Credit: Mika Baumeister via Unsplash

Only half of all reported sexual violence cases resulted in consequences for the perpetrator

By Lucy Dunn

Since 2014, only 53% of cases reported to Glasgow resulted in “student consequences”.

Content Warning: Sexual violence, rape

Recent data shows that only half of all cases of sexual violence reported against students at Glasgow University resulted in “consequences” for the perpetrators. Figures from a freedom of information request by The Glasgow Guardian found that 53% of cases reported and dealt with under the Code of Student Conduct saw the “accused student” face “consequences”, whilst the report insinuated the other 47% of accused students received no reprimand. Of the allegations in question made since 2014, almost a third were reported as rape. 

Formal reporting of cases of sexual violence occurs via the University Complaints Procedure. As highlighted in a recent article regarding the University’s “rape culture”, many students have been unaware of the official lines through which these incidents can be reported and therefore the numbers provided to The Glasgow Guardian may not be fully representative of the scale of the problem of sexual harassment, misconduct and assault affecting students. 

Once reported, approximately half of the cases were escalated to the Senate Student Conduct Committee, with fewer cases going to the Senate Assessor, or resulting in “Unacceptable Behaviour interviews”. As demonstrated by the figures above though, the escalation of the reported cases to the Senate is not mutually exclusive with the accused student-facing consequences.

The “consequences” for accused students were not depicted in the request, however, the University explained that they stem from “outcomes [for students] under the Code of Conduct procedure”. These outcomes ranged from “no further action” to “expulsion”, however, it was not clear which cases were linked to which outcomes, or how frequent awarding a certain outcome was, over this period of time. 

The pattern isn’t unique only to the University: 40% of the allegations of sexual violence made against students since 2014 were also taken to the police, and of these, only one person received a “guilty” verdict. Staff appear to see similar outcomes, as only six of the 11 complaints of sexual harassment made by staff against staff, since 2014, were upheld. 

In recent months, universities have been accused of “failing” students and “mishandling” cases. The Glasgow Guardian has previously noted the case of Charlotte, who alleges being left worse off after trying to seek help following her experience of sexual assault, and the story of the Murano 12, who faced what was deemed a “patronising and snide” response after reporting attacks to the University. 

A University of Glasgow spokesperson said:

“Harassment of any kind is not tolerated at the University; the safety and security of our students and staff is our top priority. Confidential advice and personal support is available to any member of our community who has been affected by sexual violence or assault.

“We have online reporting which allows students to report instances of harassment and gender based violence either in name or in person – a trained staff member always responds when students make a submission in name.

“The form of support then provided is always tailored to the needs and preferences of the individual student. It can involve assistance with making a report to the police, application of the Student Code of Conduct, support from external bodies such as Rape Crisis Scotland, support from the University’s Counselling and Psychological Services team, support from the SRC’s Advice Centre or other forms of support as appropriate. In addition to the online reporting, we have trained Respect Advisers and First Responders whom students can speak to on a completely confidential basis.”

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, there are valuable online resources to consult, like Survivors UK. If you would like to get in touch about a related issue, please email Lucy at [email protected]


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