• Four women standing shoulder to shoulder. Not smiling, looking stern
16 Mar | Gender Equality | Lincoln News

Uniting in support of women’s right to feel safe

Following the dreadful murder of Sarah Everard earlier this month, many women everywhere are sharing their experiences of violence, inappropriate behaviour, physical, verbal and sexual abuse, expressing how unsafe they feel, and highlighting that for many they feel this on a regular basis

It is more than 40 years since the first Reclaim the Night march which raised these issues in our society, and it is unacceptable that so many women still feel unsafe in modern day Britain. The University and the Students’ Union have in recent days discussed the importance of uniting as one community to support women’s right to feel safe.  

Professor Mary Stuart, Vice Chancellor at the University of Lincoln said, "As a university we aim to create an environment where everyone feels secure, supported and listened to. We will do all we can to ensure our campus and community is safe for all women and all students. Importantly, as well as raising awareness of the extent and impact of aggressive and violent behaviour towards women, we will ensure these behaviours are challenged, reported and explored. It is vital to us that students and staff feel empowered to speak out, knowing their voices will be heard." 

Lucy Krogdahl, Vice President of Wellbeing and Community at Lincoln Students’ Union said, "The events of the last week have made it clear more is needed to prevent violence against women. It is a topic that shouldn’t be raised just when something happens and viewed with the lens of ‘It could be your sister/girlfriend/ mother’. All women should feel safe no matter when or where they are. Continuous education and a change in attitude is needed to prevent these events from taking place. It is not the responsibility of women to do this, it falls on all of us to challenge violent behaviours and the stigma that women are to blame for feeling unsafe in their daily lives.

The University has expert support staff so students can come forward without fear, in a positive and supportive environment, where abuse and harassment will not be tolerated. To report any incident (including to make an anonymous report), contact Student Services. In collaboration with our Students' Union, we want to help more people across our community feel safe and to feel confident that they can challenge and report inappropriate behaviour. We invite all members of our community to come together virtually in remembrance of Sarah Everard and to make clear we believe women have the right to feel safe.

The University of Lincoln and Lincoln Students’ Union will be hosting an online vigil at 7pm on Tuesday 16 March with contributors from support services and student societies. Details on how to join the event will be available today on the One Community page of the University website. 

Preventing & responding to gender-based violence

In 2017, in response to mounting research evidence, the University of Lincoln (UoL) established a gender-based violence (GBV) task force, comprising academics, support staff, and students, to examine  existing responses to GBV across UK HEI.  Following a review of UoL policies and research on best practice across the UK  sector, the task force (Chaired by Prof Belinda Colston, Director of the Eleanor Glanville Centre) made recommendations for new policy and practices at the University to better report GBV incidents and an improved provision of appropriate support mechanisms.

The policy can be found here

Prof Sundari Anitha and Dr Ana Jordan (along with Nicola Chanamuto), the academic leads on the GBV taskforce, are currently conducting a sector-wide review of GBV policies across UK universities. The analysis will enable the development of recommendations on constructing effective policies for practitioners, and contribute to academic debates on GBV and policy analysis.