Survey shows harassment at Estonian universities not dealt with adequately ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

University of Tartu main building
University of Tartu main building Source: Vladislava Snurnikova/ERR

The first ever survey looking at the handling of harassment in Estonian universities, including that based on gender as well as sexual harassment, has found deficiencies in procedures or safeguards, according to a report on current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" Tuesday night.

The survey was conducted at six public universities in the country and polled 1,500 people online, according to ERR's online Estonian news.

The sample was reportedly not, however, representative enough to make a generalization about the entire student population, but nonetheless revealed most respondents had experienced harassment at some point.

"Gender-based harassment is often linked to gender inequality, and often also to discrimination," said the study's director, Ehti Järv.

"With sexual harassment, it's easier to spot since it often involves some form of physical contact," Järv added.

Harassment has an inherent power-based relationship, Järv noted, and the study demonstrated that the perpetrators of gender-based harrassment and discrimination were predominantly male staff members at the higher education institutions.

However, sexual harassment was more the preserve of students, the report said.

Mait Klassen, Rector at the Estonian University of Life Sciences (Eesti Maaülikool), said there is no hard and fast procedure for dealing with harassment cases at present, though one was in the pipeline.

"We have solved them on a case-by-case basis. But a new set of rules, I hope, will be ready some time near the end of March," Klassen said, adding that his institution had sometimes needed to approach law enforcement agencies in the toughest cases.

Other universities surveyed include Tartu University and Tallinn Technical University (TalTech).

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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