Latest News

UniSAFE Final Conference

Jun 22, 2023 | Events, Project news

From policy to practice:
Pathways to end gender-based violence
in academia and research


21-22 November 2023, University of Namur, Belgium


The UniSAFE project is delighted to announce its final event: From policy to practice: Pathways to end gender-based violence in academia and research.

Specifically addressing policymakers, decision-makers in university and research organisations, as well as gender equality officers, representatives from university networks and research funding organisations, the conference is open to all!

Gender-based violence is widespread. It takes on multiple forms, has long-lasting and devastating consequences and occurs in every sphere and domain of life, in every organisation, and in offline and online settings. Not only do higher education institutions and research organisations see no exception to this, but they are particularly prone to high levels of gender-based violence.

As universities and research organisations are slowly finding the courage to tackle this issue, they often lack guidance on where to start or how to ensure that their policies and measures are comprehensive enough to be efficient. Other decision-makers are still not aware enough of the change to be initiated at the level of institutions and of public authorities.

For the past three years, UniSAFE has been investigating the prevalence of gender-based violence in academia and research, as well as institutions’ responses. Its widescale survey – taken by 42,000 staff and students from 45 organisations in 15 countries –  has provided solid and comparable data, which has been analysed and compared with results from interviews, policy mapping and case studies of institutional responses. This knowledge has been translated into concrete tools and recommendations.

Looking from a holistic perspective – using the 7P framework (prevalence, prevention, protection, prosecution, provision of services, partnerships, policies), this conference goes beyond results from the research and presents its applications for institutions, with practical recommendations tailored to various contexts: universities and research organisations, public authorities at EU and national levels. It will showcase the impact and sustainable benefits from using the UniSAFE toolkit created in the project for universities and research organisations to ensure safe, violence-free higher education and research environments.

The event will take place in person at the University of Namur in Belgium, 21-22 November 2023.

Programme overview


Day 1 Setting the scene through policies


Moderation by Colette Schrodi and Panagiota Polykarpou  

12:30 Registration, with light snacks and coffee

Opening of UniSAFE’s final conference 

Annick Castiaux, rector of the University of Namur 

Ildi Ipolyi, UniSAFE coordinator 

The European Commission 


Keynote speech 

Françoise Tulkens, former judge at the European Court on Human Rights  


Presentation of UniSAFE’s conceptual framework and key impacts 

Sofia Strid, UniSAFE scientific coordinator 


Commitments towards gender equality at international level  

This session will set the context of institutional policymaking at international level and showcase the global relevance of UniSAFE’s findings and outputs 

15:50  Coffee break 

National framework conditions: Opportunities and limitations for institutional responses to gender-based violence. 

In this panel discussion, representatives from national authorities and institutions from three countries will engage in a dialogue on how institutional policies can be enhanced or limited by national frameworks.  

Moderator: Marcela Linkova, Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences 

17:30  Open floor: interactions and engagement with audience
18:00   Walking Dinner



Day 2: On to practice: concrete pathways for institutional change


 Moderation by Colette Schrodi and Panagiota Polykarpou  

09:00  Welcome coffee 

Evidence for driving action within institutions: insights from UniSAFE’s research

This session will highlight some of the key results from the institutional policy mapping, case study analysis of institutional responses to gender-based violence, and the project’s multi-level analysis of its survey data. It will then present some of the recommendations for concrete action based on this research.


  • Marcela Linková, Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences
  • Maria Dolores Bustelo, Universidad Computense de Madrid
  • Anne Laure Humbert, Oxford Brookes University
  • Lut Mergaert, Yellow Window

More evidence driving action: collecting data with a survivor-centred approach

Leveraging UniSAFE’s learnings from collecting quantitative and qualitative data through its large-scale survey and numerous interviews with researchers, as well as experience from a similar survey at national level, this session will look into data collections at national, organisational and individual levels, providing institutions with concrete recommendations on how to collect data related to gender-based violence with a survivor-centred perspective. 

Moderated by Anke Lipinsky, GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences 


  • Claudia Schredl, GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences 
  • Vilana Pilinkaite, Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences
10:30 Coffee break

Where to start? Improving, Implementing and Assessing institutional policies with the UniSAFE toolkit

This session addresses top-level management and change agents of universities and research organisations, whether they are just starting to develop policies to address gender-based violence or have already made significant progress. The spotlight of the session is on the UniSAFE toolkit that will be presented, with its key components including an Action plan to support institutions in implementing and improving their policy, a Guide for designing awareness-raising campaigns, and a Guide for developing a protocol addressing gender-based violence.  

Institutional representatives will openly share their ongoing challenges along with inspiring practices in an exchange that will cultivate a collaborative environment with practical tips and recommendations.  

Moderator: Siobán O’Brien Green, Trinity College Dublin 


  • Panagiota Polykarpou, Yellow Window 
  • Vasia Madesi, Yellow Window 


  • Ana Belen Amil, Central European University 
  • Jasna Podreka, University of Ljubljana 
  • Pascale Vielle, University of Louvain-la-Neuve 
13:00  Lunch 
13:30  Poster presentation of sister projects’ outputs and awareness-raising campaigns in universities

Mutual learning as a means to advance change among umbrella organisations

This panel session explores the role and benefits that umbrella organisations can play in facilitating mutual learning and exchange of practices with members, and how this leads to effective development, implementation, and monitoring of institutional policies. 

Moderator: Matthias Girod, Euroscience 

Panellists TBC


Pathways for change: steps ahead 

UniSAFE has identified a wide range of issues encountered by universities and research organisations when tackling gender-based violence and has suggested a set of recommendations. Institutions’ responsibility after police’s intervention, interpretation of GDPR and confidentiality, consequences of the protection of perpetrators’ rights on victims, methods and tools to measure and monitor progress and effectiveness, perpetrator accountability are also only some of the issues. Drawing on some inspiring initiatives, this session aims to provide participants with a few examples of how specific crises can be dealt with, while highlighting the ongoing debates and the need for further research and policymaking at EU level.  


Marcela Linková, Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences 

Sofia Strid, University of Gothenburg, UniSAFE scientific coordinator 

16:30  End 

Subscribe to our newsletter !

Keep up to date with the latest project news, developments, and results.