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  1. ITV Report

University of Cambridge admits it has a 'significant problem' with sexual misconduct

The University of Cambridge launched an anonymous reporting system in May. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Cambridge University has admitted it has a "significant problem" with sexual misconduct after it received 173 complaints in just nine months.

The university introduced an anonymous reporting system in May last year which has since been adopted by other institutions.

The majority of complaints (119) were made by students alleging sexual misconduct by other students.

In a blog on the university's website, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, Professor Graham Virgo, said that the high humber of reports were expected due to the anonymous nature of the system and added that the university viewed the results as “a metric of success”.

Cambridge is the first university to reveal high numbers of reports. Credit: PA

"We expected high numbers, and view it as a metric of success. It appears victims have confidence in our promise that these figures will be used to judge the nature and scale of sexual misconduct affecting students and staff, and to act on it accordingly," he said.

"The challenge is that one or two complaints a year do not give a university much information with which to formulate a response to the wider problem.

"Through the anonymous reporting tool, we now have a large number of Cambridge voices who have reported the issues they’ve faced.

"It supports our belief that we have a significant problem involving sexual misconduct – what we now need to ensure is that those who have been affected receive the support and guidance they need."

Mr Virgo also confirmed that there had been a spike in reports of sexual misconduct following the launch of the university's 'Breaking the Silence' campaign in October.

"The early signs of the impact of Breaking the Silence are encouraging. Before the campaign, 52% of those reporting recent incidents thought nothing would be done if they made a complaint," he said.

"Clearly, there is work still to do, but the campaign’s message that those who report will be supported and action can be taken is starting to have an impact."