Higher Education Funding Council England (HEFCE)
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Universities and colleges receive £1.8 million to tackle hate crime and online harassment

Over 40 universities and colleges in England have been awarded funding totalling £1.8 million from HEFCE to improve responses to hate crime and online harassment on campus.

The funding will support a range of projects focused on strategic and sustainable interventions to:

  • encourage greater student engagement and collaboration
  • embed more effective reporting systems for hate crime and harassment
  • train students how to combat hate and harassment
  • support international students
  • develop whole-institution and area-wide collaboration. 

The projects have been developed with students, who will have pivotal roles in their delivery. They cover a wide range of activity, including training and awareness-raising, digital innovation, and new approaches to prevention and reporting. 

The funding, from the second phase of HEFCE’s Catalyst Fund (Note 1), 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 (Note 2). 

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 (Note 3). 

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.’


  1. HEFCE’s Catalyst Fund provides targeted investment in activity led by universities and colleges. The fund supports a range of student and sector priorities, including innovation in higher education, efficiency and effectiveness, and student interest issues. The invitation to submit proposals for projects addressing student safeguarding on campus was issued on 21 June 2017 and closed on 31 July 2017. HEFCE has awarded £1,812,142 to over 40 institutions.

The proposals were assessed by the Catalyst Safeguarding Panel, which is chaired by HEFCE’s Director of Universities and Colleges, Yvonne Hawkins. Panel members include Ben Bailey (Chair of AMOSSHE and Director of Student Services, University of Birmingham), Nerys Thomas (Head of Research, College of Policing), Hareem Ghani, (Women’s Officer, National Union of Students ) and Emma Short (Director, The National Centre for Cyberstalking Research, University of Bedfordshire).

  1. Read the Universities UK report, 'Changing the Culture'. The Department for Education’s grant letter to HEFCE for 2017-18 asked the Council to support the sector to implement the report’s recommendations.
  2. See which universities and colleges received funding for safeguarding projects in round 1.
  3. Read a recently published report by Deloitte, on the economic impact of HEFCE’s Catalyst Fund, which found significant benefits for students, the economy and society.


Channel website: http://www.hefce.ac.uk

Original article link: http://www.hefce.ac.uk/news/newsarchive/2017/Name,115884,en.html

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