AN investigation by the Sunday Herald has revealed that fewer than 50 complaints of sexual misconduct were recorded by Scotland’s colleges and universities in each of the last three years. We know from surveys by the National Union of Students (NUS) and from the harrowing testimony of brave survivors of abuse that the problem on campuses is far greater.

A quarter of students have fended off unwelcome sexual advances and four in 10 have been the victims of predatory staff who abuse their position of power.

We report testimony from a number of brave students in today's edition. Their stories make some distressing reading. From manipulation, groping and unwanted sexual advances, to being raped while they slept. The really sad part is that these stories are far from uncommon. However, clearly these students don't feel able to come forward. Respected charity Zero Tolerance suggested some students don’t complain to institutions because they fear academic consequences such as a loss of access to teaching, references or resources. There is also the issue of not being believed and the NUS warned that students can be unsure of where to report sexual misconduct, or can lack confidence that their complaint will be handled appropriately.

Therefore, the spotlight must fall on Scotland’s colleges and universities, which have a responsibility to ensure that students who have been sexually harassed or assaulted can report incidents easily and without fear of reprisals – and can have confidence in the system.

Human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar, who is the current rector of the university of Glasgow, has suggested all institutions should be compelled to publish statistics showing the number of incidents. This is one step that would encourage Scotland’s colleges and universities to tackle the problem of sexual misconduct on campuses.

One thing is certain, as NUS and Zero Tolerance state, each institution must review its sexual misconduct reporting procedures, and make the system fit for purpose. That is the only way there will be a change in the culture which means so few students report incidents.