Sexual Misconduct within the NHS: An urgent need to create safer cultures for staff

A study conducted by Unison of more than 12,200 NHS Staff across the UK (including nurses, ambulance workers, porters and cleaners) has found that sexual misconduct is widespread. These chilling findings show that one in 10 reported unwanted incidents including being touched or kissed, demands for sex in return for favours and derogatory comments.

The survey findings published on Monday 8 April 2024 found of those reporting unwanted incidents, sexual assault was reported by almost three in 10 (29%). Half (50%) said they had been leered at or been the target of suggestive gestures, while a quarter (25%) said they had suffered unwelcome sexual advances, propositions or demands for sexual favours.

Despite the serious and even criminal nature of some of the incidents, half the staff had not reported sexual harassment to their employer, mainly through fear of being considered “over-sensitive” or a feeling that their employer would not act on their complaint.

These recent findings serve as a stark reminder of the overwhelming need for NHS employers to make significant changes urgently. For far too long, the NHS has apparently taken the path of least resistance and failed to root out sexual misconduct in the workplace and these finds show there is clearly a pressing need to drive cultural change when it comes to tackling sexual misconduct within the NHS.

Despite these findings, it is important to acknowledge the launch of the NHS Sexual Safety Charter introduced in September 2023, which is a welcome step forward. Today, the number of  NHS organisations who are signatories to this Charter currently stands at an impressive 301, and each has committed to taking and enforcing a zero-tolerance approach to any unwanted, inappropriate and/or harmful sexual behaviours within the workplace, and to ten core principles and actions to help achieve this.

“Creating safer cultures within workplaces is increasingly being recognised as a priority for a range of organisations. It’s fantastic that so many NHS Trusts have committed to the NHS Sexual Safety Charter and are recognising their responsibility. However, we know from LimeCulture’s extensive work to tackle sexual misconduct, that signing up to the Charter will be the easy part….the hard work will need to come next – meaningful organisational change that truly impacts on the culture of the NHS for their staff.” says Stephanie Reardon, LimeCulture’s CEO.

LimeCulture believes that preventing and responding to sexual misconduct is essential for creating a positive work culture, complying with legal requirements, and protecting the well-being of employees and the reputation of the wider organisation.

From our experience, effectively responding to sexual misconduct within the workplace requires an organisation to take a multifaceted approach that involves proactive measures (prevention initiatives), putting in place clear policies and procedures, making sure that effective training is provided to everyone, ensuring that report and support mechanisms are available, and ensuring access to swift and fair responses to incidents when they occur.

LimeCulture believes that NHS Trusts and NHS employers will need to create safer cultures and organisational responses to sexual misconduct in a variety of ways including:

  • Leadership Commitment, Governance and Accountability: Senior leaders and executives must demonstrate a strong commitment to preventing and responding to sexual misconduct within the organisation. They should lead by example, actively promote a culture of respect and inclusion, and hold themselves and others accountable for their actions. LimeCulture works with leadership teams to identify what action is required to model and embed safer cultures, creating a bespoke and tailored action plan for the organisation’s progress.
  • Clear Policies and Procedures: Organisations need to establish clear and comprehensive policies and procedures that explicitly define sexual misconduct, as well as the consequences for such behaviours. These policies should be communicated effectively to all employees and stakeholders. LimeCulture assists organisations in developing or revising their policies and procedures related to sexual misconduct. We can provide guidance on creating clear, comprehensive, and legally compliant policies that reflect best practices and align with your organisation’s values and goals.
  • Training and development: a quality programme of training should be provided to all employees to raise awareness about sexual misconduct and educate them on how to recognise and prevent sexual misconduct. Specialist training should be provided to upskill key staff members to enable them to respond safely and appropriately to sexual misconduct and provide immediate and ongoing support tailored to the specific context of the organisation. LimeCulture provides organisations with comprehensive training and development initiatives tailored to the specific needs and organisational context. Training initiatives can be focused on raising awareness of sexual misconduct right through to providing a cadre of staff with the skills and competence to deliver safe and effective support to victims/survivors.
  • Reporting Processes: Organisations need to establish reporting processes to encourage victims and witnesses to report incidents of sexual misconduct that assure confidentiality, protect whistle-blowers from retaliation, and provide immediate and ongoing support to those who come forward (and/or those who are reported). LimeCulture provides consultation and advisory services to organisations seeking guidance on reporting processes for sexual misconduct cases.
  • Provision of Support: Organisations should be able to offer internal support to those involved in sexual misconduct cases, for both employees who have reported sexual misconduct and for employees who are reported against (ie, those accused of being a perpetrator). It is essential to create a supportive and empathetic environment where employees feel safe and supported throughout the reporting and resolution process. LimeCulture provides consultation and advisory services to organisations wishing to put in place safe and effective support for employees involved in sexual misconduct cases.  We also provide accredited training that will allow your organisation to create a cadre of highly trained staff who can provide enhanced, individually tailored support to staff involved in sexual misconduct cases; before, during and after any investigation or resolution processes.
  • Investigation and Resolution Process: Organisations need to take complaints seriously and investigate them promptly and thoroughly, showing their workforce that these behaviours will be called out, no matter whose reputation is at risk. Organisations will also need to consider whether it is appropriate to appoint an external, independent investigator to investigate any sexual misconduct complaints raised, to ensure impartiality and protect the rights of both the reporting and the reported party, and implement appropriate disciplinary measures when misconduct is substantiated. LimeCulture provides advisory services to support organisations managing cases of sexual misconduct. We also provide trauma-informed training to investigators and disciplinary panels for handling sexual misconduct cases.
  • Continuous Monitoring and Improvement: Creating a safer culture is an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring, evaluation, and improvement. Organisations should regularly assess the effectiveness of their policies, procedures, training and other initiatives and make necessary adjustments to address any gaps or shortcomings. LimeCulture can evaluate the effectiveness of your organisation’s prevention and response efforts and make recommendations for improvement.

By implementing these key elements, NHS organisations can create safer cultures and effectively respond to incidents of sexual misconduct, thereby fostering a workplace environment where all employees feel safe, respected, valued, and empowered.

Moving forward: the Implications of the Unison Study

Given the fact that little has changed since June 2019, when Unison reported the finding of ‘It’s Never Ok’ study on sexual harassment – which found that nearly a quarter (22%) of the healthcare staff reporting harassment said they had been sexually assaulted and highlighted the psychological trauma suffered by the 700 staff who responded to say they’d suffered sexual harassment in the past year – the findings of the latest Unison report will, undoubtedly, make for depressing reading for NHS staff who have experienced any form of sexual misconduct in the workplace. The sad reality is that many NHS staff still consider it futile to raise concerns, insofar as they may perceive the odds to be stacked against them in terms of being believed and treated fairly. It is only if, and when, NHS employers take the proactive steps described above to reshape their culture, that their employees will feel empowered to raise and pursue concerns.

However, it will hopefully be of some reassurance that this is now an active area of interest for NHS England and hopefully Government. With the introduction of the NHS Sexual Safety Charter, we will hopefully see more NHS employers take steps to create safer cultures for their staff.

Whilst some of the NHS Sexual Safety Charter’s core principles should be easily implemented, it remains to be seen whether the 301 NHS Trusts who have signed up to the Charter will be able to fully implement all 10 of the core principles by the goal date of July 2024 and we look forward to seeing what happens in July and beyond. Indeed, creating safer cultures is something that takes time to get right and should certainly be an ongoing focus for all NHS employers beyond July.

It is important to realise that to implement and embed the Charter’s core principles properly, in a way that will create meaningful change, LimeCulture’s view is that NHS Trusts would benefit enormously from the independent scrutiny, advice and support of specialist organisations with the expertise, knowledge and skills around tackling sexual misconduct across organisations. LimeCulture is delighted to have been approached by a number of NHS Trusts to support them to work towards achieving the core principles of the NHS Sexual Safety Charter and we look forward to supporting them to create safer cultures for their staff.

For further information about how LimeCulture can support your organisation to create safer cultures for your staff, please email




The Male Quality Standards Independent Accreditation Programme is now open for application

LimeCulture is delighted to announce the Independent Accreditation Programme for the Male Survivors Partnership’s Quality Standards for Services Supporting Male Victims/Survivors of Sexual Violence is now accepting applications for the 13th wave of services seeking the Quality Mark.

The Wave 13 application window will close on Friday 3 May 2024. 

Contact us at to find out more.

Why adopt the standards? 

Research and experience show that males still face significant challenges in both disclosing sexual violence and seeking support, whether for recent or non-recent abuse.

The MSP’s nationally recognised Male Quality Standards, developed in collaboration with victims/survivors, providers and commissioners, provide a clear robust framework to develop and improve the quality and consistency of support services for male victims/survivors.

LimeCulture’s Independent Accreditation Programme allows services to benchmark the quality of their provision for male victims/survivors of sexual violence against the standards to demonstrate that they are accessible and engaging, respond to the specific needs of males, and are robustly governed.

This gives service providers, their commissioners/funders, and most importantly their clients, confidence in the services they deliver. LimeCulture has been delighted to work with more than 50 counselling, therapeutic, ISVA, emotional, practical and university services supporting male victims/survivors to achieve the Quality Mark since the programme was launched in 2018.

Imran Manzoor, Head of Service at Breaking the Silence, from Wave 9, said:

In achieving the Quality Standards our service saw a thorough and wholesale improvement in the management and delivery of our service. We have received legitimacy from mainstream bodies and a surge in referrals since achieving the Quality Mark.”

Deborah Hooton, Operations Manager, Nottinghamshire SVSS, from Wave 8, said:

“We wanted to ensure that we reached all survivors, in particular the males who made up 9% of our case load, so we embarked on the process to achieve the Male Quality Standards to ensure that males were aware that our services were quality assured and open to them. LimeCulture were very supportive throughout. Whilst the process involved was intense at times it provided an opportunity to review our services and address any barriers that males may experience. Having the Quality Mark has resulted in the proportion of males accessing our service increasing from 9% at commencement of the process to 14% today.”

Join the new wave

Contact by Friday 3 May to express your interest in Wave 13. Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Our Accreditation Managers will discuss your service’s circumstances and provide a tailored quotation.

Please note, services enrolling will need to be available for an online, half-day Accreditation Workshop on 21 May 2024.

Find more information about the Accreditation Programme, fees, and our Terms and Conditions here.

All services currently holding the Quality Mark can be found on our Public Register of Accredited Services here.

Open for application: Whole School Approach to Sexual Misconduct Programme

LimeCulture is delighted to open applications for schools and colleges to join our Summer Term Wave for our Whole School Approach to Sexual Misconduct Programme.

Sam Whyte, Director of Sexual Violence and Education at LimeCulture, said:

“Over the last two years, we at LimeCulture have worked with over 30 state and independent schools to implement our Sexual Misconduct Liaison Officer (SMLO)  model and almost 80 schools to equip teachers to deliver preventative education across all Key Stages. It’s fantastic to hear about the real day-to-day difference SMLOs are making in our schools.

We’re excited to continue rolling out our accredited programme to transform the response to sexual misconduct in education, and to work hand in hand with even more schools to build a safer culture for students and staff.”

LimeCulture’s specialist response is specifically designed to integrate seamlessly with schools’ existing statutory obligations around safeguarding children and young people and to support schools in meeting new expectations from Ofsted and the Independent Schools Inspectorate around their response to sexual harassment in education..

Join our Summer Term Wave

4 places are available on our Summer Term Wave. They will be allocated to schools on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications close on 28 March 2024.

Schools and colleges joining the summer term wave will take part in a comprehensive programme of training and support with LimeCulture.

This begins with a Strategic Workshop to support the embedding of the Sexual Misconduct Liaison Officer (SMLO) model in their school, followed by tailored support to establish the response.

Our expert trainers will then visit each school to deliver our three-day SMLO Development Programme, and the Train the Teacher: Preventing Sexual Misconduct in Education Programme (tailored to the relevant Key Stages).

To express an interest and receive a bespoke quotation, or simply find out more, contact the LimeCulture team at

More information about the full package of support, including fees, can be found in our   LimeCulture | Embedding A Whole School Approach Information Guide

LimeCulture hosts seminar for schools on addressing sexual misconduct

LimeCulture was delighted to host an online seminar that brought together more than 30 schools across the country to explore a whole-school approach to preventing and responding to sexual misconduct.

Schools were welcomed to the event by LimeCulture’s Chief Executive Stephanie Reardon, who highlighted the challenges that schools are facing when dealing with these often highly complex and sensitive cases. However, following the explosion of testimonials published on the Everyone’s Invited website in early 2021, and the subsequent rapid review conducted by Ofsted into the level of sexual harassment within our schools and colleges, it is clearer than ever that schools have a crucial role in protecting children and young people from sexual misconduct, both on and off line.

Stephanie emphasised the importance of embedding a whole-school approach that incorporates both prevention and response to sexual misconduct, before handing over to LimeCulture’s Head of Training, Maria Putz, to share learning from developing and piloting LimeCulture’s Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Model.

Seeking to transform their response to incidents of sexual misconduct, over 30 schools are already implementing the SMLO model and almost 80 have engaged in our prevention programmes.

Our whole-school approach to sexual misconduct brings together LimeCulture’s sector-leading SMLO response model that equips schools and colleges to effectively support pupils/students affected by sexual misconduct, with our prevention programme to train teachers to confidently and competently deliver sensitive content to young people on healthy relationships, consent, and other related topics throughout Key Stages 1-5.

Maria began by explaining how critical it is that schools and colleges can respond appropriately, sensitively and consistently to a child who discloses sexual abuse. The role of the SMLO was developed by LimeCulture and piloted with The Perse School in Cambridge in 2021, and embeds a cadre of highly trained staff across the school that have been equipped, through training, to appropriately support reporting and reported pupils/students in an educational setting. Importantly, the SMLO role is designed to complement and integrate with the role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead, and support schools to meet their safeguarding obligations and duties.

Maria went on to explain LimeCulture’s suite of Preventing Sexual Misconduct in Education (PSME) Programmes developed to support teachers and those delivering the RSE curriculum. These programmes are supported by additional resources, lesson plans, and adaptations for teachers of children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Find out how to work with LimeCulture to embed a whole-school approach to sexual misconduct

Embedding the SMLO model in practice

Emma Rothwell, Assistant Head (Inclusion, Equality and Diversity), DSL and Chaplain at The Perse School in Cambridge, then shared her experiences of embedding the SMLO model across her school. Emma outlined some of the key drivers that led The Perse to transform the way they respond to sexual misconduct as a school, as well as offering important insights about some of the challenges they have overcome. Emma explained the positive impacts SMLO support has had on pupils, staff, and the wider school community. Emma reflected on the importance of understanding the power of fear and shame in children’s willingness to disclose sexual misconduct, and emphasised valuing compassion and leadership among both pupils and staff to drive both cultural and system change.

Best practice in dealing with child-on-child abuse

David Smellie and Sophia Coles from Farrer and Co’s Safeguarding Unit discussed key considerations for schools in being proactive when dealing with child-on-child abuse, which are often complex and extremely sensitive. David used a case study to underline the importance of regular risk assessment and ongoing safety planning in such cases, both for the disclosing/reporting child and the alleged perpetrator/reported child. This is particularly important when both children remain in the same school, and where a criminal offence may have been committed and other agencies are involved.

In a wider look at current challenges, Sophia explored strategies to support schools in recognising and positively addressing misogyny. Sophia highlighted the importance of being alert to new and emerging misogynistic trends that may impact both the behaviours and attitudes of boys, and the need for schools to take a robust approach underpinned by sound safeguarding practices to tackle the impact of these attitudes and behaviours.

The Farrer & Co Child-on-Child Abuse Toolkit for schools is available here

Sharing practice

Delegates were encouraged to ask questions throughout the presentations and the questions they asked prompted energetic discussion and further explored how the SMLO role works alongside the Designated Safeguarding Lead in responding to concerns and referring for support; how SMLOs work within the constraints of the criminal justice system; and how social media discussions among pupils about individual cases of sexual misconduct can best be managed.

Prioritising mental health and well-being

Our final speaker, Alicia Drummond from the Wellbeing Hub and founder of Teen Tips, focused on the impacts of sexual misconduct incidents on the mental health of the pupils and staff involved. Alicia provided extremely useful insights into how very important it is for children and young people’s mental health and well-being to feel safe and secure within their school environment. She helpfully outlined some of the indicators of PTSD, making it clear that different individuals will respond differently to traumatic events and the importance of schools taking a trauma-informed approach.

Transforming our response

LimeCulture’s Chief Executive, Stephanie Reardon, said of the event:

“Thank you to everyone who attended and contributed to our event today. I was delighted to welcome so many schools to this important discussion of best practice in supporting children and young people who have been affected by sexual misconduct.

“Schools undeniably face huge challenges in dealing with these complex issues day-to-day and play a critical role in building safer cultures for our children, both now and as they move into adulthood. High quality prevention and response work are so very important, and it is fantastic to hear how schools have embraced the SMLO model and prevention programmes, and the huge impact this is now having on pupils’ trust in their school’s approach to sexual misconduct, and the confidence and competence on the part of school staff to respond.”

Contact LimeCulture at to discuss how we may be able to support you.

LimeCulture Launches Refresher Training for ISVAs

Since LimeCulture was established back in 2011, LimeCulture has been at the forefront of providing comprehensive training to Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs). Our training journey began in September 2011, with the launch of our accredited ISVA Development Programme, delivered to the first cohort of exceptional ISVAs – some of whom continue to work in ISVA services to this day.

Over the course of the last 12 years, LimeCulture has emerged as the preferred training provider for the majority of ISVA services across England and Wales. Year after year, we have consistently delivered the ISVA Development Programme to between 125-150 new ISVAs each year, ensuring they are equipped with the essential skills and knowledge required to navigate the complex landscape of supporting victims/survivors of sexual violence.

Recognising the dynamic nature of the work ISVAs undertake, LimeCulture has continuously evolved the ISVA Development Programme to align with the changing landscape. Our team of trainers, many of whom have themselves worked as ISVAs, rigorously monitor and update our programme content on an ongoing basis. This ensures the ISVA Development Programme remains current, incorporating up to date materials and case studies that mirror the latest practices and emerging trends.

At LimeCulture, we firmly believe that ISVA training should not be a one-time occurrence. Continued professional development is critical for ISVAs to strengthen and expand their knowledge and expertise, and to be a strong voice at the table for their clients. Therefore, alongside our core ISVA Development Programme, we created a suite of Electives. These Electives complement the core training offered within the ISVA Development Programme, giving ISVAs the opportunity to specialise further and acquire skills tailored to supporting specific client groups.

The feedback from ISVAs regarding our Electives has been overwhelmingly positive and we continue to develop new courses to support ISVAs to develop professionally. However, we’ve also heard from experienced ISVAs (and Managers) about their need for updated core training. They have highlighted the evolving nature of the ISVA role and the importance of staying abreast of the latest operational practices and developments.

As such, LimeCulture is excited to introduce our new ISVA Refresher Programme. This two-day accredited course is designed specifically for ISVAs who have previously completed their core ISVA training, providing them with the chance to refresh their knowledge and skills. It also provides them with the opportunity network with other experienced professionals, and gain insights into the latest developments in the field.

This refresher course, alongside our Electives, demonstrates LimeCulture’s commitment to ensuring that ISVAs receive not only foundational training but also continuous support and updated knowledge throughout their careers. Based on insights from ISVAs and ISVA Managers, LimeCulture recommend that ISVAs refresh their core training at least every 3 years.

Our goal at LimeCulture remains unchanged: to empower ISVAs with the tools, expertise and ongoing training they need to navigate the challenging and ever-changing landscape of supporting victims/survivors of sexual violence.

For more information about the ISVA Refresher Programme, please visit the training pages of our website

The first delivery of the new 2-day ISVA Refresher Programme will take place online on 20 and 21 May 2024. To book your place, please complete our online booking form.



Cheers to 2023! Reflecting on this year’s highlights

Christmas is just around the corner, and we’re approaching the end of another busy and successful year! LimeCulture would like to take this opportunity to thank our invaluable partners, clients, colleagues, and friends for supporting us through 2023, which has been another remarkable year for LimeCulture.

Once again, we have expanded our offering of training and consultancy services; moving into new sectors and working with new clients, as well as maintaining our footprint within our existing sectors, and continuing to work alongside our loyal and valued customers and partners.

We have been privileged to be involved in a wide range of work again this year. It would be impossible to cover all our work in this blog, but some of our highlights from 2023 are:

Behind LimeCulture’s success, are the exceptional individuals who make up our team. Their unwavering dedication, unparalleled expertise and talent are the driving force behind our ability to consistently deliver and exceed our clients’ expectations. This year, we have appointed some fantastic individuals to join our incredible team to help us deliver on our 2022 – 2025 strategy, and together, we have made significant strides to further strengthen our ways of working, expand our skill set and enhance our knowledge in specialist areas. We’re ending the year in a strong position, much clearer, more efficient, and exceptionally effective.

During 2023 we have:

  • reviewed and strengthened our governance arrangements in the successful appointment of four impressive Non-Executive Directors to help support and shape our future direction of travel,
  • commissioned Manifestive, an external creative engagement agency to work with us to support our development and growth by strengthening our vision, mission, values and organisational culture,
  • invested time and energy into staff engagement, training, and development to enhance our individual and collective skills, knowledge, and confidence, to ensure that our workforce continues to be our biggest asset,
  • established a new Health and Wellbeing Steering Group to develop and implement our first Health and Wellbeing Strategy for our workforce.

As we move into 2024, we are very excited for the New Year and all that it promises to bring.

From all of us at LimeCulture, we wish each of you a peaceful festive break.

We look forward to seeing you in 2024.

New guidance for universities on embedding the Sexual Violence Liaison Officer model

LimeCulture has published new guidance for higher education institutions (HEIs) seeking to develop and embed Sexual Violence Liaison Officer (SVLO) support.

The guidance aims to support HEIs considering how best to embed SVLO support by clarifying the key roles and responsibilities of the SVLO role, setting out important considerations for ensuring the safe and effective SVLO provision, and capturing learning and insights from HEIs that have already successfully embedded SVLO models.

It also seeks to support HEIs that have already introduced SVLO support by sharing good practice and identifying further steps that can be taken to ensure SVLO provision is fully embedded in the institutional response to sexual violence.

The SVLO model was first developed by LimeCulture in 2016 in partnership with Keele University and the University of Greenwich, and today SVLOs are working within HEIs all across the UK to provide support, information and help to students and staff affected by sexual violence. LimeCulture has trained over 500 SVLOs across more than 80 HEIs, and those in SVLO roles increasingly play a critical role in transforming their institution’s response to sexual violence and creating a safe and inclusive culture.

Sam Whyte, Director of Sexual Violence and Education Services at LimeCulture, said:

“LimeCulture is privileged to work within higher education to transform the sexual violence response, and we believe that embedding specialist SVLO support is an essential lynchpin in an effective whole-institution response to sexual violence.

“We’re delighted to be able to publish this new guidance in response to the many HEIs that have sought our advice on how to successfully embed the SVLO model of support. It was fantastic to collaborate with so many SVLOs, SVLO managers and senior university leaders in developing the guidance, and to be able to capture their considerable insights from delivering SVLO support alongside our own experience and learning. We hope that this guidance will show what is possible, and encourage more institutions to commit the time, resources and effort needed to put in place the best possible SVLO support for those affected by sexual violence.”

Download Embedding Sexual Violence Liaison Officer (SVLO) Support: Guidance for Higher Education Institutions

Contact the LimeCulture Team at to discuss how we can support you.

LimeCulture hosts 3rd national conference for Sexual Violence Liaison Officers

LimeCulture was excited to host the third national conference for Sexual Violence Liaison Officers (SVLOs) in Birmingham on 9 November 2023, bringing together SVLOs from across the country to discuss emerging trends and challenges, share innovation and good practice, and celebrate their successes.

Stephanie Reardon, LimeCulture’s Chief Executive, said of the event, “We were absolutely delighted to welcome so many SVLOs from across the UK to our 3rd national SVLO conference and to hear from so many delegates about the incredible work they are doing to support students and staff.

“The focus we are currently seeing across the Higher Education sector to prevent and respond to cases of sexual misconduct is hugely important and we’re thrilled that the SVLO workforce is increasing in size and recognition. LimeCulture will continue to support and champion the SVLO workforce in transforming the response to sexual misconduct within universities.”

At the conference

The conference was superbly chaired by Professor Susan Lea, who opened the event with her own reflections on the evolution of the response in the UK’s Higher Education sector over the last decade, and the transformative work undertaken by SVLOs in more than 80 universities to prevent and respond to sexual violence.

During Session 1, delegates heard from Sarah Bevan from Universities UK and Jill Stevenson, Chair of AMOSSHE – The Student Services Organisation about the growing expectations of universities to respond to sexual violence and what this means for SVLO services.

In Session 2, Stephanie Reardon, LimeCulture’s Chief Executive, launched new guidance to support Higher Education Institutions to successfully develop and embed Sexual Violence Liaison Officer models. The guidance brings together the essential foundations of the role with learnings and insights from LimeCulture’s work with more than 80 HEIs, and has been developed in partnership with SVLOs, SVLO co-ordinators, and senior university leaders.

In Session 3, LimeCulture’s Head of Training, Maria Putz, considered the interaction between university sport and SVLOs within HEIs, and the very real risks posed both to individuals and to the HEIs response to sexual violence where these are not effectively integrated, and inappropriate cultures may be allowed to flourish. Maria took delegates through some of LimeCulture’s recent work in this area to safeguard and promote the wellbeing of students, volunteers and staff in university sport.

Roundtable discussions in Session 4 gave delegates the opportunity to explore with their peers the emerging trends and challenges for their institutions. Delegates shared and discussed insights and innovations from their own professional practice in tackling some of the issues relating to sexual misconduct cases.


After lunch, the focus of the conference shifted to celebrating good practice and innovation.

Speakers from the SVLO services at the University of Manchester, University of Greenwich, and University of Law showcased the work they are doing within each of their SVLO services to support both reporting and reported students and enable the wider university response to sexual violence.







PAPYRUS, the national charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide, spoke to delegates about effective strategies to prevent, intervene and respond to suicide in universities as part of a wider mental health strategy.


The LimeLight Awards 2023

To close the day, Professor Susan Lea presented this year’s LimeLight Awards, established in 2016 to recognise and celebrate the outstanding contributions and achievements of SVLOs. The nominations received this year for the LimeLight Awards were testament to the depth, breadth and quality of work going on across Higher Education to prevent and respond to sexual violence.

Professor Lea was joined by Philip Jones, the uncle of Saskia Jones, to present The Saskia Jones Award for Outstanding Achievement by an SVLO. This award is dedicated in memory of Saskia, who tragically lost her life in a terrorist attack at Fishmongers Hall in London in 2019. Saskia wanted passionately to see an improvement in the way that victims of sexual violence are treated. We were honoured to have Saskia’s mother, Michelle, join us for the conference.

The winners are:

The 2023 Saskia Jones Award for Outstanding Achievement by an SVLO

Laura Brown, University of Bristol

Laura has, alongside offering excellent support to many students, been instrumental in helping to develop the role of the SVLO across her university. She has taken responsibility for updating the university’s SVLO guidance, worked tirelessly to improve the service, deliver training to university staff, and to support her SVLO colleagues.

The 2023 LimeLight Award for Inspirational SVLO Manager

Louise Collins from the University of Chester

Louise has been the driving force behind the creation and development of the SVLO Team at Chester, working collaboratively with colleagues across the university community to create a truly integrated service offer for students.

The 2023 LimeLight Award for Outstanding SVLO Team or Service

Aberystwyth University

The SVLO Team at Aberystwyth have, together, quickly developed an exceptional service and shown incredible commitment to fostering a culture of empathy, compassion and understanding to address the needs of the survivors they support.

See all the fantastic shortlisted nominees here

Find out more about LimeCulture’s Universities work

LimeCulture establishes Professional Network for ISVA Managers

Over the last 12-18 months, LimeCulture has received multiple requests to establish a Professional Network that brings together Managers from the range of ISVA services operating across England and Wales. We are delighted to have now secured funding that will allow us to take this initiative forward.

LimeCulture already hosts a Professional Network for sexual violence service Commissioners and a Professional Network for ISVAs supporting people with Learning Disabilities. Both Professional Networks have been operating for more than a year and are extremely well attended. Furthermore, LimeCulture has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from members as to their value.

LimeCulture are keen to adopt a similar approach to a Professional Network for ISVA Managers that will:

  • enable Managers of ISVA Services to share ideas, learning and information to build confidence and capability,
  • explore issues, emerging trends, and best practice to strengthen the response to sexual violence in the context of ISVA Services,
  • create a safe and confidential space to problem-solve with peers,
  • promote collaboration and co-production, driving new and innovative ways of working,
  • support Network Members to reduce professional isolation and better maintain their personal and professional well-being,
  • pool local knowledge and expertise to inform the national policy context.

We are very keen to ensure that this opportunity is available to all Managers of ISVA services across England and Wales – irrespective of service type or size, commissioning/funding arrangements and/or membership/umbrella organisation affiliations – and that Managers are involved in driving the agenda for their Professional Network going forward.

LimeCulture are currently consulting with Managers of ISVA services to ensure that we can establish a Professional Network that brings the best possible value and have already sent out a short consultation survey to the ISVA services who are known to LimeCulture. However, we want to ensure that all ISVA Services Managers have the chance to join the Professional Network and help shape it, so if you are the Manager of an ISVA Service, please email who will send you a copy of the consultation survey and provide you with further information about the Professional Network.

Thank you!




SVLO LimeLight Awards 2023: Shortlisted nominees announced

As the countdown to our third national Sexual Violence Liaison Officer (SVLO) conference, Knowledge and Network, begins, we’re delighted to be again announcing the shortlisted nominees for the LimeLight Awards for Higher Education.

The LimeLight Awards celebrate the outstanding contributions and achievements of individual SVLOs, managers and teams who have demonstrated excellence, dedication and commitment to supporting those affected by sexual violence.

LimeCulture received a large number of nominations over the past few months which were testament to the depth, breadth and quality of the work going on across Higher Education to prevent and respond to sexual violence.

The shortlisted nominees for the 2023 SVLO LimeLight Awards are as follows:

The Saskia Jones Award for Outstanding Achievement by an SVLO

  1. Laura Brown, University of Bristol
  2. Rachel Lunn, Manchester Metropolitan University
  3. Sharon Bott, University of Northampton

Award for Outstanding SVLO Team/Service

  1. University of Swansea
  2. University of Aberystwyth
  3. University of Westminster

Award for an Inspirational SVLO Manager/Lead

  1. Jess Jackson, University of Aberystwyth
  2. Louise Collins, University of Chester
  3. Nicky Billingham, University of Swansea

The winners will be announced on Thursday 9 November during a special ceremony at our SVLO Conference in Birmingham.

We would like to congratulate each individual, team and manager that has been shortlisted for a LimeLight Award, as well as thanking everybody who took the time to nominate. From reading the impressive nominations, it is clear that all of the nominees – those shortlisted and those not – are hugely appreciated and respected by their peers, colleagues and managers, and by the people that they support.

Well done to each and every one of you.

Book a place at the SVLO conference