University of Northampton project secures HEFCE Funding

Date 14.03.2017

The University of Northampton’s project, New Spaces: Safeguarding Students from Violence and Hate is one of 60 projects in universities and colleges across the country which has received HEFCE funding to address concerns about sexual violence and harassment within Higher Education.


The New Spaces Project, and the funding it has received, is in response to a report by the Universities UK Harassment Task Force which explored the nature and scale of the problem in Higher Education, and calls for universities to respond more effectively.

The University of Northampton’s project has been created in partnership with Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council and Rape Crisis, the University’s Institute for Public Safety, Crime and Justice and academic experts in the fields of Law and Psychology. Through the creation of best practice, student focused, resources, training and policies and procedures to support more effective reporting, investigation and support for incidents of harassment, sexual abuse, sexual violence and hate crime within Higher Education.

Sarah Armstrong- Hallam, Manager of the Institute for Public Safety, Crime and Justice said: “Through a range of collaborative activities, the project will enable staff and students to well equipped to keep themselves and each other safer and will enable to University to develop appropriate responses to incidents of harassment on campus.”

Dr Melanie Crofts, Senior Lecturer in Law and Project Lead said: “Those working within Higher Education as a whole are focusing attention on ways to address concerns about harassment, specifically sexual harassment, within the sector. At the University of Northampton, we have a unique change on the horizon, the opening of our brand new town centre campus, which necessitates the enhancement and extension of our existing safeguarding policies and practices to ensure that we take into account the new campus context.

“Our project, New Spaces, will be informed by, and created in partnership students to develop fresh, student lead approaches to engage with disclosure of, and support for, those impacted by these kinds of issues while studying. I’m delighted that our findings will be used by HEFCE to make best practice suggestions for other Higher Education Institutions.”

Universities Minister Jo Johnson said: “We take any form of violence and sexual harassment extremely seriously, and expect universities to take a zero-tolerance approach.

“The interest and response to HEFCE’s fund has been hugely encouraging. The number of projects announced and the support shown reinforces the willingness of universities, across the country, to support staff and students in providing safe and secure campuses and I look forward to seeing the impact of these projects in due course.”

HEFCE Chief Executive, Professor Madeleine Atkins, said: “All students should feel safe and supported during their time in higher education. Universities and colleges are working hard to tackle issues of sexual harassment and violence on campus, but there is more to be done. Their determination and commitment is evident in the overwhelmingly positive response to HEFCE’s Catalyst Fund call.

“We are delighted to be supporting a range of innovative projects, and we will be looking to share good practice and evidence of successful outcomes over the coming months.”