Discrimination in the complaints process: introducing the sector guidance to address staff sexual misconduct in UK higher education

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Publication details

JournalPerspectives: Policy and Practice in Higher Education
DatePublished - 7 Oct 2020
Original languageEnglish


This article introduces our Sector Guidance to Address Staff Sexual Misconduct in UK Higher Education. The problem that the guidance seeks to address is that existing student complaints and staff disciplinary procedures relating to student complaints in this area fail to offer similar protections and privileges to the student complainant and the responding staff member and, as a result, students are often excluded from the process purporting to resolve their complaint. We outline the changes that would need to be made to staff disciplinary processes to follow a process more akin to civil justice than criminal justice, thus ensuring that the process accords equal rights to complainants and respondents. The article highlights points of discussion that came up in the consultation process to devise the guidance, including sharing outcomes with complainants, recording data on disclosures as well as formal reports, and proactive investigations in the absence of formal reports.

    Research areas

  • sexual misconduct, gender equality, complaints, staff, embargoover12

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