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Sussex deemed neglectful in student assault case

An independent inquiry commissioned for the University of Sussex has determined a failure in the approach towards an assault case involving postgraduate student Allison Smith and academic Dr Lee Salter.

The report was authorized by the university’s newest Vice Chancellor appointment Professor Adam Tickell in response to criticism following reports last August that Salter remained employed by the university ten months after his arrest. This came despite Smith testifiyng to being “punched, knocked out, and stamped on” by Salter. Domestic violence expert Professor Nicole Westmarland of Durham University headed the investigation, which was assembled  to identify “aspects of poor and good practice in the handling of the case.”

The findings of the report disclose Sussex’s failures to “communicate with the victim” throughout the proceedings and to “follow its own policies and procedures”, thus incorrectly disciplining the abuser. It concludes by making 11 recommendations of courses of action for the university.

Smith has said that the report has somewhat reassured her, stating “being silenced and feeling very isolated and alone was the most difficult thing I’ve ever faced in my life. So for [the university] to come forward and to say we completely got this wrong, that is healing for me.”

31/01/2017

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