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Student Anti-Bullying and Harassment Policies at UK Universities

Harrison, Emma and Fox, Claire and Hulme, Julie (2020) Student Anti-Bullying and Harassment Policies at UK Universities. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 42 (5). pp. 547-562. ISSN 1360-080X

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Abstract

This article provides the first analysis of all available UK university anti-bullying policies, summarising, comparing, and contrasting the content of policies acquired from university websites. The importance of anti-bullying policies is known from policy research in schools and workplaces but has previously not been investigated in Higher Education. A new coding framework and guidelines were developed to enable our analysis, and universities were given a score. Scores indicated variation between policies, suggesting some students may have inadequate support when consulting their university policy. The findings indicate that all universities should create and implement an anti-bullying policy. Students could be involved in the development of interventions or policies, as co-created initiatives may be more influential. University policy must be up-to-date, inclusive, comprehensive yet concise, and it must be publicised. We propose that our novel coding framework could be of use to policy makers and researchers investigating bullying policy within higher education.

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