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

Changing the culture of sexual violence at UK universities: a website analysis of definitions, report/support and prevent mechanisms

Roberts, Nicola, Doyle, Lauren and Roberts, Mark (2023) Changing the culture of sexual violence at UK universities: a website analysis of definitions, report/support and prevent mechanisms. Higher Education Policy. ISSN 0952-8733

Item Type: Article


The incidence and nature of sexual violence at UK universities has been aligned with a ‘rape culture’, where sexual violence is taken-for-granted. Calls to change such a culture permeate literature from government, charities, regulatory bodies, and academia. This paper pulls out of the literature the strategies called to change rape culture. Focusing on three overarching strategies: naming sexual violence, reporting sexual violence, and preventing sexual violence. We carried out a website analysis of all UK universities that focused on gathering data along these three themes to ascertain the extent to which their websites supported changing the culture of sexual violence at their university. Many universities’ websites had an online reporting tool and defined sexual violence, but many universities’ websites did not have information about bystander initiatives (the prevention strategy we focused on). The research raises implications for universities to enhance their website pages for in-person bystander initiatives and to standardize definitions of sexual violence used in online reporting tools. Consequently, more research is needed into what definitions of sexual violence are used, the type of language used and the efficacy of online reporting tools.

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Uncontrolled Keywords: Changing rape culture, UK universities, website analysis, defining sexual violence, online reporting tools, bystander initiatives
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Depositing User: Nicola Roberts


Item ID: 16165
Identification Number:
ISSN: 0952-8733
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Nicola Roberts: ORCID iD
ORCID for Lauren Doyle: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 31 May 2023 14:37
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2023 08:00


Author: Nicola Roberts ORCID iD
Author: Lauren Doyle ORCID iD
Author: Mark Roberts

University Divisions

Faculty of Education and Society > School of Social Sciences


Social Sciences > Criminology

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