UniSAFE: results of the European survey

In Institution

In February 2022, the University of Liège, as a lucid and responsible institution, chose to participate with 45 European institutions in the UniSAFE survey in order to collect data on the prevalence of gender-based violence in the academic and research world. More than 42,000 students and staff responded to the survey, making it the largest research survey conducted in the European research community.

The survey consists of several parts, each corresponding to a type of violence, namely: physical, psychological, economic, sexual, sexual harassment and cyber harassment. Of the 42,000 participants in the survey, 62% believe that they have experienced at least one of the above-mentioned forms of violence since they started working or studying at their institution.

The most frequently reported form of violence is psychological (57%). In addition, almost one in three students and staff members reported having experienced at least one episode of sexual harassment at their institution (31%). The figures for other forms of violence are 6% for physical violence and 3% for sexual violence. Finally, one in ten participants stated that they had experienced economic violence.

Among the participants who declared having experienced at least one episode of gender-based violence, only 13% reported it to the authorities. 47% of the victims said they did not know whether the behaviour identified as violent was serious enough to be reported, while 31% said they did not know at the time of the incident whether the behaviour constituted an act of violence or not.

What about ULiège?

A total of 2152 voluntary responses were recorded, including 648 staff members and 1504 students, i.e. 6.39% of the total population of the institution. Of the respondents, 76% felt that they had been a victim of at least one form of violence since they started working or studying at ULiège.

Similar to the overall results, psychological violence was the most frequently reported (67%), followed by sexual harassment (42%). Next came economic violence (10.5%), online violence (9%), physical violence (8.5%), and sexual violence (6%). It should be noted that among the respondents who said they had experienced at least one form of violence, 83% said they had not reported the incident to the authorities (the two main reasons cited being the same as those given in the general results).

Three out of four participants felt that sexual and gender-based violence was not (or only to a small extent) a problem at ULiège. 66% stated that they were not aware of policies within the institution. Of the participants who said they were aware of the policies, 71% found them clear and explicit and almost half found them effective.

As a reminder, these figures are based on the voluntary participation of 6.39% of the total population of ULiège. They should therefore be seen in proportion to this participation rate.

The #RESPECT campaign

From this survey, it appears important to continue and reinforce our efforts to fight against all forms of violence within our institution.  On the proposal of Florence Caeymaex, Advisor to the Rector Anne-Sophie Nyssen, the Board of Directors on 12 October 2022 created a Gender and Equality Council in charge of proposing an institutional strategy, launching and implementing projects in this area of gender and equality policies

The issue of harassment is one of the priorities of the Gender and Equality Council. The aim is to establish criteria for identifying violence, to propose or impose training, to improve the institution's responses and support for victims. It will also be a matter of communicating much better on the existing aids and recourses.

Aids and remedies

Together: let's commit ourselves against harassment!

The UniSAFE European survey

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Ninon Puttaert

ODD 4 : Éducation de qualité
Veiller à ce que tous puissent suivre une éducation de qualité dans des conditions d’équité et promouvoir les possibilités d’apprentissage tout au long de la vie Le quatrième objectif vise à garantir l’accès à tous et toutes à une éducation équitable, gratuite et de qualité à travers toutes les étapes de la vie, en éliminant notamment les disparités entre les sexes et les revenus. Il met également l’accent sur l’acquisition de compétences fondamentales et de niveau supérieur pour vivre dans une société durable.
ODD 5 : Égalité entre les sexes
Réaliser l’égalité des sexes et autonomiser toutes les femmes et les filles Le cinquième objectif est spécifiquement dédié à l’autonomisation des filles et des femmes. Il concerne l’égalité entre les sexes et vise à mettre fin à toutes les formes de discriminations et de violences contre les femmes et les filles dans le monde entier. Les cibles définies concernent : la lutte contre les discriminations et contre les violences faites aux femmes, l’accès des femmes à des fonctions de direction et de décision et l’accès universel aux droits sexuels et reproductifs.

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