Supporting students who are sexually harassed on placement

Michael Emslie


This paper argues that if higher education institutions are going to place students at risk of sexual harassment by requiring they complete a component of their formal study on work-place based placements, then university educators have a responsibility to adequately equip and appropriately support students so they can effectively identify and respond to sexual harassment. A model from youth work field education is presented that aims to prepare graduates, agency supervisors and university-based field education staff who are capable and motivated to prevent and respond to sexual harassment in the practicum. The systemic and integrated framework recognises student’s fundamental right to safety in the workplace and attends to the constraints on students disclosing, the deleterious effects of experiencing unwanted sexual conduct, and the importance of good practices in care and support. The various components of the approach also take account of the influence of environmental factors as well as issues of educational merit. The model has general applicability to other professional practice domains and can be adapted for use by educators who appreciate the value of equipping students to effectively deal with unwelcome sexual conduct while on placement.


sexual harassment;field education;youth work

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