Funding secured to tackle online harassment and hate crime

The University of Liverpool received funding to tackle hate crime and online harassment as part of a £1.8m drive by Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

Dr Craig Haslop, in the University’s Department of Communication and Media, is one of 40 academic recipients of funding at universities and colleges throughout England.

Dr Haslop said: “This is an action research project that builds on the work already done around the physical campus in the Bystander Intervention scheme.

“We will be talking to students to find out what they understand by online harassment and asking them to put that experience into words.

“This will allow us to develop training packages and suggest solutions and ideas about how to deal with it.

“The other side of the campaign is about raising awareness of the different kinds of harassment, so we will be talking to a number of different groups and asking questions about what people consider to be harassment.”

The funding was awarded following a report by the Universities UK Harassment Task Force. The report explored the nature and scale of the issue in higher education, and highlighted a need for institutions to respond more effectively.

The first phase of investment was launched in March 2017, with 63 projects sharing £2.45 million from HEFCE’s Catalyst Fund to address sexual harassment.

Grants were awarded in this second round to a diverse range of HEFCE-funded universities and further education colleges.

The Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, Jo Johnson, said: “Hate crime of any kind has no place in our society or on our campuses, and we expect universities to take a zero-tolerance approach to this kind of harassment, whether it takes place online or in person

“I am pleased to see HEFCE supporting the important work of the Universities UK Taskforce, and I am hugely encouraged to see universities working closely with students to develop different approaches to tackling this important issue.”

HEFCE Chief Executive, Professor Madeleine Atkins, said: “All students should feel safe and supported during their time in higher education. Universities and colleges are making progress in tackling the issues of hate crime and online harassment on campus, but there is more to be done.

“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.”

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