GenderSAFE Community of Practice Thematic Circles

GenderSAFE is setting up a Community of Practice (CoP) for stakeholders addressing gender-based violence in higher education and research through policy frameworks. Participants can choose to participate in a General CoP level, engaging in discussions on how to implement a comprehensive policy framework, but also in Thematic Circles.

These Thematic Circles are for participants who wish to engage in focused discussions, according to the topic of each Circle, by contributing their knowledge and experience. Members of these circles are also part of the General CoP level. No specific expertise is required to join a Circle.

The following Thematic Circles have been established. Two more are to be created at a later date, on topics defined according to CoP participants’ priorities and/or issues emerging from CoP activities.

Circle 1 – Legal aspects of gender-based violence 

Creating an institutional Code of Conduct to address gender-based violence can be a challenging task. Many times, change agents attempting to adopt a trauma-informed approach to policy-making run into obstacles stemming from (real or perceived) incompatibilities with national and EU legislation, or even with the institution’s internal regulations and legal interests. Rights and obligations, personal data protection, the duty to report criminal offences, the role of labour law in institutional cautionary and disciplinary measures, and the compatibility of internal vs external proceedings are some of the topics that must be navigated in all their nuances. This CoP will explore how to ensure compliance with relevant legal frameworks and seek innovative solutions when needed, to ensure the effective protection of victim-survivors and the rights of all parties involved.  

Participants from all backgrounds are welcome to join, more specifically individuals with experience in navigating legal matters within their respective higher education institutions. This includes, but is not limited to, HR team members, legal advisors, policy-makers, EDI representatives, attorneys and advocates for survivors, and student representatives.  

Circle 2 – Intersectional power relations and gender-based violence

Results from the UniSAFE project have shed light on the inequalities faced by different groups in relation to both the prevalence and consequences of gender-based violence in the context of R&I, but also on the effectiveness of institutional responses. There are different, interrelated grounds for increased exposure to gender-based violence, such as structural inequalities (e.g., disability, age, migrant background, gender identity) and circumstances where gender-based violence has proven more likely to occur (e.g., precarious employment, mobility, field trips, remote research sites or small, monodisciplinary research sites). The UniSAFE survey has shown that gender-based violence disproportionately affects minoritised groups, while Interviews conducted with participants who were potentially more at risk confirmed that several factors, including the precarious nature of contracts, contribute to power imbalance and exacerbate the problem. Few countries and institutions have policies in place to address gender-based violence, with even fewer taking an intersectional perspective. This CoP circle aims to identify how existing policies fail to serve the needs of minoritised groups, to develop better practices and test solutions, bearing in mind the intersecting power imbalances which are at the heart of the problem.   

Everyone is welcome to join, and we welcome individuals from all backgrounds to participate. 

Circle 3 – A Central and Eastern European perspective on gender-based violence 

Gender-based violence is a pervasive but also context-specific phenomenon, including in the academic environment. Its characteristics and intensity depend largely on cultural and social variables, national policies and how the issue has been perceived and addressed over time. Thus, although no country has succeeded in addressing the problem at its roots, there are differences between European research systems that need to be taken into account when addressing gender-based violence. Focusing on the Central and Eastern European perspective is an essential step towards defining an EU model policy framework on gender-based violence, especially in the current context of rising populism and anti-gender movements. This CoP will attempt to grasp the specificities of gender-based violence in CEE countries, both in terms of the phenomenon itself and the most appropriate tools, strategies and measures to address it. 

Participants from Central and Eastern Europe with academic background of all kinds (students of all stages, academic staff, researchers, etc) are welcome to join. 

Join the CoP and be part of the change! 


Find out more about the GenderSAFE CoP and what’s in for you, and apply now!  


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