At uea(su) we want everyone to have a really positive experience during their time at University. Through our Never Ok campaign, we've been working to raise awareness of sexual harassment and increase the reporting of incidences. Our policy is zero-tolerance on harassment and we're pleased that the University recently joined our campaign – something I wrote about recently in my blog.
As a response to the Universities UK (UUK) Changing The Culture report, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) allocated funding towards addressing sexual harassment on campus. UEA was one of the Universities to receive funding in the first round of allocations. This is being used for a range of projects to tackle sexual violence, relationship abuse, hate crime and discrimination based on protected characteristics such as sexuality or race.
One of these projects, which is starting today, is in partnership with local charity Leeway, a service that provides free, confidential and non-judgemental advice and support for those experiencing relationship abuse.
Relationship abuse is any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members. It can be experienced by people of any gender, sexuality, ethnicity or age and includes scenarios that may not immediately spring to mind when thinking about relationship abuse – such as financial control, honour based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage.
Leeway offer telephone support and are now holding weekly appointments on the UEA campus, where you can speak confidentially to an outreach worker. An outreach worker can provide advice, emotional and practical support, including advice on issues such as financial, legal, housing, welfare and safety concerns. These appointments are held in a safe and confidential space on campus and appointments are available to all students and staff regardless of gender. These are booked directly with Leeway, your details will not be shared with the university unless you give permission.
To make an appointment, you can anonymously and confidentially call Leeway on 0300 561 0077
Leeway will also be providing training in spotting the signs of relationship abuse to staff and students over the coming months and we're looking forward to working with them. If you'd like to find out more about our Never Ok campaign, take a look at the website here.
We hope you're never in a position that requires it, but if you need support or advice about relationship abuse then remember that there are avenues open to you.