Bishop of Winchester raises concern about response of universities to student complaints of assault and harassment

On 5th March 2020 Baroness Gale asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of the Crown Prosecution Service in prosecuting cases of rape.” The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, a recent study highlighted that only 25% of university students who had experienced rape went on to report it to their university or to the police. It is therefore of concern that, since 2016, 300 non-disclosure agreements have been issued by universities in response to student complaints, including assault and harassment reports. The Office for Students and Universities UK are working to improve the handling of harassment and misconduct by universities, but can the Minister advise the House when the Government plan to legislate against the misuse of NDAs by higher education institutions to ensure that students are not discouraged from reporting these assaults?

Lord Keen of Elie: My Lords, there has been widespread concern about the utilisation of non-disclosure agreements, not only in the context of university administration but across the board. It is a matter of concern, but I cannot at this time indicate a time for the introduction of legislation on the matter.


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