You have chosen to hide this content.

If you've chosen to hide the content as you are finding the topics being discussed difficult or triggering, please give yourself time and take as long of a break as needed. For sources of support, please go to the dedicated 'Support resources' screen.

If you would like to continue through the module without returning to this screen, please use the navigation within your platform to proceed to the next screen.

If you would like to return to the content that you were viewing within this screen before escaping, please select the 'Return to hidden content' option below.

Please note that if you select to return to this screen, the original content will be visible again.

For future sessions, you may choose to skip this screen entirely if you do not wish to view the material covered.

Why am I taking this course?

Why am I taking this course?

Would you know what to do if someone told you that they had been sexually abused or assaulted? If they came to you and told you about an uncomfortable situation, are you confident that you could recognise sexual harassment?

An illustration of a student reporting an incident to a faculty member in their office at university.

If you work within a higher education institution, you have a duty of care to both students and colleagues. If someone discloses to you, you want to make sure that you recognise that it is a disclosure and that you respond in the most supportive and effective way possible, so that they can choose what to do next.

This course helps prepare you to respond to disclosures from anyone, including undergraduate and postgraduate students and staff, regardless of their gender, sexuality, age, ability, cultural or ethnic background, religion or belief, and socioeconomic status (or other unique identifying characteristics). To accomplish this, this course purposely uses a diverse range of scenarios to allow the learner to consider how they would respond to women, men and trans and non-binary survivors who may disclose sexual violence.

It is important to look after yourself, as the disclosure process may affect you personally.


Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Identify barriers to disclosing and/or reporting an incident of sexual violence and seeking support
  • Identify the impacts of sexual violence on the survivor, including potentially harmful coping strategies
  • Respond appropriately to a disclosure, demonstrating empathy and understanding
  • List a range of non-directive, non-invasive and non-judgemental questions, that maintain appropriate boundaries
  • Describe best practices for creating a supportive space for a disclosure of sexual violence.

Content warning

Content warning

This module covers some sensitive topics relating to sexual violence, which will be discussed explicitly. These topics include:

  • Gender-based violence
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual harassment
  • Rape
  • Technology-facilitated abuse.

The module does not include explicit graphics or images, but it does include hypothetical scenarios exploring sexual violence and the impact of sexual violence.

If you are affected by any of the topics discussed in the module, please refer to the 'Support' pods on screen that offer links to support and advice, the dedicated 'Support resources' screen or the 'Looking after yourself' screen in Module 3.


Hide content

If you find the content of the module to be difficult or triggering at any point, a 'Hide content' button will be accessible at all times. When selected, this will hide the content of the screen you are on. You may also operate the 'Hide content' function by pressing the 'esc' key on your keyboard. If you'd like to continue working on the module, you can then safely navigate to another screen without the content reappearing.

Using the module

Accessibility

We strive to make our content accessible to the widest possible audience. While the module is largely compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, there are some interactive objects that we can't make fully accessible. To address this, we provide a full text/print version of the module. This version can be accessed by selecting the 'Text/print version' option available at the top of each screen.


Content

  • The centre of each screen contains the core content for the module, presented either as text, interactive activities, graphics, videos or animations.
  • Text highlighted in a box preceded by an arrow contains instructions on how to navigate the activities that follow.
  • Responses to the note-making and text-entry activities (where you type responses in the space provided) can be printed and used as part of your ongoing work.
  • Please note that screen times only account for the approximate time it takes to complete the core content. They do not include additional information, such as content provided in 'pods'.

Pods

Throughout this module, there are additional learning opportunities in 'pods.' Exploring the information provided in the pods will enrich the learning experience.

  • The 'Support' pod iconSupport: Provides helpful strategies for self-care and information on sources of support.
  • The 'Consider this' pod iconConsider this: Contains extra content to expand or emphasise key points from the main screen, including links to useful external resources.
  • The 'Your context' pod iconYour context: Contains links and information about topics specific to your context and/or institution.
  • The 'Glossary' pod iconGlossary: Contains definitions of relevant key terms. It will be made accessible on each screen as you navigate through the module.

Quiz

At the very end of the course when you complete Module 3, you have the opportunity to test your learning further with a multiple-choice quiz. This consists of ten questions and can be taken more than once (in which case, a new set of questions will appear).


Confidentiality and anonymity

Please note that questions to all activities, including poll questions, are anonymous. Any responses provided for non-poll activities are not saved or collected and are only for your use.

The poll questions are designed to help you think about your own situation and attitudes, and to compare your responses to those of others taking the module. Your responses are anonymous and confidential.


Note on terminology

Survivor is the term we have chosen to talk about the person who has been subjected to sexual violence. You are likely to also encounter the term, 'victim' or 'victim-survivor'. Different people will identify with different words; you should always take the lead from the person disclosing as to which term to use.

Sexual violence is the most commonly used term in this course because it refers to a range of violent and harmful sexual behaviours including, but not limited to, 'sexual harassment', 'sexual assault', 'sexual intercourse without consent', 'sexual penetration without consent', and/or 'rape'.

LGBT+ is the acronym we have chosen to use in this course. You may come across some uses of alternative acronyms. This is because when an organisation being referenced or cited does not use LGBT+, we use the arrangement used in its work when referring to it.

In this course we adopt the social model of disability and use identity-first language when discussing or referring to disabled people. We acknowledge that there are different opinions on whether identity-first or person-first language should be used, and respect everyone's right to choose the language that they prefer. While previously person-first language was considered the preferred model, there has been a movement towards identity-first language within the disabled community. It is for this reason that we have adopted identity-first language.


Blended learning material

In addition to the online materials provided in this course, we have provided workshop activities to support a blended learning experience. These activities have been developed by the author and are suitable for in-person and online delivery. They are available in the Instructor Manual provided with this programme.

Expert panel

Lead advisor

Graham Towl

Graham Towl

Graham Towl (he/him) is Professor of Forensic Psychology and former Pro Vice-Chancellor (PVC) Chair of the Sexual Violence Task Force at Durham University. Prior to working at Durham, he was the Chief Psychologist at the Ministry of Justice. He is the co-author of two books on addressing sexual violence in higher education; Addressing Student Sexual Violence in Higher Education (2020), which he wrote with Clarissa Humphreys, and Tackling Sexual Violence at Universities (2019), which he wrote with Tammi Walker.


Author

Clarissa J. Humphreys

Clarissa J. Humphreys

Clarissa J. Humphreys (she/her) is the co-author of Addressing Student Sexual Violence in Higher Education. She is a practitioner and leading authority on addressing gender-based violence in HE and develops and delivers trauma-informed courses on a range of sexual violence prevention and response topics. She currently works as the Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Manager at Durham University and is responsible for policy development, case management, student support and training.


Expert panel

The programme was developed in collaboration with a range of experts.

Professor Cara Aitchison

Professor Cara Aitchison

Professor Cara Aitchison is President and Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff Metropolitan University. She has held leadership positions in universities in England, Scotland and Wales and has an established reputation for research and advocacy in equality, diversity and inclusion. She was Chair of the Universities UK Advisory Group on Staff Student Sexual Misconduct leading to guidance for the higher education sector being published in 2022.

Dr Emer Clifford

Dr Emer Clifford

Dr Emer Clifford (she/her) is the Sexual Violence Framework Project Manager at University College Cork, Ireland. She is a member of the National Women's Council Ireland's (NWCI) National Advisory Committee (NAC), and the Sex Education as a Human Right Network, where she collaborates with colleagues from across the sector in the development of shared responses and policies in relation to sexual harassment and violence on college campuses.

Katrina Daoud

Katrina Daoud

Katrina Daoud (she/her) is the Sexual Violence Project Officer at Nottingham Trent University. Katrina leads on all sexual violence prevention efforts, including managing the mandatory consent programme for students, delivering staff and student training. As a Sexual Violence Liaison officer, she responds to student disclosures. Katrina is passionate about preventing and responding to sexual violence for all genders and identities and ensuring that higher education is safe, inclusive and welcoming for all students.

Lesley Johnston

Lesley Johnston

Lesley Johnston (she/her) is a Sexual Violence and Harassment Liaison Manager at the University of Edinburgh. She provides specialist input and support to staff and students affected by sexual violence and other forms of gender-based violence (GBV), and develops policies and strategies, and training and prevention programmes. Lesley has worked across a number of sectors on GBV issues, including the third sector specialist services; local and national government; NHS Lothian and the Scottish Government Health Directorate. Lesley was Chair of The Edinburgh Violence Against Women Partnership for many years, establishing a range of projects and initiatives to support victims and tackle perpetrators' behaviour.

Lisa Brooks-Lewis

Lisa Brooks-Lewis

Lisa Brooks-Lewis (she/her) is the Duty, Assessment and Inclusivity Manager at Loughborough University. She has a background spanning from youth justice and improving services for complex and dual diagnosis clients through collaborative working in health and sexual violence services. Lisa's interests are in promoting equality, challenging discrimination and addressing stigma embedded within day-to-day practice. Recent conference presentations include AHUA Autumn Conference 2021, Security in HE and the Samaritans' annual conference. Publications include research relating to aggression and violence in social care, and trauma-informed care.

Dr Jane Meyrick

Dr Jane Meyrick

Dr Jane Meyrick (she/her) is a Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology at the University of the West of England in Bristol, UK. She is also a qualified Public Health Specialist and researches, teaches and writes on sexual health and sexual violence as well as evidence-based approaches to policy and practice.

Mia Nembhard

Mia Nembhard

Mia Nembhard (she/her) has been elected twice on campus as the Executive Sports Sabbatical Officer and President, simultaneously holding two national roles as the Student Director for BUCS (British Universities College Sport) and Women's place on the NUS Liberation campaign between 2019/20–2020/21. She has worked closely with student survivors on a range of initiatives, from campaigns to advocacy work, and has stayed close to the student movement as a member of the NUS Charity Board 2021–23.

Amy Thompson

Amy Thompson

Amy Thompson (she/her) is the University Sexual Assault and Harassment Advisor at the University of Cambridge, UK. Amy provides trauma-informed support to students who have been subjected to sexual violence. Amy develops and delivers training to staff across the Collegiate University on handling disclosures of sexual violence and has also created guidance for staff and students on supporting victim-survivors. Amy has over 10 years of experience in working with survivors of sexual violence, is a trained Independent Sexual Violence Advocate and also created and runs the HEI network of Sexual Harassment and Violence Support Services.

Emma Short

Emma Short

Emma Short (she/her) is an Associate Professor in the School of Applied Social Sciences at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK. She is a trustee of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and has worked with third sector organisations in the area of violence against women and girls. She researches and writes about cyberstalking, technologically facilitated violence and police responses. Her teaching is currently focused on wellbeing and empirical psychology.


Accessibility advisor

Wilma Alexander

Wilma Alexander

Wilma Alexander is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy with masters' degrees in Human-Computer Interaction, Linguistics and Information Science. She has over 15 years of experience as a manager with the online learning team at the University of Edinburgh, where she specialised in usable and accessible digital practice, tutored on the groundbreaking master's degree in Digital Education and developed online staff training on accessible e-learning and online tutoring skills. Since retiring from the university at the end of 2015, Wilma has provided consultancy services on all aspects of online learning, with a special focus on accessibility and usability issues.