File on 4 exposes serious flaws in the way many universities mismanage reports of sexual assaults and harassment and how some students believe they’re re-victimised and bullied into keeping their complaints quiet.
Up until three years ago the guidelines for universities said sexual misconduct should never be investigated internally. But in 2016 guidelines published by Universities UK, encouraged universities to take on these cases in-house as civil matters, with allegations to be examined on ‘the balance of probabilities’, rather than the criminal court standard of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. But students tell reporter Fiona Foster how they believe universities are more interested in protecting their reputation than their students and serial offenders are still at large. Even when perpetrators are dealt with, they’re often given derisory punishments.
The Office For Students says it has invested more than two million pounds in initiatives to work out ways of addressing the issue and that it has seen evidence of some universities managing complaints effectively. The organisation says if it sees evidence of a university not dealing with complaints it has the power to intervene.
Reporter: Fiona Foster
Producer: Kate West
Editor: Carl Johnston
Image credit; Christopher Furlong\Getty
Sex Offenders Fleeing Abroad
Every year thousands of offenders are convicted of sexual offences and subjected to a monitoring regime designed to minimise their risk to the public. But critics claim the system for managing offenders in England and Wales is flawed and allows offenders to slip through the net and flee abroad. File on 4 has discovered there are 559 sex offenders who are currently missing. One of them is Daniel Erickson-Hull – a self-styled pastor who was convicted of downloading hundreds of indecent images of children. On his release from prison he was subject to an order banning him from having unsupervised contact with children, unsupervised use of the internet and from travelling abroad without informing the authorities. But he ignored the restrictions and fled abroad. File on 4 tracks Erickson-Hull down to Bulgaria where he’s immersed himself in a Roma community and posted videos of himself with dozens of children online. File on 4 asks whether the laws designed to keep the public safe from convicted sex offenders are fit for purpose.
Reporter: Paul Kenyon
Producer: Ben Robinson
Editor: Carl Johnston
Hidden Figures? The True Scale of Military Sexual Allegations
Ten years ago the alleged rape and subsequent suicide of Royal Military Police Corporal, Anne-Marie Ellement, highlighted problems with the way the British military handles allegations of sexual offences against female service personnel. File on 4 investigates ten years on, what has changed?
There's no doubt that the top echelons of the armed forces take such cases very seriously indeed. Speaking about recent allegations, the Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith said it was unacceptable and in stark contrast with everything the British Army represents. But how far has that attitude filtered down the ranks in reality?
File on 4 hears from current and former female service personnel who alleged that they were sexually harassed, assaulted or raped, about how they feel they were let down by their chain of command when they reported their ordeal. We hear their criticism of the official Services Complaint system. And why they think the incompetence of the service police undermined their attempts to gain justice.
We also hear from former members of the service police itself who explain why they think that their former comrades are not fit to investigate serious crime and why the system must be reformed. For its part, the Ministry of Defence tells the programme it accepts there are shortcomings and that changes are on the way,
Presenter: Paul Connolly
Producer: Paul Waters
Editor: Andrew Smith
Photo credit: MoD
With the rise in ethical consumerism, File on 4 explores the hidden suffering of tea workers in Africa. Attacked because of their tribal identity, reporter Anna Cavell hears harrowing stories of murder, rape and violence and asks whether their employers, Unilever, could or should have done more to protect them from the violence.
Update 30 July 2019: The Supreme Court has now refused the tea pluckers leave to appeal against earlier judicial decisions which didn’t go in their favour. This was the last legal avenue open to them in England. Lawyers acting for the workers say they now plan to discuss the case with the UN Working Group for Business and Human Rights.
Producer: Nicola Dowling
Reporter: Anna Cavell
Editors: Gail Champion & Andrew Smith
Photo credit:; carefullychosen\Getty Images
Steeling for the Future
With British Steel going into liquidation last month File on 4 investigates the story behind the collapse of the iconic British brand. Reporting from the frontline in Scunthorpe, the programme hears from those in the town fearful of a future that could see 5000 workers losing their jobs and tens of thousands more indirectly.
The programme also looks at Greybull Capital – the investment company that bought British Steel for £1 from its previous owner Tata. But Greybull have a chequered history when it comes to their success in revitalising distressed concerns. File on 4 also asks if the government is doing enough to create a level playing field where British Steel can compete in a highly competitive world market.
Photo credit: AFP/Getty Images.