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Supporting our students on matters of sexual abuse, sexual violence and sexual health

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David Clarke (Student Support Coordinator) and Rachael Jones (Students’ Union Development Manager) talk about upcoming support events running throughout February at UCS.

We often talk about what a wonderful community it is at UCS. We are all lucky to work and study in such an incredibly welcoming, supportive and safe environment.

We also know that we should not take any of that for granted. Students and staff work together every day to ensure that we protect our sense of community and retain everything that makes UCS such a special place.

Before Christmas, we backed the White Ribbon campaign which challenged toxic masculinity and unhealthy attitudes towards women. Over the next two weeks we will be running several events, raising awareness of issues relating to sexual violence, promoting healthy relationships and providing information on sexual health issues.

For victims of sexual abuse and sexual violence (both recent and historic), often knowing where to start and where to look for support can be difficult. It is important that we highlight what support is available, but also remain mindful of our own actions, attitudes and behaviours at all times. In the past we have talked about the challenges of ‘lad culture’, but when addressing sexual violence the issues affect everyone.
Likewise, with sexual health issues, it is extremely important that we outwardly promote the benefits of understanding the risks of unsafe sex, actively encourage our students stay conscious of their sexual health, and seek advice from services available to them in the wider Shrewsbury community.

Activities at UCS
This week is the national Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week. As a society, we don’t talk about issues of sexual abuse, sexual assault or violence enough, and people are encouraged to get behind the campaign by saying #ITSNOTOK.
Thursday 7th February 11am-2pm Stop Café
Our friends from Axis Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVA) will be holding a drop-in session in Stop Café. They will be speaking to students and staff about some of these issues, their service, and the counselling and support that they can provide. If anybody would like to speak confidentially to one of the advisors, there will be opportunity to do so. You can drop in on the day, or email ucs.support@chester.ac.uk in advance.

Week commencing 11th February
Next week, also marks the start of SAFE Week (Sexual Health For Everyone) an awareness campaign run by both Shrewsbury and Chester Students’ Union. The aim of the promotion is to encourage students to feel comfortable seeking help or advice should they need it, raise awareness of sexual health risks, and provide information about health issues which may be impacting the student community in Shrewsbury, both now and in the future.

On Monday 11th February there will be a drop-in STI clinic available in the Students’ Union, between 10am and 12pm, which will be run by the Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, and a Sexual Health Quiz, organised by two of our students at Severn Social between 4pm and 7pm. There will also be pic n’ mix packs available throughout the week to equip our students with sexual health essentials.
Who can I speak to?

If you would like to speak to anyone about the issues discussed above, please feel free to contact us. The email addresses below provide support in a number of different ways and are available to all:
Student Support and Wellbeing: ucs.support@chester.ac.uk
Students’ Union: csuadvice@chester.ac.uk
Axis Independent Sexual Violence Advisors: isva@axiscounselling.org.uk
Survivors UK: help@survivorsuk.org
The Survivors Trust: info@thesurvivorstrust.org


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