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Articles > Latest research May, 07, 2021

Your Answers: Students want sexual consent tests before starting higher education

The OPC Editorial Team
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Over 1,000 of you on the panel took part in this study for The Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI). If you’re an undergraduate student – you may remember answering some of these questions in a survey!

Results from this survey showed that the majority (58%) thought it should be compulsory to pass an assessment showing that you fully understand sexual consent before starting your degree. Be sure to scroll down for more key findings!

In early April, England’s higher education regulator called on universities and colleges to take urgent action and do more to tackle sexual misconduct and harassment affecting students. We hope these results have come at a turning point and may help universities and colleges when it comes to them making decisions on this subject.

Your opinion is so important in informing how institutions like universities make changes to policy and practise. Without you answering surveys, they wouldn’t be able to get to know Gen Z!

Key findings:

  • A small minority of students think their prior education prepared them for the reality of sex and relationships in higher education (6% of respondents ‘strongly agree’ and a further 21% ‘slightly agree’) 
  • The majority of students think it should be compulsory to pass a sexual consent assessment before entering higher education (26% ‘strongly agree’ and 32% ‘slightly agree’) 
  • Most students (59%) are ‘very confident’ about ‘what constitutes sexual consent’ but only half as many (30%) are ‘very confident’ about how to navigate sexual consent after alcohol has been consumed
  • Most students (58%) regard making friends as more important than finding sexual partners and just one-in-ten students (10%) expected to have sex during freshers’ week while a similar proportion (9%) did so
  • Two-thirds of students say they know how to challenge inappropriate sexual behaviour (with 23% saying they feel ‘very confident’ in doing so and 43% ‘fairly confident’)
  • Around half of students (48%) say it was ‘easy’ to maintain friendships during lockdown and a similar proportion (52%) say their universities provided ‘good messaging about the importance of wellbeing’

This research has been shared in the press! Check it out in these articles: Sky News, The Times, Wales Online, Harrow Times, Yahoo Sport, iNews and Leeds Live.

If you’d like to know more about this research, you can get in touch with us to ask questions! Drop us a message on social media! And as always, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Click here if you’d like to know more about sending your article through to us to be published. Remember, there’s a chance to win £50!

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