Manchester uni fails to protect victims of sexual assault

They have no formal process in place to deal with victims

jess lishak Manchester students SU uni

Along with six other Russell Group unis, Manchester have said that they do not systematically record allegations of rapes, sexual assaults and sexual harassment.

The shocking news follows the devastatingly high number of recorded sexual assaults and rapes in Fallowfield since September.

The university also admitted they do not have specific guidelines for students on how to report such allegations in confidence or as a formal complaint, either to the institution or to the police.

One in five of the Russell Group unis do not have such guidelines.

Last year, the National Union of Students revealed one in four students have suffered unwelcome sexual advances.

The same survey found that 60% of students were unaware of any sort of university code of conduct that deals with these issues.

So why isn’t Manchester doing something about this to help protect its students? Especially since the spike in reported rapes in the Fallowfield area have become such a widely known issue.

Jess Lishak, the SU women’s officer told The Tab: “I think it’s a really important issue to shed light on, and universities should be doing more to support students who have been sexually assaulted.

“People who have experienced sexual violence should be afforded the best and most specialised support as possible, and so I think if universities forged better links with local services such as Manchester Rape Crisis Centre, Women’s Aid and Survivors Manchester, this could be mutually beneficial.”

Jess Lishak, women’s officer for Manchester’s SU


Shocked by the news, Law fresher Ricky said: “How can a vibrant student city with one of the biggest student unions not hold records of sexual violence against students?”

Second year Penny told The Tab: “I think it’s shocking that not all allegations of sexual violence are recorded.

“Many of us are far away from the people we’d rely on to keep us safe, so feeling safe and support by our university should be one of their highest priorities.

“Clearly it’s not, and that’s both disappointing and scary.”

The university does, however, have some procedures in place for dealing with various complaints and allegations.

For complaints involving an allegation of misconduct by a student, there is the Regulation XVII (Conduct and Discipline of Students).

For complaints involving an allegation of harassment or discrimination by a student or member of staff, there is the Dignity at Work and Study Policy and Procedure, which can found here or here.

Following on from the “We Get It – zero tolerance to sexual harassment” campaign, an online report and support button was created, where students and staff can report experiences of bullying, harassment and discrimination either anonymously or for further support from trained advisors.

The University Counselling Service also is available for students to use.

A University of Manchester spokesperson said: “Allegations of sexual assault and harassment are dealt with in various ways depending on whether the alleged victims are students or staff, where the alleged incident took place, whether the police were involved and whether the allegation is dealt with locally or centrally.

“For complaints involving an allegation of misconduct by a student, Regulation XVII of our Conduct and Discipline of Students policy is considered, while for complaints involving an allegation of harassment or discrimination by a student or member of staff, our Dignity at Work and Study Policy and Procedure can be implemented.

“During the past year the University has introduced a high-profile anti-bullying and anti-harassment campaign called ‘We Get It’. This campaign has been very successful in awareness-raising.”