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Less than 5 in 50 cases of rape or sexual misconduct ‘found proven’ in past two years at UEA

50 people have reported rape or sexual misconduct in the past two years at the University of East Anglia. With 2 accusations of rape and 48 accusations of sexual misconduct, UEA has found less than 5 ‘proven’ through their disciplinary procedures (UEA states they can’t report the specific number if less than 5 for privacy reasons).

Due to the non-legal nature of the university’s disciplinary system, allegations are ‘found proven’, rather than students being found ‘guilty’.

While there were 6 accusations in 2020/21, there were 44 reports in the 2019/20 academic year alone, which one UEA student referred to as: “shockingly high, especially when considering we were in lockdown for the last 4 months”.

When contacted for comment, UEA stated: “The University has a clear disciplinary procedure which is followed in all allegations of sexual misconduct and the procedure is available on the website. These procedures and regulations are regularly reviewed. The University continues to encourage people to report any allegation of sexual misconduct. The Report and Support secure online reporting facility also allows people to access support quickly.”

Another student said: “When you see how the University of Lincoln’s report numbers went up substantially after they developed their reporting system, it makes you question whether or not the current UEA system is working as well as it could”.

UEASU’s Welfare, Community and Diversity Officer, Em Anderson, when contacted for their response, said: “The SU is deeply saddened to see these figures, and it is particularly awful to hear of 42 reports of sexual misconduct on campus in 2019/20. However, cases of rape and sexual misconduct – both nationally and within universities – often go unreported and we do not believe that these statistics necessarily reflect the true extent of the problem. Seeing how few allegations are ‘found proven’ may give some indication as to why reporting numbers are not higher. These statistics demonstrate that we must do more work with students and with Student Services to develop the Report and Support system so it is effective in supporting survivors and tackling sexual misconduct at UEA.”

They went on to say: “Tackling sexual misconduct at UEA is a priority area of work for me, and I am addressing this in various ways. Many students have been in touch with me recently with concerns in this area and I am arranging meetings with them to discuss their concerns. As an SU, we work closely with Student Services on the Changing the Culture project and workstreams within this include Reporting and Supporting and Harassment and Sexual Harassment; we bring student voice to this project.”

Finally, when asked what the SU is doing/planning on doing to hold the University to account, they said: “we plan to have further discussions with Student Services on their reporting and supporting process and ensure commitments to develop this. Students have been clear that the current process needs improvement, so we will work with both students and the University to identify the problems and implement solutions”.

13/04/2021

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Matthew Branston and William Warnes


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