Oxford sex assault policy case dismissed

The University of Oxford alumna hoping to sue the institution over its sexual assault investigation policy has had her case thrown out

May 8, 2015

The High Court today refused permission to go ahead with the challenge, funded by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The legal case of Elizabeth Ramey, who has waived her right to anonymity, argued that Oxford’s policy of investigating rape claims only under certain circumstances was unlawful and discriminatory.

Ms Ramey, who was previously a postgraduate student at the institution, reported a sexual assault in 2011. She said that the university failed to investigate the allegation properly or take any action against the alleged perpetrator, a fellow student.

The case was investigated by the police but the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to pursue the case.

She later made a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator, which was partially upheld, and the OIA recommended that Oxford clarify its policy.

But Ms Ramey’s case, supported by the End Violence Against Women Coalition, claimed that Oxford’s new policy indirectly discriminated against women by creating a hostile environment and risked violating a woman’s human rights.

This is the second time that a legal challenge against the policy has been refused. An initial case had previously been refused on paper.

A spokesperson from the EVAW Coalition said that the issue of sexual violence at universities was still extremely important. “We will not be leaving this issue alone,” she added.

holly.else@tesglobal.com 

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