The University should have a counsellor trained in how to deal with young people who are suffering/suffered from intimate partner violence

Passed: March 2021 (16th)

What do you want? / Why do you want it?

[Intimate partner violence/ abuse means domestic abuse that occurs within a romantic relationship]

The University needs to have a counsellor properly trained in how to deal with young abuse victims and survivors. From my research, I know 16-19 year olds are the most likely age group to suffer from intimate partner violence, with 14% of 16-19 year olds suffering from intimate partner abuse. However, 20-23 year olds are the second most likely, with 5.3% of them suffering in silence. Both of these age groups make up 87% of University of Leeds student cohort, so it would be irresponsible for the University not to implement these changes, as the majority of students at the University make up the most ‘at risk’ categories of suffering from abuse.

But I am not the only one who has recognised the problem. I asked University of Leeds students a couple of questions to further illustrate the problem. We asked:

‘Do you think domestic abuse happens at University?’- 85.4% said ‘Yes’.

‘Did the person/ yourself go through an abusive relationship/ suffered from the effects of abuse whilst at University?’- 60.7% said ‘Yes’.

‘Do you know what support (if any) is available at the University for those suffering from domestic abuse/ the effects of domestic abuse?’- 82% said ‘No’. Those who answered ‘Yes’ made comments like ‘a complaint procedure that can be more traumatic than helpful’.

Finally, we asked ‘Do you think the University could do more to support students who suffer/ have suffered from domestic violence?’ 96.6% said ‘No’.

Clearly, this is a problem that is silenced. By not having a counsellor properly trained, by not having emails/ social media posts/ posters signposting people to where they can get help, how is this problem ever going to be resolved?

The solution to the problem is easy. Properly train staff with SafeLives specialist training on how to deal with young people in an abusive relationship, and those who have previously suffered. Then the University must include domestic abuse service links as part of their ‘welfare emails’ that they have been sending since the start of the pandemic, as well as posting it on the University’s social media and Minerva. On top of that, posters should be up around the University, especially in more discreet places, like behind toilet stools, so people can access the information privately.

This is a necessary change and would only be a small amount of the budget, considering two women every fortnight die from intimate partner violence. Young people are absolutely not excluded from that statistic.

Expires: March 2024 (16th)

Submitted By: Molly Lawrenson

Officer: Welfare

Area of Work: Student Safety

Updates

May 2021: The University have funded a new job vacancy which would take up the role of liaising between LUU's and the University's Help and Support teams. The qualifications of a councilor trained in how to deal with students who have suffered from intimate partner violence have been incorporated into the specification of the job description for this vacancy. Moreover, LUU has now acquired a seat on the city-wide Domestic Violence Accountability Forum which is chaired by Women's Aid. This will give LUU some scope in influencing strategy around tackling domestic violence within the student community on a larger scale.

March 2021: New Policy