Sexual Violence


The sexual offences page on the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) website defines crimes that are considered a sexual offence. These include non-consensual crimes such as rape or sexual assault, grooming, as well as crimes which exploit others for a sexual purpose, whether in person or online.

Other crimes related to sexual violence include domestic abuse, rape, stalking, harassment, ‘honour-based’ violence including forced marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM), prostitution pornography and obscenity.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) produced guidance for employers on what constitutes sexual harassment. The Commission explains that ‘sexual harassment occurs when an individual engages in unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature. It has the purpose or effect of: violating someone’s dignity; creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the individual concerned.'

Associated Organisations

  • Rape Crisis England & Wales is an umbrella body for a network of independent Rape Crisis Centres (RCC). Their site includes information to help locate an RCC, as well general information around sexual violence and different campaigns.
  • Victim Support is an independent charity supporting victims of crime and traumatic incidents, including sexual assault, in England and Wales.
  • Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is the regulatory body responsible for enforcing the Equality Act 2010.
  • Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS) offers advice and support on issues relating to equality and human rights across England, Scotland and Wales.
  • Hollaback teaches people how to respond to and deal with harassment. Their aim to build safe, inclusive public spaces by transforming the culture that perpetuates discrimination and violence.


Chapter 5 of the ‘Changing the Culture’ report by the Universities UK Taskforce gives information on delivering a university-wide response to sexual violence. Among other ideas, the chapter covers the importance of accountability, ownership and escalation, a university's duty of care to those involved, as well as the importance of linking response frameworks to corporate governance frameworks.

The sexual offences page mentioned above by CPS includes helpful definitions of criminal offences including rape and sexual assault, pornography, prostitution and child sexual abuse.

A national consultation was carried out by The Student Room, which looked into the sexual assault and harassment experienced or witnessed by students and graduates from UK universities. Following the consultation they creating the following report.

The government's strategy to end violence against women and girls outlines the actions that will be taken towards ending violence against women and girls.

The Office for the Independent Adjudicator has also published a briefing note for complaints involving sexual misconduct and harassment.

To view all the materials available on Safe Campus Communities visit our resources page.

Case Studies

In Annexe E of the ‘Changing the Culture’ report, you can read case studies recounting how the University of Greenwich and Keele University have implemented a university-wide approach in responding to sexual violence.

Office for Students (OfS) are funding and working with projects across the higher education sector which are designed to address the recommendations made in the 'Changing the Culture' report, including projects on sexual violence.

A list of the projects funded by OfS which tackle sexual violence is available on their projects page, which includes information on campaigns such as the #NeverOK campaign by the University of Bath. The campaign provided training, resources and marketing materials around sexual harassment, as well as a reporting tool.

More videos and information on other sexual violence and hate crime related projects funded by OfS are available here.


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