The Office for Students (OfS) has announced eleven universities in England will receive £480,000 of funding to tackle religious-based hate crime and harassment among the student population.

The money will be used to fund projects that provide training, raise awareness and develop new approaches to the prevention of religious-based harassment.

OfS Chief Executive Nicola Dandridge said: “All students should feel safe and supported during their time in higher education so that they can continue with their learning and realise their potential.

“Universities are making progress in tackling the issues of hate crime and harassment on campus, but there is much more to be done.

“With student safeguarding and wellbeing a priority for the OfS, we are delighted to fund this network of new projects to tackle these issues.”

The resulting collaborative network will strengthen reporting mechanisms, increase religious literacy and improve community cohesion on campuses across the country.

Students at the participating institutions will play vital roles in the projects, helping to develop, launch and make use of the new preventative systems that will be put in place.

The University of Durham revealed they will be launching an online ‘reporting and supporting’ programme for incidents of harassment with their £50,000 share of the funding.

This new round of funding represents the third phase of a scheme which last year invested £1.8 million to tackle religious hate-crimes, as well as £2.45 million for addressing sexual harassment.

Universities Minister Sam Gyimah said: “Our universities should be free of any form of hatred or discrimination – students have the right to feel safe and valued – so I’m delighted that this funding will be used to help tackle religion-based hate crime and harassment.”

“The OfS was set up to champion students and it’s right that they are working closely with, and funding, universities to tackle important issues they face.

“I am taking a keen interest in the progress of this work.”