warned that these figures are likely to be a ‘gross underestimate’ after 28 top universities refused to release statistics on the number of attacks reported at their institutions. It’s unlikely to be a coincidence that the university have appointed an officer specifically for sexual violence.

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Figures from 70 leading institutions show that the majority of alleged offenders were male students, but male tutors were accused of being the culprits in a handful of these cases. Durham was singled out, along with Oxford, for having the largest number of recorded rape and sexual assault allegations in the past two years. Both universities have 36 each.

Spokesmen for Durham, and Oxford, said their figures were higher than other institutions because students felt more confident in reporting cases to them. The fact that a Government inquiry was launched last year to tackle violence against women at universities highlights that it is a huge problem.

Rachel Krys, from End Violence Against Women, said: ‘There is a laddish culture at our universities that believes highly sexualised behaviour towards women is somehow acceptable – that it is all just banter. Universities are not doing enough to tackle this problem.’

Durham has recently appointed a permanent position for the role of ‘Support and Training Officer (Sexual Violence and Misconduct)’, which is the first permanent position of its kind in the country. This does show a commitment to dealing with the problem of sexual violence in the University, by creating cultural change through training, and it is clear there is a problem within the culture of the university which needs tackling.