From government policy to university priority : reframing gender based violence in Scotland

McCarry, Melanie and Donaldson, Anni (2017) From government policy to university priority : reframing gender based violence in Scotland. In: Tackling Gender Based Violence in Universities, 2017-03-14 - 2017-03-14, Newcastle University.

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In Scotland, the majority of victims of GBV (including domestic abuse, rape, sexual assault and forced marriage) and a substantial proportion are aged between 16 and 25 years. While Scotland has similarities with UK-wide approaches to preventing gender-based violence, its distinctiveness comes from its commitment to framing national policy within the context of a gendered analysis of abuse emphasising the inter-play between gendered power relations and gender inequality. ‘Equally Safe’ outlines current Scottish Government policy for the prevention and elimination of VAW. Scottish universities have a crucial role to play in achieving this strategic vision and there is now growing recognition that Scottish HEIs also have a responsibility to reframe existing policy frameworks in order to incorporate robust measures to prevent GBV on their campuses. Of the estimated 223,000 students in Scotland, 57% are women. Recent NUS research (including a small Scottish sample) found that 1 in 4 women students in the UK were subject to unwanted sexual behaviour during their studies. There is clearly a need to investigate the wider extent of GBV on Scottish campuses. As part of a wider research and KE team, the presenters are currently implementing Equally Safe in a HEI setting. The two-year Equally Safe in Higher Education (ESHE) project will generate new data on attitudes to, and the extent of, gender-based violence on campus and produce a national toolkit for Higher Education. This paper will outline our distinctive partnership approach and current progress in implementing national policy across four work-streams: Prevention; Early Intervention; Corporate Policy, Campus Safety and Staff Development; Curriculum Development and Knowledge Exchange. Additionally, this paper will present early findings from the research stream which includes a campus-wide survey and staff and student interviews.