The UniSAFE Toolkit

A valuable resource to support higher education institutions and research organisations in ending gender-based violence.


We’re excited to present the UniSAFE Toolkit!  

From 2021 to 2024, ESF has been coordinating and leading the communication and dissemination activities for UniSAFE, an EU-funded project addressing gender-based violence in higher education and research and institutional responses. It has generated in-depth knowledge which has then been translated into operational recommendations and tools to address gender-based violence in higher education institutions and research organisations, now available in the UniSAFE Toolkit.   

While research organisations and higher education institutions increasingly acknowledge their institutional responsibility in addressing gender-based violence, setting up effective policies and tools to address this remains challenging. 

Where to start? How can institutions promote cultural change? What key elements should a policy include? How should an institution respond to disclosure? How to better protect students and staff? What are some best practices from other institutions in Europe? And what is the scale of gender-based violence within European higher education and research organisations? 

This toolkit has been designed to support higher education institutions and research organisations in addressing gender-based violence: whether they are just starting to reflect on how to address this issue, designing a policy or are more advanced and seeking to improve an institutional policy or its implementation.  

The materials developed and collected are based on a holistic framework – the 7P model – which will help institutions develop and implement comprehensive policies, covering all aspects such as prevalence, prevention, protection, prosecution, provisions of services, and partnerships. 

The materials underpinning the toolkit were developed within the UniSAFE project and consist of the theoretical framework (Mergaert et al., 2023), two sets of policy mappings, a quantitative survey, in-depth interviews with victims/survivors, and institutional case studies. All outputs from UniSAFE’s research are available here. Additionally, nine workshops were run between November 2022 and June 2023 with researchers and experts to gather input for the development of tools to address and stop gender-based violence in higher education and research organisations. The empirical material for the different strands of the UniSAFE research has been collected in European academic settings, higher education, and research institutions. This toolkit addresses different aspects that are required for a comprehensive institutional approach to addressing gender-based violence and does not focus on any specific form of violence. 

We hope you find this toolbox inspiring as well as useful to develop effective policies and implement concrete measures in your institution, as we work together towards providing students and staff a safe place to study and work!

Browse the toolkit


Key components:   
** Glossary of gender-based violence: This section provides definitions to establish a common conceptual framework for addressing gender-based violence in Europe, considering variations in legal and policy language across different countries. 

** Facts and Figures: UniSAFE conducted a comprehensive survey from January to May 2022, involving 46 universities and research organisations in 15 European countries. With over 42,000 responses from staff and students, this survey is the largest in the European Research Area, and this section summarises its key findings. 

** Legal and policy framework: Here, you'll find insights into international and national-level laws and policies related to gender-based violence for each of the countries covered in UniSAFE's research. An interactive map is also available for a detailed overview of policy-related information. 

** The 7P framework theorises gender-based violence policies, focusing on Policy, Prevalence, Prevention, Protection, Prosecution, Provision of services, and Partnerships. 

** A guide to implement comprehensive policies featuring guidance on the design and effective implementation of a comprehensive policy framework to address gender-based violence. 

** Assessment tool and action plan component is designed for institutions at the early stages of policy development to evaluate their capacity to effectively implement change in addressing gender-based violence. It includes a guide for creating a clear and detailed action plan for policy design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. 

** Inspiring practices: Featuring successful international practices and initiatives aligned with the 7P framework. 

** Resources and capacity-building materials: This section provides a wealth of valuable resources, including step-by-step guides, training materials, webinars, and additional resources to support institutions in their efforts to eradicate gender-based violence. Examples include resources to develop: 

Browse the toolkit


Discover all UniSAFE's research outputs:

  •  A set of recommendations for policy-makers to reinforce the legal and policy frameworks for ending gender-based violence, but also for higher education institutions and research organisations, funding organisations, staff and student associations, and umbrella organisations to effectively address gender-based violence in academia and research.