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Athena SWAN: Tell us whether harassment and bullying reporting works for you

Athena SWAN

The University is currently preparing its Athena Swan submission on gender equality and we have created a team (the Self-Assessment Team) to research and write the report and its associated action plan. Sub-groups are focusing on specific reporting areas; one of these is looking at ‘Harassment and Bullying’ policies and data. This sub-group is led by Dr Maddi Davies (Department of English Literature) and Claire Rolstone (HR) and we are writing to ask for your help.

We are asking colleagues to talk to us if they have experienced harassment and/or bullying in the past but decided not to pursue a complaint. We already have anonymous summary data regarding complaints that became formal. But we are equally interested in the experiences of colleagues who did not see through a complaint and in the reasons why they decided not to do so.

There are three questions we would like to ask:

Q1: Why did you decide not to put in a complaint for harassment and/or bullying?

Q2: What would have made you feel comfortable enough to make the complaint?

Q3: What do you feel the institution could do to support people in your position going forwards?

We are not seeking information about incidents themselves at this point, but to understand reasons why colleagues may not have come forward to report them so as to reflect on the support and reporting processes that we have in place.

We will treat all responses with full confidentiality and your feedback will be reported on anonymously. We are asking colleagues who have not followed up on a complaint of harassment and/or bullying to contact Maddi Davies (email address below) to either have an email conversation or, if you would rather not use email, to fix up a brief meeting when the questions can be asked and we can talk in person.

Your responses will be given a reference number to protect your anonymity and they will then be gathered into a report; subsequently, this could help to inform new University processes which aim to help support colleagues who are suffering workplace harassment and/or bullying. The only person who will be able to identify your reference number is Maddi Davies who will not disclose this information to the University.

We hope that you will feel comfortable with these arrangements that we have put in place to protect colleagues’ confidentiality and anonymity and that you will be able to help us report on the issues not captured in the data but fundamental to our experience at the University. We are keen to hear from academic staff and professional staff at all levels and we hope that you can help us build a meaningful report.

Please email Maddi Davies ( before Friday 31st May if you can help.

With many thanks,

Maddi Davies and Claire Rolstone

For more information about the membership and work of the Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team including other ways you can support this work, please see this #diversereading blog.

For more information about the University’s current reporting and support arrangements, which were relaunched in November last year, see our harassment reporting and support webpages

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