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NTU’s commitment to sexual violence prevention recognised with student support award

Nottingham Trent University (NTU) has lifted the Outstanding Support for Students trophy at the sixteenth annual THE Awards for its work on sexual violence prevention and response.

Logo of award
NTU has been recognised for raising the agenda of harassment, hate crime and violence against women across its campuses and beyond

The THE Awards – widely referred to as the ‘Oscars of higher education’ – are the biggest celebration in the UK HE calendar, attracting hundreds of entries from individuals, teams and institutions from all corners of the country. More than one thousand people logged on to the virtual 2020 ceremony to hear this year’s winners announced.

The awards entry window opened just as the COVID-19 lockdown commenced and focuses on activity during the 2018-19 academic year.

At a time of much-needed reappraisal of women’s and ethnic minorities’ rights, NTU sought to stand in solidarity with such movements by raising the agenda of harassment, hate crime and violence against women across its campuses and beyond.

With the goal of encouraging reporting and collaborative action, the University’s respect and consent working group reviewed data around such issues and aided in the creation of a specialist team that included new posts such as a sexual violence project officer, a hate crime project officer and a network of sexual violence liaison officers. In 2018-19, this was supplemented by the roll-out of a much-improved programme that delivered a zero-tolerance sexual violence policy, a film on that theme that was shared in classes and on social media, workshops on consent and bystander intervention, a sexual violence awareness week and a student signposting guide.

Training has been delivered to more than 1,100 staff and students, while the increased profile and the open-door policy engendered by the programme has resulted in a large increase in disclosures of instances of harassment, hate crime and violence against women – from 20 in 2015-16 to 141 in 2018-19, with all those who make such reports now receiving appropriate and timely support.

“Support for students in an increasingly complex higher education environment has never been more important, and the work at NTU in responding to and preventing sexual violence stood out because of its close integration with the students’ union, the breadth of interventions developed and the scale of the programme, reaching thousands of students and staff across the university,” the judges said.

Sara Baldwin, Head of Student Support Services at NTU, said: “This project dealt openly with the subject of sexual violence, encouraging victims to come forward with both historic and recent cases to seek support. It is their journeys which inspire us to continue to strive for excellence in this area.

“We would like to thank all the students, staff and services that have worked with us to develop our response and prevention work, in particular our Students’ Union and the local partner agencies involved in the Nottingham Consent Coalition. It is these partnerships which have enabled us to develop a truly great, sustainable service to support students and the wider Nottinghamshire community.”

Sarah Bustard, Student Health and Wellbeing Manager at NTU, added: “We are very proud to be part of an amazing movement in Nottingham which continues to strive to improve the understanding of consent and challenge sexual violence. It’s vital to raise the profile of this work and for those involved to be recognised as we continue to drive the initiative forward.”

THE editor, John Gill, said: “In an extraordinary year, the opportunity to sit down with the THE Awards judges – remotely, of course – and immerse oneself in the stories behind our shortlisted entries was more rewarding than ever.

"Because these awards recognise achievements in the 2018-19 academic year, we are dealing with the world as it was pre-pandemic, but the brilliance of our researchers, the exceptional teaching and the extraordinary ingenuity shown by administrative staff, all on display in this year’s shortlists, will be critical for both universities and the country in the period ahead.

"In some ways, picking out examples of individual achievement seems at odds with the collective effort that has been so vital during the difficult months this year, but the THE Awards have been celebrating the UK sector in this way for 16 years, so a pandemic wasn’t going to stop us.

"Congratulations to an inspirational group of winners, and indeed to everyone shortlisted.”

Further information is available on the THE Awards website and further coverage of this year’s awards at Times Higher Education.

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    About Nottingham Trent University

    Nottingham Trent University (NTU) was named University of the Year 2019 in the Guardian University Awards. The award was based on performance and improvement in the Guardian University Guide, retention of students from low-participation areas and attainment of BME students.

    NTU was also the Times Higher Education University of the Year 2017, and The Times and Sunday Times Modern University of the Year 2018. These awards recognise NTU for its high levels of student satisfaction, its quality of teaching, its engagement with employers, and its overall student experience.

    The university has been rated Gold in the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework – the highest ranking available.

    It is one of the largest UK universities. With nearly 32,000 students and more than 4,000 staff located across four campuses, the University contributes £900m to the UK economy every year. With an international student population of more than 3,000 from around 100 countries, the University prides itself on its global outlook.

    The university is passionate about creating opportunities and its extensive outreach programme is designed to enable NTU to be a vehicle for social mobility. NTU is among the UK’s top five recruiters of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and was awarded University of the Year in the UK Social Mobility Awards 2019.

    A total of 82% of its graduates go on to graduate entry employment or graduate entry education or training within six months of leaving. Student satisfaction is high: NTU achieved an 87% satisfaction score in the 2020 National Student Survey, above the sector average of 83%.

Published on 27 November 2020
  • Category: Press office