Tender Call Out For Sexual Violence Prevention Programme University Partners

Tender has launched the Shoulder2Shoulder Programme, a unique partnering opportunity to support five universities in England to deliver domestic abuse and sexual violence prevention training. Sponsored by law firm Clifford Chance, this fully-funded programme provides an exclusive opportunity for students to undertake a series of training programmes with Tender, across the academic year, in order to improve awareness and understanding of the spectrum of unhealthy behaviours and abuse, highlight an individual’s rights and responsibilities to positive and respectful relationships, and increase understanding of help-seeking and reporting routes.

In recent months, public attention has turned once again to the weighty and deeply emotional topic of violence against women and girls in our society. As part of this narrative, there is a growing number of testimonies on the Everyone’s Invited website describing shocking incidents of sexual harassment and violence taking place, not only in schools but also on university campuses.

This is not news to Tender. 

In 2018, a national consultation found that 62% of all students and recent graduates surveyed had experienced sexual violence at a UK university. Sexual violence is disproportionately experienced by students from marginalised communities, a situation made worse by the additional barriers BAME, LGBTQ+, and disabled students face when seeking support.  Acts of sexual violence and discrimination are perpetuated, normalised, and upheld by the cultural beliefs held by students and staff in these institutions:

  • 42% agree that actions constituting sexual abuse/sexual harm had become normalised at university
  • 78% report that certain people blame the victim for the sexual violence they experience.

Tender first delivered training on domestic abuse and sexual violence in UK universities in 2017. The stories shared within those spaces provided us with a clear understanding of the prevalence of this issue and how we could draw on our expertise to help shift attitudes on campus to create more inclusive and healthy cultures. Since then, we have engaged over 2,500 students and university staff on the issues of abuse and sexual violence, reaching more than 65 UK universities in direct prevention work.

Our experience tells us that the most effective programmes are those which engage multiple student demographics and maintain a presence consistently across the year. Each partnership programme will therefore include training each academic term, engaging with student’s union officers, society officers, and other cohorts of students.

Gendered violence and inequality are challenging, often nuanced topics to discuss with young people that can be daunting for even the most skilled professional.  A recent survey by the Higher Education Policy Institute found that 67% of students wanted opportunities to learn about sex and relationships across the academic year. By equipping student’s union officers and societies with the vocabulary and skills to discuss these issues, we can create increased safeguarding for the wider student population and sustain key messaging around these issues.

We are proud to be sponsored by Clifford Chance for this programme, aligning our work to end violence against women and create cultures based on equality and respect.


Since 2003, Tender has worked to prevent domestic abuse and sexual violence in the lives of children and young people. Each year, our innovative programmes reach over 30,000 young people: preventing them from becoming victims or perpetrators and empowering them to build healthy relationships based on equality and respect.

Our core aims are:

  • To educate young people aged 8 – 25 years about healthy and unhealthy relationships
  • To challenge attitudes and inequalities which enable and conceal domestic abuse and sexual violence
  • To empower young people to seek support if they or a friend is experiencing abuse.

Working across schools and youth settings, Tender is the only UK charity focused solely on preventing domestic abuse and sexual violence amongst young people. Using creative, arts-based programmes, we provide a safe and playful space in which young people can engage with sensitive topics, develop empathy and “rehearse” for real-life scenarios. Through exploring their rights, responsibilities, and choices in relationships, young people develop increased resilience and reduced tolerance towards abuse and become ambassadors for healthy relationships in their communities.

Tender’s approach informed the 2016 government inquiry into sexual violence in schools, and the incoming Relationships and Sex Education curriculum. For the past 17 years, we have led the VAWG prevention strand of London’s Ascent Consortium, delivering domestic abuse prevention in every borough.


Tender is looking to partner with five Universities in England and embed prevention-based training throughout the next academic year. Each partnership will include:

A Students Union Officer Training: A basic awareness course in domestic abuse and sexual violence. This training aims to develop participants knowledge of abuse and sexual violence, identifying the additional vulnerabilities and barriers faced by victims at university. Participants will learn key skills in responding to disclosures, receive guidance on improving help seeking, and consider the role of campaigning and prevention-based programmes.

Training for Society Officers & Members: A basic awareness course in domestic abuse and sexual violence. Participants will develop knowledge of abuse and sexual violence, identifying what shape these behaviours can take and how campus culture can contribute to gendered violence, and introduce bystander intervention strategies. Participants learn key skills in responding to disclosures and can effectively signpost students towards relevant support services.

Student Engagement Project: A healthy relationships project which will span across multiple sessions. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about healthy relationships, boundaries, sexual violence, and bystander intervention. Using the arts, Tender will support participants to develop their awareness and create a campaign to disseminate their learning to their peers.

A Power of Prevention Event: An online event that will raise awareness of the issues of abuse and sexual violence and bring together key speakers and organisations who are pioneering this work.

Campaign Guidance and General Support: Tender will support the university and student’s union to develop their awareness-raising campaigns, consulting and providing expertise in abuse and sexual violence prevention.

Roundtable Event: At the end of the programme, Tender will bring together the five universities to share learning, impact, and recommendations for the future.


The Shoulder2Shoulder programme is open to publicly funded universities in England with a minimum student population of 5,000. Applicants will be expected to demonstrate:

  • Strong relationships between the university and Students’ Union
  • A clear understanding of what your university currently offers on sexual violence prevention and support
  • A commitment to ending violence against women and girls, and shifting attitudes that condone and conceal abusive behaviours


The Shoulder2Shoulder programme aims to support universities in addressing abuse and sexual violence on campus and to find new ways of promoting positive cultures based on respect and equality. We’re not expecting you to be experts in the field or to have pre-built procedures in place, but we are looking for partners who are open and willing to learn and to make progressive steps towards making the university a safer place for students.


If you are interested in applying, please download and complete the application form below. All applications must be submitted via email to brad@tender.org.uk. Applications are open from Friday 4th June – Monday 12th July 2021.

Due to the nature of the training and the demographics we seek to reach, we recommend that the application is completed by a member of the Students’ Union alongside a staff member from the university.

Whilst we will predominantly be liaising with the Students’ Unions, it’s important that someone from within the university is able to support and champion the work. We know that this joined-up approach will lead to a greater and more sustainable impact.


    STEP 1 – PROPOSAL: Universities submit an application saying why they want to be involved and the difference it will make.

    STEP 2 – INTERVIEW: After assessing the proposals, shortlisted applicants will be invited to discuss their proposals and to learn more about the programme.

    STEP 3 – DECISION: Tender, Clifford Chance and our Youth Board volunteers’ robustly discuss applications and decide on which are the best fit.

    STEP 4 – PARTNERSHIP CONFIRMATION: If your application is approved, we’ll send an offer letter, the programme conditions, and arrange dates to get started.


    Applications Open – 4th June 2021

    Application Deadline – 12 July 2021, 5pm

    Interviews –  19th – 30 July 2021 (updated)

    Confirmation – Week commencing 2nd August (updated)

    Introductory Meeting & Consultations – August – September 2021

    Students Union Training  – August – October 2021 (updated)

    Society Training*  – October 2021 – March 2022

    Student Project* – January – March  2022

    Power of Prevention Event* – April – June 2022

    Roundtable Event – July 2022

    *Elements of this programme can be delivered flexibly and in line with the universities timeline


    If you have any queries about the programme or about Tender’s work in universities, please contact our University and Volunteers Coordinator, Bradley O’Donoghue – brad@tender.org.uk