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13% have experienced bullying or harassment

The results of this survey on harassment and bullying in the higher education sector from the spring are clear. The survey shows that 13% of employees have felt bullied and harassed. Cases of sexual abuse have also been reported.

Rektor Svein Stølen sittende i en trapp.

Rector Svein Stølen believes that the findings in the report are serious. Photo: Khrono / Ketil Blom Haugstulen.

– This is serious. It is most serious for those affected. But also for the shared working environment, says rector Svein Stølen of the University of Oslo.

– Any case of harassment is one too many. That six employees at UiO say that they have ‘experienced that someone has had sexual intercourse with them through means of violence, or that they felt coerced, threatened or pressured into having sexual intercourse’ is totally unacceptable, says Stølen.

Over 300 managers have been through courses over the past 18 months that deal with harassment, risk factors and managers’ responsibility for prevention and a safe working environment.

– This work continues. Our managers take this very seriously and we must ensure that it is safe to speak up about bullying and harassment, says Stølen. 

26 participating institutions

This is the first time a national survey on harassment and bullying has been conducted in the higher education sector. The survey is conducted as a collaboration between the University of Agder, the Oslo National Academy of the Arts and the University of Oslo.

Employees at 26 educational institutions throughout the country have participated.

At UiO, 2880 employees responded to the survey, thus giving a response rate of 37%. The findings of the survey were presented on Thursday, 22 August 2019 at the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research.

National figures

  • 1.6% report of sexual harassment. It amounts to 299 respondents in total:
    • It more often applies to younger people, than older people.
    • Research fellows state this most often.
    • 18 respondents report of sexual abuse. 
  • On a nationwide basis, 13% of respondents report that they feel bullied/harassed at work. This applies to more elder people than younger people.

Figures at UiO

  • 1.6% of the respondents state that they have experienced sexual harassment. 
    • The proportion is higher (3%) among individuals between 18-29 years, and 30-39 years.
    • Research fellows have a higher proportion, a total of 4%.
    • Six respondents report of sexual abuse. 
  • 13% of all UiO respondents in the survey report of having been bullied/harassed within the last 12 months. 
    • The proportion is higher (18%) in the age group (50-59). This is more often than average.
    • The survey shows that 9 out of 10 who have experienced bullying or harassment in the past year indicate that there are “Other causes” than the points that the law sets as a standard for what is considered harassment/bullying (e.g. gender, age, ethnicity, or sexual orientation) . The survey does not address what “Other causes” consists of. 

Do you need to talk to someone?

A national emergency telephone has been set up in connection with the survey.

Please call +47 908 42 775.

The phone is open a round-the-clock from 22/08 at 1:00 pm until Sunday 01/09.

– The survey shows that sexual harassment occurs at UiO, just as in the rest of society. We take it seriously. We have had established procedures for following up on sexual harassment inquiries for a long time, says Stølen.

Speak up - system

UiO has a Speak up system for notification of issues concerning unwanted behaviour. This has existed for several years. Yet, there are still many employees and students who do not know about it. 

– Through annual campaigns, we are working to ensure that it is both safe and desirable to speak up for both students and employees.

Report unwanted situations

Employees who experience unwanted situation are encouraged to speak up via notification channels for employees. It is also possible to contact the occupational health services at UiO.

Rape must be reported to the police.

Preventive measure 

From the beginning of the rector’s term, the Rectorate has taken a clear stand on harassment and bullying. Already in the autumn of 2017, before #Metoo, a resource group was set up to work on preventative measures. The work in the group resulted in among other things:

  • Guidelines against harassment, which was adopted by the University Board in March 2019.
  • Template for introductory interview for newly hired employees that informs about UiO’s zero tolerance for harassment, and where to go if something should happen anyway.
  • Input to an upcoming drug policy and input to conduct on social media
  • A proposal for new and improved text for the website on ethical guidelines at UiO
  • The online information on harassment has been reviewed and developed further. This work continues. A proposal has been made for elements that should be included in a toolbox with measures, an online resource.

The resource group worked with the backing of UiOs Handlingsplan for likestilling, kjønnsbalanse og mangfold 2018 - 2020 (in Norwegian). One of the main goals here is an increased effort to prevent harassment with a main focus on sexual harassment. 

Training of management is important

In parallel with the resource group, the Department of Personnel Support has created a training course for managers who deal with harassment and managers’ responsibility for preventing and securing the working environment. So far, almost 300 managers from several levels within the organisation have completed this training course. In addition, safety representatives and chief union representatives have also attended the training course. 

All managers at UiO should have a good grasp of how to handle these types of cases if they appear on “their table”. 

– We will continue the work of providing training to managers to ensure that it is safe to speak up about bullying and harassment, says Stølen. 

Everyone should feel safe at UiO

Stølen believes that the survey asks timely questions: 

– We are challenged by questions regarding power and the abuse of power. Are we in academia conscious of building a culture that reveals and puts an end to abuse of power and abusive behaviour?

He is clear that preventive work and anti-harassment measures will remain high on the schedule: 

– Our stance on this matter is very clear: 

We want everyone to feel safe and respected at UiO. Regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, position or power. 

Survey reports for UiO

National report

Published Sep. 2, 2019 10:48 AM - Last modified Sep. 2, 2019 10:49 AM