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Staying safe at university

By JForrester 12 Jul 2021

When you first come to university, you probably don't give much thought to your safety on campus.

The excitement of this new experience, meeting new people, being away from home and not having to answer to anyone tend to be the main things that come to mind when you arrive at uni, right?

The university experience should be about self-exploration and enjoying this time in your life, however, for some, the experience isn't so pleasant. The number of reports regarding campus safety and sexual violence has increased, resulting in the need for the awareness and message surrounding this subject to be increased, especially regarding consent. 

Research completed by Revolt Sexual Assault and The Student Room points out the truth about the scale of sexual violence experiences at UK universities; it seems like this is much more serious than originally thought and students aren't having such a good time after all.

The research revealed that only...

Sexual violence can include groping, harassment, unwanted touching, coercion, sexual assault, and rape. Knowing the difference between an incident and 'a joke' exchange can be unclear to some people but it's important to report it if/when you feel it isn't ok. Out of 4,500 students, 62% of this experienced sexual violence at university and shockingly only 1 in 10 students had reported their experience to the university or the police - something that a change needs to be made. 

Making yourself aware of the support services on campus is essential. Usually, in Freshers Week, they provide you with an overload of information; one of these being the support on offer to you all year round. If you missed this, then refreshing your memory may be a good idea, even if you need the services for a completely different reason.

What do you do?

We've all heard of the 'No Means No' campaign. This encourages victims to come forward and report incidents with the confidence that they will receive specialist support in return. It also makes people aware of what is and isn't acceptable, when someone says 'no', it means no. Understanding that both parties need to give consent and understanding this is crucial, whether it's setting personal boundaries, or making things clear, you get the final say on what happens with your body.

See something that's not right? Report and Support logo

UWE's Speak Up Campaign

We want to create an inclusive campus where diversity is celebrated, antisocial attitudes and behaviours are challenged and any type of harassment, assault and discrimination aren't acceptable. We want you to #SpeakUp if you see or hear something that's not right, and be an active bystander.

  • Unwanted touching and groping
  • Consent
  • Inappropriate use of social media
  • Domestic abuse
  • Initiation and humiliation ceremonies

Report and Support tool

Our online tool has been developed for UWE Bristol students to get help if you've experienced something on campus or on university business that makes you feel upset or uncomfortable.

With Report and Support, you can choose to speak with one of our trained advisers so they can discretely investigate incidents, or you can report issues anonymously.

Safety = everything

Being safe on campus and feeling safe is very important. There are a few simple things that you can do to help yourself. Nobody should experience sexual violence at university, especially when you should be having an amazing time and we want to help to prevent that! 

Whenever in doubt, remember these:

  • Make yourself aware of campus security and how to get in touch with them. Store their numbers in your phone at the beginning of the year
  • Never walk alone, especially at night. Make sure you're always part of a group as you have safety in numbers
  • Never hail down taxis of the street or get in unlicensed taxis. ALWAYS pre-book or go through a taxi app like Uber
  • Make someone aware of where you are going at all times
  • If you experience something at a social event, remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible and make security aware
  • Understand the meaning of consent; if you don't want to do anything or something doesn't feel right then don't do it. No matter how intoxicated you are or how much you know the person, you can always say no
  • Talk to yourself exactly like you would a friend. If they experienced this, you would tell them to report it and that it wasn't their fault, so now is a time to take your own advice
  • Make sure your phone is fully charged when you go out
  • When travelling by bus late at night, travel with other when possible, make sure you know the last bus times and sit near the driver whenever possible

Ask for Angela

Have you heard of Ask Angela?

If you're ever in a situation that doesn't safe and you need help getting out of it, go to the bar and ask for 'Angela', the bar staff will know you need assistance and will discreetly help you out of the situation.

    Ask Angela

    It's important to make sure you are being and feel safe on campus and when you are out in the city. There are people out there who can help you if you are ever worried or have any issues, so always speak to someone.

    You can contact the UWE Wellbeing Service or use the Report and Support tool - there are also a number of Bristol Organisations and charities that you can seek support from.

    Personal Security alarms are also available through Accommodation Services and you can speak to a member of the Accommodation Team at any time regarding your personal safety.

    In the event of an emergency, please phone the University’s emergency number, which is +44 (0)117 328 9999 on a mobile phone or 9999 if you’re using a telephone connected to the University network. 

    If you ring 999 in an emergency but can't speak respond to the operator by tapping the headset and/or press 55.

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