Joint University of Bristol and Bristol Students’ Union statement in response to murder of Sarah Everard (March 2021)

Dear student

The sad and shocking news of the death of Sarah Everard  (March 2021) highlights the vital importance of the safety and wellbeing of women and people of historically oppressed genders. The University of Bristol and Bristol Students’ Union are tackling gender-based harassment and violence together, and will continue this critical work to ensure all students feel as safe as possible wherever they are, both on and around campus.

Public sexual harassment and sexual violence at UK universities and across our society is a serious issue. We have a robust and confidential system in place to help students report incidents and to support anyone impacted by these recent events.

Access support

We understand this may be a very distressing time for our students who have experienced gender-based violence or sexual assault: we are here to support you.

A team of externally trained Sexual Violence Liaison Officers is available to provide specialised support and advice, drawing on help both from external organisations and from the University. You can also talk to a Wellbeing Adviser, have an informal conversation with The Student Complaints Officer, (telephone: 0117 394 1820) or access immediate, 24/7 support from The Bridge.

How to report

If something happens to you, or if you witness unacceptable behaviour by others, you can report anonymously via our online Report and Support tool. Should you choose to provide contact details, a member of the team will be in touch to provide appropriate support.

You will not be penalised for breaking COVID restrictions if you make a report and need to take action urgently.

We encourage students to report these types of incidents to the police but do recognise that you may choose not to or feel unable to do this. Allegations made against other students can also be investigated as part of the University’s Disciplinary regulations, where appropriate action will be taken.

Culture change

We will work in partnership with other Bristol-based organisations to eliminate gender-based violence from our campus, and our city. As demonstrated by the appalling behaviour of some of our community interrupting a virtual vigil held in memory of Sarah Everard (17 March 2021) we know that part of this vital work is education: changing attitudes and behaviour, building respect for one another and understanding consent.

This is at the heart of us living safe and well in our University community. We will continue to work together to develop appropriate resources and activities to train and educate, engender a culture of respect, care and tolerance, and tackle the wider issue of sexual harassment and violence.

Please read our new webpage for further information.

Kind regards,

Professor Sarah Purdy, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Student Experience, and The Bristol SU Officer Team

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