Commission on the Fight against Gender-Based and Sexual Violence

Last updated 04/05/2021

After two months of work, the commission on sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) set up on 17 February 2021 and chaired by Danièle Hervieu-Léger presented its conclusions in a report to Bénédicte Durand on 4 May 2021 (fr, pdf, 10 Mo). 

The report reviews the information collected by the working group and puts forward sixty of recommendations for strengthening and fostering a culture of respect, civility and equality at Sciences Po. Once the conclusions have been presented to Sciences Po's governance bodies, an approach and implementation schedule will be put in place before the end of the 2020/21 academic year.

Identifying and preventing risk situations

In terms of identifying and preventing risk situations, the working group recommends, among others:

  • The introduction of a mandatory, generalised sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) awareness training programme for everyone and a range of in-depth training sessions for certain groups according to their roles and responsibilities. These training sessions will be repeated and renewed in order to encourage the emergence of a genuine shared culture
  • For students in particular, a focus on making students more aware of ways of containing risk situations, strengthening checks and controls, and putting in place a security protocol for parties organised by student associations. A ‘departure kit’ summarising all the useful information for students during their period outside Sciences Po (internships, professional placements, exchange year abroad, etc.) is also recommended. Finally, the fight against cyberbullying should also be strengthened.
  • A firm support for activities and new research initiatives aimed at developing knowledge of gender-based and sexual violence and at disseminating all teaching and training (including the proposal to create a professorship and to conduct research on SGBVs at Sciences Po).
  • Greater prominence of the Gender Equality Action Plan at Sciences Po.

Better support for victims

In terms of psychological support provisions for victims of gender-based and sexual violence: the feedback received on the Helpline Unit from those who have had recourse to it mostly emphasises satisfaction concerning the quality of the support and respect of the rules governing care and confidentiality. However, the Unit's reach and means are limited, particularly on regional campuses.

The working group recommends:

  • An increase in the number of local measures dedicated to reporting incidents, increased coordination of these measures and the deployment on all campuses of a network of reference people. 
  • The outsourcing of the psychological support service for victims of SGBV to a qualified and specialised team. 
  • Strengthening of the mechanism in place for providing information, legal advice, material and educational support for witnesses and victims of SGBV.

Clarifying and strengthening disciplinary procedures

With regard to disciplinary procedures, the working group recommends, inter alia:

  • Formalising the procedures and systematically opening an internal investigation following a report of an incident.
  • The judicialisation of procedures and the use of professionally qualified personnel on the internal investigation body, with the implementation of measures to protect victims during the course of the procedure.
  • The production and dissemination of information on disciplinary procedures and sanctions to the entire Sciences Po community and the publicising of sanctions imposed, while preserving the anonymity of those involved. 

> Read the full report (fr) (pdf, 10Mo)

You can read the full list of the working group’s recommendations below.

Monitoring and support services for victims of sexual and gender-based violence

  • Expand and coordinate on-campus mechanisms for reporting instances of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). In particular, raise the visibility of nearby support services that can be contacted to report troubling behaviour or incidents. 
  • Appoint a cross-campus network of contact persons to whom incidents on any campus may be reported.
  • Outsource the university’s Helpline and Monitoring Unit for victims of SGBV to a specialised professional organisation.
  • Concentrate the Helpline’s activities on a series of specific missions, i.e. coordinating and running a network of contact persons, collecting information about referrals, publishing an annual report, liaising with the Sciences Po Health Centre, transferring report files to senior management for investigation, setting guidelines, organising the awareness-raising and training initiatives that have been requested on a massive scale by members of all Sciences Po communities.
  • Enhance the system for providing legal information and advice to victims, witnesses and anyone who raises concern about an incident.
  • Strengthen the material and educational support for victims of SGBV.

Disciplinary procedure

  • Systematically launch an internal investigation into every report and formalise the procedure for this internal investigation.
  • Formalise procedures legally and professionalise the internal investigation body.
  • Develop information about the disciplinary procedures and sanctions imposable across the Sciences Po community. 
  • Make sanctions imposed public, while preserving the anonymity of those involved.
  • Implement protective measures for victims throughout the procedure.

Identifying and preventing situations of risk

Teacher-student relationships

SGBV within the staff community

  • Circulate information regarding the contact points and services available to the staff community for reporting incidents. Establish discreet communication channels (email, phone lines, post box).
  • Formalise the procedure for investigations by the HR Department (DRH) into reports made by members of staff, following a parallel model to that adopted for internal investigations.
  • Develop information regarding disciplinary procedures and sanctions.

Training, Research, Teaching

  • Implement a general compulsory SGBV awareness-raising initiative for all people present at Sciences Po, adapted according to their position within the institution.
  • Introduce a broad range of in-depth training courses. These should be compulsory for certain staff groups or bodies, as determined by their position, and open on an optional basis to anyone interested in participating.
  • Regularly repeat and review all training programmes, so as to foster a strong shared culture around SGBV.
  • Firm support from the institution for all activities and new research initiatives aimed at advancing understanding and awareness around SGBV and feeding into teaching.

Sciences Po’s Gender Equality Policy

  • Step up the Plan of Action for Gender Equality at Sciences Po, in line with recommendations from the French government and the EU.
  • Set up a more efficient and uniform network of Gender Equality Liaisons.
  • Commit to taking firm action to ensure parity across teaching staff, including among temporary faculty members (particularly by increasing transparency in the advertising of available teaching posts and streamlining the allocation process).
  • Assist female students in their choice of study paths and entry into the job market (particularly by making use of support from the alumni community).

Composition of the commission on gender-based and sexual violence:

  • Émilie BILAND-CURINIER, Professor, Center for Sociology of Organisations (CSO), member of PRESAGE (Gender Studies and Research Programme)
  • Mathéa BOUDINET, elected doctoral student to the Institute’s Board of Directors
  • Amandine BUISSON, student at the School of Public Affairs, rapporteur of the commission
  • Francesca CABIDDU, Director of Students and Teachers’ Support and Services
  • Pascale EISENBERGER, elected teaching associate representative at the Institute’s Board of Directors
  • Stefania GHERCA, elected student representative to the Student Life & Education Committee - UNEF student union
  • Léonard GOURINAT, Director of legal affairs, purchases and contracts
  • Amy GREENE, Gender Equality Supervisor
  • Frédéric GROS, University Professor, Centre for Political Research (CEVIPOF)
  • Danièle HERVIEU-LEGER, Honorary Director of Studies and former President of the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), President of the commission
  • Christelle HOTEIT, elected staff representative - CFDT
  • Arnaud JULLIAN, Secretary General
  • Sandrine LANCEREAU, elected staff representative - Autonomes pour Sciences Po / FO
  • Agathe LECOULANT, elected student representative to the Student Life & Education Committee - UNI
  • Rachida LEMMAGHTI, Regional Director for Women's Rights and Equality at the Paris and Ile-de-France Prefecture; former Gender Equality Officer, University Paris-Diderot
  • Hélène PERIVIER, economist, French Economic Observatory (OFCE), director of PRESAGE (Gender Studies and Research Programme)
  • Élise ROUGER, elected student representative to the Student Life & Education Committee - Solidaires Étudiants
  • Malika SADAOUI, elected staff representative - CFTC
  • Sébastien THUBERT, Director of Campus Life and Student Engagement
  • Raphaël ZAOUATI, elected student representative, student vice-president of the Institute’s Board of Directors - NOVA