Statement on Channel 4 News story regarding rape and sexual assault

The University is expecting Channel 4 News to broadcast a story this evening (18 July 2019) regarding rape and sexual assault on UK university campuses. The University has issued the below statement in response to the claims we expect to be made within the programme.

Statement from the University of Birmingham

“We commend the incredible courage of all victims of sexual assault or rape and recognise the strength it takes to speak out about their experiences.

“The safety and wellbeing of our students is of paramount importance and we have invested significantly in taking a proactive, wrap-around approach to supporting students in reporting any incidents whenever and wherever they may have occurred – including during childhood, prior to attending university, while on vacation or overseas, or away from university.  This includes help with accessing specialist support and counselling services, working with the police, and pursuing any formal action against the perpetrators.  We are reassured to hear that in this instance our student did feel supported by the University in reporting her terrible experience.

“While we recognise that any victim of rape or sexual harassment is one victim too many, the data we supplied clearly showed that over the last 5 years the number of formal complaints relating to sexual assault was 14 and we are disappointed that the media have chosen to misrepresent the data we provided.  

“We recognise that sexual assault is under-reported and are one of a small number of universities that have invested in an anonymous reporting tool to provide a safe space for students to report any incidents of harassment, assault, sexual violence or rape which has occurred at any time in their lives and in any location. 

“By taking this approach to reporting and misrepresenting the data they were provided with we are concerned that the approach taken by the media will deter other universities from taking a more proactive, holistic approach to supporting their students to report any incidents, in turn making it much harder for students to seek the support they need to deal with traumatic experiences that may have taken place at any point in their lives and in any location.

“We have also worked with the Guild of Students in recent years to ensure we have a Welcome Week for new students which includes a programme of activity, both academic and cultural, not simply focusing on drinking and partying, and one that reflects the diversity of our student community.”

 

There is lots of help and support available for students, including during the Summer Vacation.  You can talk to an advisor on campus, review your options online or contact victim support