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Tackling Religion-based Hate Crime on the Multi-Faith Campus


Office for Students (OfS) Catalyst Initiative

Total value of project


Project team

Professor Kristin Aune, Dr Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor, Professor Paul Weller, Dr Lucy Peacock, Dr Jane Osmond


Advance HE and Church of England Education Office

Duration of project

01/04/2018 - 31/03/2020

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Project overview

The project has three main aims:

  1. To better support students in understanding what religion-based hate crime is and encourage them to report and receive support;
  2. To strengthen the existing reporting and case management mechanism to ensure it addresses religion-based hate crime affecting students;
  3. To provide an exemplar for the HE sector via partnership with, and knowledge sharing through, national organisations working on HE equality policy (ECU) and with chaplains (the Church of England).

Project objectives

During the project the team:

  • Worked together to investigate and address religion or belief harassment and hate. The working group consisted of team members from the Students’ Union, chaplaincy, student welfare services and academic researchers.
  • Recruited a case manager to promote religion-based hate incident reporting.
  • Developed and disseminated information about Coventry University’s new harassment and hate incidents reporting tool.
  • Ran two surveys, to understand students’ attitudes to, awareness of, and reported experiences of religion or belief harassment and hate, and to evaluate the project.
  • Initiated a successful promotional campaign aimed at raising awareness around religion or belief harassment and hate. Some aspects of the campaign were linked to the surveys and their findings.
  • Shared findings, methods and knowledge gathered with the other OfS projects and other universities and chaplains, which led to development of skills for those working with students across the HE sector.
  • Developed and published guidance for the HE sector on addressing religion or belief-related harassment and hate.
  • The project’s impact includes: a) encouraging and strengthening reporting of religion or belief-related harassment, b) facilitating strong on- and off-campus safeguarding and support, and c) developing strategies to overcome barriers to reporting religiously motivated harassment and hate crime, on local and national levels.

  • Written guide: Tackling religion or belief-related harassment and hate incidents: a guide for higher education providers. The guide is available to download and hard copies are available on request.    

    More than a dozen presentations on the learning from the project were made to higher education professional services staff, SU staff, chaplains and researchers, at universities, higher education institutes and religious organisations.

    Research and evaluation report: Religion and belief-related hate incidents in higher education: a research and evaluation report by Kristin Aune, Lucy Peacock, Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor and Paul Weller (2020). This reports on findings from two surveys of students, one conducted at the start of the project and one at the end, detailing students’ attitudes and experiences in relation to religion and belief-related harassment and hate incidents, the impact of the project on students, the effectiveness of key project activities, and setting these in the wider policy and research context.

    Project updates were published on social media, and a blog post published by Advance HE: ‘Tackling religion and belief-related harassment in universities’.

 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023