Student-led training programme on preventing sexual assault launched

31 August 2016

Student-led training programme on preventing sexual assault launched

Student-led training programme launched in partnership with Rape Crisis Scotland

In a ground-breaking initiative, Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), the University of Glasgow and their Student Representative Bodies have partnered with Rape Crisis Scotland to launch a student-led training programme on preventing sexual violence.  

The training programme, running this week, brings together students from both universities to undergo five days of intensive training which will equip them with the skills to deliver sensitive and informative workshops to fellow students.

Erin Ross, Vice-President for Student Support of the University of Glasgow Student Representative Council and one of the lead organisers of the initiative described it as “another significant step on the road to a culture change that will enable students to get involved in challenging attitudes towards sexual violence and be supportive to survivors and victims”.

Kathryn Dawson from Rape Crisis Scotland said: “I am delighted that there is such strong commitment from students and university staff and management to proactively address sexual violence. The reality is that some people experience rape and sexual assault, including in universities, and the impacts can be profound. We have been supported in this initiative by a woman who was raped while at university, who has worked with us to share her views and to support students to tackle these challenging issues, in the hope that experiences like hers will be prevented.”

The innovative training course will be delivered by Rape Crisis Scotland but has been shaped for and by students. Issues that will be explored during training include myth-busting, challenging perceptions, consent, bystander intervention and procedures for reporting and accessing support.

The newly trained students will start rolling out their skills to other students across campus from Freshers’ Week this month.

Glasgow Caledonian University’s Jackie Main, Director of Student Experience, said: “GCU, the University for the Common Good, is delighted to support these important workshops which are part of a wider gender-based violence initiative we have been progressing in partnership with our Students’ Association over the past year. We recognise this is an issue that affects all of society and we are committed to helping tackle this by raising awareness among our students and staff and by putting in place a range of progressive measures to prevent and respond to all forms of sexual violence."

The workshop is part of a larger body of work led jointly by a board of academics, students and service staff who have teamed up to develop a cross-university strategy towards tackling gender-based violence.

Third year Occupational Therapy student Michelle Candlish said: “I feel the training really empowers people and is applicable to life both within and outside University. For me, personally, I can apply this knowledge while on placements and can take these skills into the world of work. After each session, I’ve found myself reflecting and thinking a lot about what I’ve learned.”