More than half of Britain’s elite universities do not keep records on the extent of sexual abuse perpetrated against their students, a report reveals.
Of the 24 elite, so-called Russell Group universities across the UK, seven stated that they do not systematically monitor allegations of sexual assaults, rapes and sexual harassment, while another seven said they only record some cases, The Guardian reported Sunday, citing information from a series of freedom of information requests.
According to the report, one in five of the elite group of universities that are considered to be among the best higher learning institutions in the world, further conceded that they do not even have specific guidelines for students on how to report such allegations in confidence or as a formal complaint either to university authorities or to the police.
The daily then cites officials of universities of Leeds, Liverpool, Cardiff and Manchester as well as King’s College London as saying they did not have such guidelines.
The development came after the problem of sexual abuse in top British universities was highlighted in recent weeks by two Oxford University students. Former student Elizabeth Ramey, the report adds, attempted to challenge the university in a legal case for what she regarded as the institution’s failure to adequately investigate when she reported being raped by a fellow student in 2011.
The daily added that it sought data going back five years to compare guidelines and strategies across the universities and to document the extent of sexual harassment.
It added that 18 universities offered some data on the number of allegations recorded, though there was no standard system of reporting.
The report further added that some of the institutions listed individual rapes, sexual assault and harassment, broken down by year; some listed merely “confidential conversations with harassment advisers where incidents of this nature were discussed.”
The daily then cites rape crisis groups from college towns across the US as saying that such figures were most likely a “gross underestimate” of sexual violence on their campuses.