Cardiff University Faces Increasing Scrutiny Over Handling of Sexual Violence Reports

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Cardiff University is facing heightened scrutiny as student activists from the Time to Act group pledge to compel the institution to take action following the disclosure of 691 sexual misconduct reports between 2017 and 2021, according to Freedom of Information (FoI) responses.

During a meeting on November 15, where a representative of Time to Act addressed senior staff, dismissive behavior was observed from three male academic employees. The spokesperson expressed disappointment, underlining the significance of academic staff safeguarding students.

Time to Act, co-founded by two individuals, has garnered substantial support on social media, including endorsements from the Women’s Equality Party, a campaigner, and a barrister. The group contends that sexual violence has become normalized within the university community, particularly pointing to student union club nights as problematic.

At the students’ union general annual meeting on November 23, over 500 students unanimously voted to address sexual misconduct at the university, reflecting widespread concern among the student body.

A graduate shared a distressing experience of sexual violence and criticized the university for what was perceived as a failure to provide adequate support. The university claims to treat sexual assault reports seriously and investigate them robustly, but FOI responses revealed a lack of data before 2017 and after 2021 due to changes in the collection system.

The university reported less than five expulsions each year, citing privacy concerns for not disclosing specific figures. Time to Act received messages from former students who experienced sexual violence over a decade ago, emphasizing the persistent nature of the issue.

The graduate, critical of the university’s response, stated, “It was disheartening to receive messages from individuals who have put forth considerable effort, spoken out, and followed all the necessary steps—yet nothing has changed.”

In an effort to address these concerns, seven students met with senior university officials on November 29, calling for an extension of the 28-day reporting window for sexual misconduct. They argued that survivors may not recognize or feel comfortable reporting incidents within this timeframe.

Time to Act also urged the university to provide clear definitions of sexual harassment and misconduct, subject to yearly reviews and student consultations. The spokesperson stressed the need for proactive awareness campaigns, asserting that key information about consent and bystander training should be readily available to all students and staff.

The group is pushing for increased transparency in the investigation process, expressing concerns about cases where survivors received apology letters from their alleged assailants without a clear understanding of the proceedings.

Despite the university’s commitment to addressing the issue, Time to Act is demanding an official apology, emphasizing the need for acknowledgment and accountability for the university’s failure to support survivors adequately.

Cardiff University responded by acknowledging the impact of sexual assault on students’ lives and the need for collective efforts to prevent and support victims. The university affirmed its commitment to transparency and reassured the student community of its zero-tolerance approach to violence against women.

A spokesperson for the students’ union echoed the university’s sentiments, emphasizing the importance of supporting students in a safe manner. The union acknowledged the seriousness of complaints and pledged to take appropriate action while actively seeking ways to educate and support students regarding sexual violence.

The university committed to a further meeting with students in March, highlighting ongoing efforts to review support services, data on sexual violence, and the effectiveness of consent training for students. As Cardiff University grapples with increasing pressure, the conversation surrounding sexual violence on campus remains at the forefront, underscoring the urgent need for comprehensive and proactive measures to create a safer environment for all students.

Danielle Trigg
Danielle Trigg
Journalist Danielle is a skilled journalist specializing in regional coverage across the United Kingdom. With her wealth of experience and in-depth knowledge, Danielle dives into the stories that matter to local communities. Her meticulous research and engaging writing style captivate readers, providing them with a comprehensive understanding of the dynamic business landscape. Danielle's commitment to delivering accurate and thought-provoking news sets her apart, making her an invaluable asset to the News Write Ups team.

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