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Boundaries, Respect and Positive Intervention

Imperial is committed to being a respectful and safe environment for everyone. We know that experiences of sexual harassment can have a serious impact on people and make it more difficult to achieve their potential. Everyone at Imperial is responsible for their part in creating this respectful environment. Consent and active bystander education have a proven positive impact on preventing sexual harassment and giving people the skills and confidence to positively intervene and support each other.

All Imperial students are invited to complete a short online course called Consent Matters. The course will help you to understand Imperial’s expectations, recognise acceptable boundaries and learn how to support your friends and colleagues. The course will show you what consent looks and sounds like, how you can clearly communicate what you want, when consent can be given and when it can’t, how and when you might step in when consent is not present. Talking about sex can be difficult, and through the completion of the programme we hope students will learn how to recognise and ask for sexual consent, look out for others at the University, and find support if it’s needed.

The course is all online, and self-paced. It’s divided into three modules each taking around 20 minutes to complete

  • Module 1: Thinking about consent. Defining and understanding consent, so you know when you have it as well as when it can and can’t be given, whatever your gender or sexuality.
  • Module 2: Communication skills and relationships. Recognising and asserting your own boundaries, and how to talk about boundaries with others.
  • Module 3: Looking out for others. How to take simple, safe and effective steps to challenge harassment when you see it.

More Information

three people negotiating consent saying go stop pause

What is Consent Matters?

It is an award-winning online programme developed by experts used by Universities to support the development of a positive consent culture on campus. It enables Imperial to set clear expectations and provide information on clear communication, boundaries, mutually respectful relationships and the ways in which we can support others.

people saying yes

Why Consent Matters?

University students are up to three times more likely to experience sexual harassment and in a 2021 survey run by ICU over 30% of Imperial students said that they had experienced sexual harassment. Consent and active bystander education have a proven positive impact on preventing sexual harassment and giving people the skills and confidence to positively intervene and support each other.

Accessing the Consent Matters programme

  1. Follow the link to the Consent Matters registrationhttps://courses.epigeum.com/register
  2. Register an account. To access the course for free, you must register an account with Epigeum's website. Please ensure you follow the instructions below otherwise you will not be able to access the course:
    1. Use your Imperial student email address that ends in @imperial.ac.uk
    2. In the field 'Token (optional)' enter the following token: 307f34c7. This is not optional!
  3. Activate your account You’ll be sent an account activation email to the email you registered with. You’ll need to activate your account with the link in the email to complete the registration. If the activation email doesn’t show up check your SPAM/junk mail. You can also resend the activation email through this link.
  4. Log In When you’ve activated your account log in using your chosen username and password combination. You will be shown the Epigeum Consent Matters course in the My Courses screen.
  5. Start the Course Click on the course and choose one of the three modules by clicking on it. The course will work best if you do the modules in the right order, 1 - 3. There are some questions at the end of each module to check what you have learnt.
  6. Finish the Course Once a module has been successfully completed, you will be able to download your unique certificate of completion. A course completion certificate is also available once all three module have been completed.
  7. Evaluate the Course There are a few quick questions when you’ve finished the course to find out what you think of the course. This information helps Imperial to know whether the course is successful and useful, and it gives Epigeum information to develop the course for the future
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Survivors Matter - further support

How to opt out

We run Consent Matters because we want the Imperial community to understand the importance of sexual consent. Consent Matters is designed to be helpful and informative however we understand that there are Imperial students who have experienced sexual violence and may not be ready to engage with Consent Matters in a healthy way right now.

To opt-out of the course you should contact us from your Imperial email address at consent-matters@imperial.ac.uk with 'OPT OUT' in the subject line. Don't include any other information in this email, we don't need proof. You'll get sent information about support that is available should you want to access it during your time at Imperial. Opting out will stop any further communications or reminders about completing the course. This email address is confidentially managed by Student Services sexual violence prevention team. Opting out is a confidential process and no-one outside of the team will be informed that you opted out.  

Survivor Support Group

We are running an event in collaboration with Not The Only One to offer a supportive space for students who have experienced sexual violence and may find taking the online Consent Matters course too difficult. The group will run in term 2 around the end of January/beginning of February.

The survivor support group is open only to students who have experienced some form of sexual violence / abuse. This could have been non-physical, a one-time experience, a long time ago - or something that has happened in different ways at different times. All genders and sexualities are welcome.

The group provides a space to talk with other survivors about managing the challenges of the university environment. The group is a survivor-only space run in a small group and facilitated by two members of Not The Only One. It is confidential, and you can participate as much or as little as you want. The facilitators will not ask you to discuss your experience(s) of sexual violence directly.

What is Not the Only One? Not The Only One is a unique initiative for students who have experienced sexual violence at any point in their life, including child sexual abuse. Our work is unambiguously survivor-led and co-developed with students at a range of universities. We run events, support spaces and training, all focusing on how to improve the experience of survivors in higher education.

We created Not The Only One because, both from our own experience as well as in our work with survivors, we have become aware of how important and helpful it is to have spaces where we can ‘be’ as survivors.

What do you mean by survivor? We use 'survivor' as a common short hand for a wide range of experience, but we recognise that not everyone who has experienced sexual abuse might use 'survivor' as a self description. At our survivor events we welcome students who have experienced any form of sexual abuse at any time in their life. This could have been non-physical, a one-time experience, or a long time ago, including in childhood. It could also be something that has happened in different ways at different times and it could include things that at the time we didn't realise were sexual abuse. If you are not sure whether your experience qualifies as sexual abuse, you are welcome to join anyway to learn more.

Do I have to talk about what happened to me? The short answer: No. We will never ask you to share anything about what happened. Most of our workshops focus on dealing with issues we have as survivors in the here and now. That being said, of course past experiences can come up and attending survivor spaces can sometimes bring up memories. We will usually have a grounding activity in the end which can help dealing with anything that might have been triggering.

What participants have said about the workshop 

"It was great to have survivors as facilitators, as they could relate very much. I felt safe and understood"
"Being in a group situation helped me to realise that this can happen to anyone. I was also able to learn new coping strategies from others"

If you would like to attend the workshop contact us via consent-matters@imperial.ac.uk