University campaign encourages responsible behaviour and highlights the support and advice available to those impacted by sexual violence, as new academic year gets underway

3 October 2022

As thousands of students arrive in Oxford this week to begin or continue their studies, the University is again running its multi-channel campaign, Oxford Against Sexual Violence, to raise awareness of this important issue. The campaign, entering its fifth year, reflects the University and its colleges' strong condemnation of sexual harassment or violence of any kind, and aims to help make students feel safe, supported, and able to access the dedicated services and support available to them.

The Sexual Harassment and Violence Support Service, part of Oxford’s Student Welfare and Support Services (SWSS), provides free, confidential support and advice to any student who has been affected by sexual harassment or violence at any time. Available to all students across the collegiate University, working closely with college welfare teams, it includes access to an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) who is seconded to the University from the local rape crisis centre. Oxford is one of a small number of Universities in the UK to offer this independent provision. 

This year, a new approach to delivering consent training will be trialled as part of an ongoing review of consent activities. The student consent training scheme will involve a group of student peers being trained by the Student Welfare and Support Service as consent workshop facilitators, who will be trained to facilitate a programme on healthy relationships and consent under ongoing supervision.

In addition, there are several existing consent programmes available to students, including online training and discussion-based student-led consent workshops run by Oxford SU. For a third consecutive year, all students are encouraged to undertake the online consent training programme Consent Matters before the new term gets underway.

Additionally, in 2022-23, as part of efforts to tackle sexual harassment and violence, colleges will have access to a list of independent investigators and panel members to support them in investigating cases of sexual violence and harassment.

Martin Williams, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education), University of Oxford, said: ‘We take any kind of sexual violence or harassment extremely seriously at Oxford. We expect all members of the University to understand what forms of behaviour are unacceptable, and to behave appropriately at all times. We continue to review how we can best support our students, including trialling new initiatives such as the pilot student consent training scheme that will begin this year. Our Sexual Harassment and Violence Support Service exists for students to be able to safely and confidentially access support, encouraging students to enter a space where they can feel able to discuss their experiences at their pace.’

Jan Royall, Chair of Conference of Colleges, said: ‘The safety of our students is our primary concern and we utterly condemn all forms of sexual violence. Colleges continue to work closely with the University on this critical issue, including through the ‘Oxford Against Sexual Violence’ campaign. As the new term gets underway, we hope that this will help to raise awareness amongst the student body of the help and support available to them during their time at Oxford, and remind all members of our college community of the need to behave responsibly.’

Notes to Editors

For more information contact the University of Oxford News & Information Office: 01865 280528, [email protected]

The Sexual Harassment and Violence Support Service is part of Student Welfare and Support Services (SWSS) and support students who have been affected in any way by sexual harassment or violence.