University of Essex students protest over sex assault handling

Protestors at University of Essex
Image caption Protesters took to the squares at the University of Essex

Students have protested on a campus about their university's handling of sexual assault and harassment.

Campaigners "We Are Tired" took to the squares at the University of Essex to "stand in solidarity with victims".

The university said it "did not tolerate harassment" and was putting in place a range of actions to ensure issues were dealt with "as quickly as possible".

It has been criticised for delays in handling sex assault complaints.

In some cases students said they had waited more than a year for a misconduct hearing date to be set.

Amy Stephenson-Yankuba, who helped lead the protest, said: "We want more consequences for the aggressors...

"We are also here to stand in solidarity with the victims and show them that we believe them and we are listening, even when they might not feel the university is."

Image caption The university says it is taking actions to ensure issues are dealt with "as quickly as possible"

In a statement the university said: "We know students feel incredibly strongly about this issue and we are continuing to work with the Students' Union (SU) to listen to their views and respond to them.

"This year, we're putting in place a whole range of actions this includes a new code of student conduct, compulsory consent training, a year-long programme of bystander training, additional patrols at night, increased CCTV coverage across all campuses and additional resources for our conduct team to ensure issues are dealt with as quickly as possible."

The university has been criticised by some students for telling them to attend mandatory screenings of a play about consent, Can't Touch This.

The SU had requested viewings were compulsory.

However, in a joint statement the university and union said they did not want to force anyone who had survived harassment or sexual violence to feel they have to attend the training, and anyone with concerns could contact their student wellbeing team.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites