Survey and interviews FAQ

Gender-based violence

How is gender-based violence defined in the project? 

In this project, the concept ‘gender-based violence’ encompasses many and different forms of online/offline violence, violations and abuse, and gender harassment and sexual harassment.

The following is a more detailed definition.

Gender-based violence is a human rights violation, most often recognised as a cause and consequence of gender inequalities, with potential serious consequences for individuals, organisations, and societies. Violence, always gendered, may however perhaps more usefully be understood as a system of violence – including perpetration, victimhood/survivorhood, responses, policies and practices, rather than isolated, individual and aberrant incidents (Strid et al. 2018; Hearn et al. 2020). It is often an instrumental means for a goal, heterotelic, such as men’s control over women and the maintenance of patriarchal institutions and power, and sometimes an end in itself, autotelic, for its own sake (Schinkel 2010). Gender-based violence involves both detailed brutal activities and daily subtle actions that can lead to a life of control and coercion (Stark 2007); it can mean that further violence is unnecessary to maintain control, thus raising a major problem for empiricism and measuring violence; which also is the case with the increasing levels and forms of online violence, noted as cyberviolence among university students (Lewis & Anitha 2019). In UniSAFE, gender-based violence is conceptualised as an expression of power and structural dominance, rather than as an expression of the loss of power and individual marginalisation. This understanding reverses “truths” in conventional mainstream sociology, criminology or psychology where violence is often studied, as a reaction to the loss of power or as violence from the marginalised, socially disadvantaged or psychologically deviant. Furthermore, gender-based violence is deeply intertwined with other forms of inequalities. It is therefore crucial to examine gender-based violence from an intersectional perspective by simultaneously keeping multiple inequalities and the way they intersect in sight, without losing focus on privilege and power of dominant groups (Walby et al. 2012). An intersectional perspective is crucial to the system of gender-based violence, and to examine how certain determinants affect experiences of gender-based violence. Determinants can be demographic factors, such as age, but can also encompass other socio-demographic factors such as human and social capital, academic status and migration status.

RPO Survey

What makes the UniSAFE survey unique?
  • Its scale: the survey is conducted across 46 research performing institutions throughout Europe and expected to be among the largest of its kind.
  • Its content: our questionnaire is based on a mapping of existing studies, adapting previously tested questions from different sources and supplementing them by looking at other forms of violence taken from more general population surveys on violence.
  • Its respondents: the survey is not limited to a subgroup of staff or students in higher education and research organisations, it includes students studying at all levels and staff holding different contracts (academic and non-academic).
When does the survey start?

The survey will be conducted for one month among each of the participating organisations’ staff and students, between January and April 2022.

Where can I find the survey?

The link to the survey will be sent by email by participating organisations to their staff and students.

Can I take part if I haven't experienced gender-based violence?

Yes, the more people participate and share their experiences – whether they have experienced violence themselves or not – the more reliable and complete the picture will become.

Can I take part if I don’t work or study in a participating organisation?

Unfortunately not. In order to provide comparable data, respondents to the survey must belong to the participating universities or research organisations. However, you would like to get involved in UniSAFE’s research activities, we warmly invite you to participate by sharing your experience through an individual interview. Find more about these interviews here: https://unisafe-gbv.eu/share-your-experience/

How can data on GBV help eradicate it?

The survey results will be integrated in a multi-level study design, analysed and translated into operational tools for research performing organisations and policymakers. Find out more about UniSAFE’s goals!

What happens to the data collected?

The raw survey data collected at participating institutions will be available only to the UniSAFE research partners who will use them solely for scientific purposes, including project outcomes and open access publications. The UniSAFE consortium will disseminate research findings, in particular through meetings, workshops, conference presentations, scientific and media publications as well as the project’s webpage.

Participating institutions will be provided with an anonymised data set, containing only the data collected at their institution. The data will only be shared after ensuring that it prevents any further identification of individuals.

At the end of the UniSAFE project, the data from all RPOs will be made available for secondary research in accordance with the European Union’s Open Access policy. For this purpose, the data will be processed such that neither participants nor participating organisations can be re-identified. Any data potentially usable for re-identification will be either diluted or removed from the data set. The data will then be permanently and securely stored at an open access data repository within the EU, where it will be available for legitimate scientific purposes on request.

Data protection

Is the survey anonymous?

Participation in the UniSAFE online survey is anonymous. Participants do not need to register or identify themselves to take part. The survey is accessible via a static, non-personalized link.

Participating institutions will not share any individual contact details, such as email addresses, with the UniSAFE survey team.

How do you guarantee the anonymisation of data?

UniSAFE will provide participating institutions with an anonymised data set, containing only the data collected at their institution. As a further protection of participants’ anonymity, this data will only be shared after ensuring that the information collected cannot be used to re-identify individual participants, including through contextual re-identification.

As an example, if cross-checking information such as age and job title would make it possible to identify individual participants, UniSAFE will either delete such information or make it less specific (e.g., the exact age of respondents will be grouped into age brackets) before making it available.

Within the framework of the UniSAFE project, the data will not be analysed at university level or country level. We will analyse the data across all 49 institutions by category, for example, by target groups (students, staff members, international mobile researchers) or academic fields.

Are participating universities able to see answers?

Participating institutions will be only provided with an anonymised data set of their institution, shared after checking for potential re-identification risks. UniSAFE acknowledges the personal and sensitive character of this research and takes all necessary measures to protect the privacy of the survey participants and confidentiality of the collected data.

UniSAFE provides each institution with their own data on the prevalence of gender-based violence, its determinants, and consequences. Supplemented with tools and recommendations developed by the project at a later stage, the provided institutional data will support the participating institutions in tackling gender-based violence. This also means that the more staff and students participate in the UniSAFE survey, the more reliable and meaningful the survey results become for each institution.

What happens to the data at the end of the survey?

The aim of the survey is to produce better knowledge on gender-based violence in universities and research organisations, and to translate this knowledge into operational tools for higher education, research organisations and policymakers. Research findings will be disseminated, through meetings, workshops, conference presentations, scientific and media publications as well as the project’s webpage.

UniSAFE complies with the GDPR to ensure data security. At the end of the project, the data from all research performing organisations will be made available for secondary research in accordance with the European Union’s Open Access policy. For this purpose, the data will be processed in the same way as the data shared with participating institutions. Any data potentially usable for re-identification will be either diluted or removed from the data set. The remaining data will then be permanently and securely stored at an open access data repository within the EU, where it will be available for legitimate scientific purposes on request.

The last page of the survey includes an invitation to participate in an individual interview. Will the data be related?

On the last page of the UniSAFE survey, respondents can also register their email address via an external link if they would like to voluntarily share their experiences with gender-based violence in an interview as well. The data collection process of the survey is complete at this point and the last page is not included in the survey.

The external link leads the volunteers directly to the official UniSAFE website where further information is provided. There is no possibility to relate the collected survey data with the shared email address.

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