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Student Commission on Sexual Violence

Student Commission on Sexual Violence

Established in 2021, the Student Commission on Sexual Violence is a partnership of 3 London colleges and Leaders Unlocked. This student-led project gives young people a platform to speak out. Following national revelations that sexual violence is commonplace in education settings, through exploring sexual violence in schools, colleges and the wider community, the Student Commission is giving young people a voice and empowering them to take action.

After consultation with FE colleges, Leaders Unlocked launched the Student Commission on Sexual Violence in partnership with BSix Sixth Form College, Leyton Sixth Form College and New City College.

Working with the participating colleges, we recruit 17 passionate students to lead the Commission. Throughout the project, the Commissioners are supported by Leaders Unlocked to build skills in research, public speaking and engaging other young people. They also produce a short animation or film and workshop that reaches hundreds of students. The Commission work with their own colleges and national stakeholders to develop recommendations for action to tackle sexual violence.

The Commission has shown me how important education is and how preventative measures should be taken rather than always focusing on damage control.

Caitlin, BSix College Student

How it works

Recruitment: We support the colleges with a 2-stage recruitment process to find 20 Student Commissioners aged 16-24. The Commissioners are guided by Leaders Unlocked and a group of peer facilitators recruited through our existing networks.

Student Commission meetings: Over the course of the project the Student Commission meet as a whole group and in smaller sub-group meetings. These events bring Commissioners together to share their views and experiences, work with experts and develop national recommendations for change.

Peer research: Supported by Leaders Unlocked the Commissioners undertake peer research with other young people using online and face to face methods. In 2021, Commissioners gathered the views and experiences of over 680 young people. Commissioners have analysed and interpreted these findings and then developed national recommendations for change.

Short animations and film: Working with industry experts, Commissioners developed the concept for a short animation which aims to generate conversations about sexual violence.

Staff training and student workshop: Commissioners have developed a workshop which has been delivered to students in the partnering colleges. We have taken a ‘train the trainer’ approach, working with Student Commissioners to lead staff training on how to deliver the student workshop.

National recommendations: Leaders Unlocked works with Student Commissioners to produce national recommendations for addressing sexual violence. Building on the insights that Commissioners have gathered throughout the project, these viable recommendations are shared with decision makers who can implement them.

Showcase event: The project concludes with a summer showcase event where Commissioners present their findings and recommendations to key stakeholders from education, public health, policy bodies, parliament, the press, and other key organisations.

Why

In March 2021, thousands of anonymous testimonials of abuse were published on the platform ‘Everyone’s Invited’, which aimed to expose the prevalence of ‘rape culture’ across all areas of our society. In response, Ofsted launched a rapid review of sexual harassment in schools in June 2021, and the findings showed that the scale of sexual harassment in schools was ‘underestimated’ by teachers. It was clear that there was a motivation amongst FE colleges and their students to take action against sexual violence. Our Student Commission on Sexual Violence provides a platform for that motivation and for students to work collectively to tackle sexual violence.

Get involved

If you’re interested in getting involved with the work we do at Leaders Unlocked, please do send us a message via our contact us page. We are always keen to hear from young people who may want to take part in our projects, as well as professionals who may want to collaborate.

More than 65% of our
staff came from Leaders Unlocked projects

"The reason I got involved is because I have lived experience of a range of mental health issues. I got the opportunity to get involved, and it was a big deal to get out of the house, but I did it - three years later I have a career in mental health.”

Zara