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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Violence and abuse, Universities and LGB and/or T+ Students

Donovan, Catherine and Roberts, Nicola (2021) Violence and abuse, Universities and LGB and/or T+ Students. In: UCU LGBT+ Research Conference, 2-4 November 2021, Online. (Unpublished)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


There has been increasing attention paid to the situation in the higher education sector where reported rates of sexual violence and harassment are causing concern. Whilst most of those negatively impacted by sexual violence and harassment are women the presentation of the ‘problem’ as unproblematically men’s violence against women renders invisible sexuality and gender identities both in relation to those who are victimised and those who enact sexual violence and harassment. In other words, by adopting the categories ‘women’ and ‘men’ without being more specific about their multiple, intersecting identities, particularly for this presentation, of sexuality, the experiences of lesbians, gay men, bisexual and/or trans women and men and non-binary folk are at worst left out of the narrative of concern and, at best, added on as an afterthought.
In this presentation the experiences of LGB and/or T+ students is at the centre of discussion. The paper draws from Project Emerald, a survey of violence and abuse reported by students at North Facing University during 2016. Over a 1,000 participants from across the university’s two city campuses took part in an online survey asking about their perceptions of safety across the university estate and the city and their experiences of four types of violence and abuse: verbal abuse and bullying, physical violence, sexual violence and stalking. Participants were also asked to provide details about the worst example of each type of violence including where and when this took place, who the perpetrator(s) was, what help-seeking they engaged with. Results show that, whilst 10% of participating students identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual, only three identified as transgender. These three were removed from the analysis and the findings focus on the LGB students. This raises the problem of how trans students’ voices can be heard in discussions about violence and abuse when quantitative methods are used. We consider this in the presentation.
The findings related to LGB students show that they are 2.5 times more likely to report experiencing any one of the four types of violence than their heterosexual counterparts. The presentation will explore this data and consider the implications. One of the issues we discuss is challenges posed by the different ways in which violence and abuse are categorised, for example, is a bisexual student, being locked out on the balcony of her student residence until she explains what lesbian sex is, experiencing sexual harassment or a hate incident? Following from this we consider what data there is on help-seeking to build a case for a more inclusive approach to understanding and addressing students’ experiences of violence and abuse at university.

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More Information

Depositing User: Nicola Roberts


Item ID: 14131

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Nicola Roberts: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2021 17:02
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2022 12:58


Author: Nicola Roberts ORCID iD
Author: Catherine Donovan

University Divisions

Faculty of Education and Society > School of Social Sciences


Social Sciences > Criminology

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