UCL Medical School


UCLMS: Response to Misogyny and Gender Violence Statement

28 April 2021

As a Medical School, we condemn any behaviours or practices endorsing misogyny and gender-based violence and we want to reassure all students that any concerns raised will be listened to

UCL Portico building

Dear students,

Many thanks for your thoughtful letter setting out the student view on possible next steps in relation to this complex and difficult issue. We recognise as a Medical School, our responsibility in promoting an inclusive and supportive environment.

As part of our ongoing commitment, we have been looking at how we can address the cultures and insidious attitudes that continue to permeate both within and outside of the Medical School in relation to gender-based inequalities and violence

As a Medical School, we condemn any behaviours or practices endorsing misogyny and gender-based violence and we want to reassure all students that any concerns raised will be listened to.  However, we are equally aware that many students remain uncertain on seeking help and that we need to do more to facilitate this process. 

We recognise that developing a collaborative and co-ordinated strategy involving students and staff is critical to this and going forward, we will be working alongside RUMS, the Student Union, Student Support and the Student EDI Committee.  

Our strategy encompasses two main aspects; facilitating ‘open conversations’ on issues such as the rape culture and empowering students to ‘raise and discuss concerns’.

Our responses to specific points are outlined below. We will endeavour to address all of your concerns as far as possible. This will be an ongoing process, and it will take time to get it right. We are committed to working with you to achieve as much as we can in a collaborative way.

Open Conversations

Generating safe places to explore and discuss sensitive issues such as sexual assault, harassment and consent.

You have asked 

  • “for compulsory workshops and seminars on the topic of sexual assault, focusing on what constitutes sexual assault, condemns the committing of such crimes, and reiterates the importance of being an active bystander. UCL based groups, including ‘Not Cool Club’ and ‘Sexpression’ could facilitate these sessions.”

Over the next few months, we will be

  • Reviewing curricular content to incorporate learning events in Year 1 on Active Bystander training and gender violence. As per your suggestions, we are already liaising with the NotCoolClub and Sexpression in developing these sessions.  We are also looking at how we can incorporate such sessions into subsequent years that will continue to reinforce this message.
  • Embedding learning around gender bias and the implications on health inequalities. We are in the process of developing a student-led handbook consisting of case studies exploring the impact of gender bias on health.
  • Using platforms including Schwartz Rounds to explore students’ experiences on gender-based violence and how the Medical School can support students through these issues.

Reporting Concerns

Reassure all students affected by sexual assault that this will be dealt with sensitively and fairly, and that ‘Fitness to Practise’ proceedings would only be issued in extreme circumstances. 

Address the disconnection between what is happening and being reported to the Medical School and therefore can be investigated.

You have asked for 

  • “Clear layout and descriptions of what the reporting process entails for students to Student Support to remove the stigma of reporting.”
  • “a clear strategy for dealing with accused perpetrators of sexual misconduct.”

Over the next few months, we will be

  • Working with the EDI committee and Quality Assurance team to look at how we can improve the process by which students can ‘raise concerns’. This will include developing the website and critically, incorporate learning events highlighting the process by which students can formally raise concerns. 
  • Looking at how we can involve Year Student Representatives to work with the Quality Assurance Team for raising awareness on potential issues affecting students. 
  • Engaging site and speciality leads for concerns raised by students on clinical placements and liaising with the Quality Assurance team on this.
  • Looking at how we can develop our platforms for anonymous reporting, including providing feedback and mediation. This has also been a challenging aspect for us to address and act upon.  

You have asked 

  • “implement compulsory training for all staff on how to conduct conversations following the disclosure of harassment from a member of staff”
  • “All students should be guided on how to respond in an appropriate manner to harassment from members of staff or professionals met on placement”
  • “Inform students on what is appropriate behaviour that should be expected from staff and what is unacceptable.

Over the next few months, we will be

  • Developing online training sessions for UCLMS staff on how to manage students concerns, including signposting to additional resources and support. This will also incorporate learning on acceptable behaviours and practices. Logistically, mandating compulsory sessions for all staff will be challenging and may not be possible, and so engaging module, site and speciality leads to ensure that these sessions are widely available and all UCLMS staff are aware of these processes will be vital.
  • Working with the UCLMS EDI Committee on developing material for learning events that can be incorporated into the wider domain.

You have asked for

  • “Student Support put forward a single member of staff to act as a recognisable ‘face’ for those affected by sexual assault to approach. This self-selected member of staff should go through additional training in understanding and supporting students who have experienced sexual assault.”

Over the next few months, we will be

  • Liaising with Student Support to ensure that there is a streamlined service for students when managing sensitive issues. A team approach is likely to be needed here and we are already working alongside the Central UCL faculty to look at the resources and support we offer, including having access to dedicated dignity advisors and coaching services.


There is a significant amount of work currently being undertaken in conjunction with the main UCL faculty on directing our strategy and your voice is vital in providing us with the scope for pioneering these changes.

While we recognise that as a Medical School, we have a role to play in tackling these issues, shifting mindsets at a wider, societal level takes time. However, fostering positive and healthy collaborations between staff and students at UCLMS is crucial for ensuring real and sustainable change.  

Your suggestions as part of this are vital and we look forward to working together.

Best wishes,

MBBS Senior Leadership team in conjunction with the EDI Advisory Group

Additional Resources

  1. UCL Report + Support - for students to report incidences of harassment, bullying or sexual misconduct and access support. This can be done through the website either anonymously or by contacting an advisor
  2. UCL Medical School Raising Concerns platform for problems encountered in the context of your medical degree
  3. UCL Medical School Student Support