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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge

Statement on Harassment and Sexual Misconduct

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Statement on Harassment and Sexual Misconduct

Murray Edwards College is committed to providing a safe environment in which all members of the College can participate freely and contribute fully in the life of the College, University and city without fear for their personal security. A safe environment, free of harassment or threat, is fundamental to the academic and social life of our community here in College and within the wider University. Sexual harassment and misconduct will not be tolerated - sexual assault in particular is a very serious criminal offence. The College will support and assist the victim of any harassment or assault.

To this end the College will:

  • Promote a culture of zero tolerance of sexual harassment and assault. All members of the community must treat each other with respect and there must be a clear understanding of the types of behaviour which are inappropriate and unacceptable. The procedure on dealing with harassment and sexual misconduct, policy on Staff/Student relationships, Consent workshops, and the College's support for awareness raising initiatives by both the JCR and the MCR all contribute to this zero tolerance culture.
  • Support victims in reporting assaults. The College will ensure that appropriate information and assistance is available to support a victim in deciding what steps to take following an assault. In the case of a serious sexual assault the College will encourage the victim to involve the police who have the authority to question under caution, and access to investigatory and forensic resources. However, this decision lies with the victim, who will be supported whatever decision they take.
  • Treat harassment seriously and respond to it effectively should the complaint not be a criminal matter, or if the victim does not wish to involve the police. The College and University Procedures allow for complaints concerning harassment and the behaviour of members of the College to be addressed in a robust and fair manner and the College will ensure that anyone raising a concern is not victimised or disadvantaged as a result. When the complaint concerns the behaviour of a student from another college, or staff in the wider university, the College will support the student in following the appropriate complaints procedure. Because of the need for high-quality investigating processes, and the need for common standards, it is likely that the College would recommend using university-wide procedures for sexual harassment or assault (https://www.studentcomplaints.admin.cam.ac.uk/harassment-sexual-misconduct).
  • Support victims following assaults. Everyone is likely to react differently to an assault. The College will endeavour to ensure that a victim has access to welfare provision and support which is appropriate to their needs. Support may be required in the short-term or for a longer period. Steps may need to be taken relating to accommodation or academic arrangements, for example, so that someone who has previously suffered an assault feels safe and can continue to study and participate in the College community.
  • Respect confidentiality. Whenever possible the College will respect the confidentiality of someone reporting harassment or an assault. However, the College has a wider duty of care and if it considers that anyone may be at risk of further harm it may need to report a crime to the police.