Working together against gender-based violence

Mon, 06 Nov 2017 09:13:00 GMT

GCU is developing a comprehensive support network for students and staff affected by sexual and gender-based violence.

Campus security and domestic staff are the latest groups to receive awareness training following a 12-month pilot scheme.

Last year GCU became the first university in Scotland to launch a First Responders network, which allows students to disclose incidents to designated members of staff.

Now the University has published a Preventing and Responding to Gender-Based Violence policy.

The term gender-based violence covers rape and sexual assault, coercive control, psychological violence, sexual harassment, intimidation, and verbal abuse. The policy also addresses discrimination, bullying, and stalking, both physical and through text messages, emails and social media posts.

Jackie Main, Director of Student Life, said: "I am delighted at the hugely positive feedback we have received on our Preventing and Responding to Gender-Based Violence policy.

"We have also rolled out awareness training to frontline staff including our campus security team.

"At GCU, we seek to provide a consistent, caring, and timely response when any member of our University community is affected by such violence."

The First Responders offer guidance to what support is available and can advise on reporting incidents to the police. Students can visit, phone, or email the staff at any time.

The network includes Karen Lorimer, chair of the UK-wide Sexual Health Research Network, Professor Lesley McMillan, a specialist in criminology, and Katy Proctor, an expert on the impact of stalking.

Representatives from Women's Aid and Rape Crisis Scotland have helped train the 15-strong group over the last year.

Meanwhile, a group of GCU students, in collaboration with Rape Crisis Scotland, have been trained to deliver Sexual Violence Awareness Training to fellow students. The peer-to-peer sessions are designed to make more students aware of how, when and why acts of sexual and gender-based violence may occur.

Over 50 students have signed up for the 90-minute sessions since the start of term in September.