Sandra White MSP has today welcomed the announcement that a new toolkit to address gender-based violence in universities and colleges is to be launched.

The Scottish Government have announced that new practical guidance for universities to help tackle gender-based violence on campus has been published.

Guidance and training for staff, better data collection and well-publicised support information for students are some of the recommendations set out in the toolkit, which has been produced by the University of Strathclyde and funded by the Scottish Government.

The toolkit, which will be adapted for colleges, takes forward the principles set out in the #emilytest campaign set up by Fiona Drouet, in memory of her daughter Emily.

An additional £396,000 of Scottish Government funding will support the roll-out and implementation of the toolkit.

Sandra White, MSP for Glasgow Kelvin which is home to Strathclyde University, The University of Glasgow, Caledonian University & the City of Glasgow College, said:

“This new toolkit is a fantastic development in the fight against sexual violence and harassment in our educational institutions. Universities and colleges are places of learning and growth for people of all ages. It is therefore essential that they must be the safest of spaces for all of our students.

Today’s announcement is most welcome and to develop something so positive from such a tragic event as that which befell the Drouet family is indeed very special. I am sure Emily would be hugely proud of her mother’s efforts.”

Further and Higher Education Minister Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“Universities and colleges have a duty to foster a culture on campus that is clear in its condemnation of gender-based violence and gives staff and students the confidence to report unacceptable behaviour.

“That is why I have made the adoption of the policies and procedures outlined in this toolkit a key feature of my Letter of Guidance to the sector this year. I know universities and colleges are up for the challenge and I am keen to see this commitment translate into real, demonstrable action and change for women living, working and researching on campus.”

Fiona Drouet said:

“The launch of the toolkit, along with the Ministerial letter of guidance to the Scottish Funding Council, is a significant turning point with regards to gender-based violence on campus. It is a very important day for all Scottish students.

“This is Emily’s legacy and I hope both staff and students will feel empowered by this resource. Institutions now have the help they need to pass the #emilytest and I believe that had this been in place while our daughter was at university it could have saved her life.

“We couldn’t help Emily but the #emilytest can save others – a legacy Emily would be proud of.”

Dr Veena O’Halloran, the University of Strathclyde’s Secretary and Compliance Officer, said:

“Universities are well-placed to take a leading role in tackling gender-based violence wherever it may occur, through research, teaching and knowledge exchange. As a socially-progressive University, Strathclyde aims to be at the forefront of this work.

“We are delighted that the Equally Safe in Higher Education toolkit is being made available to universities across the country. We are determined that Scotland has an environment where every student has equal access to help and support, and where university communities – staff, students and alumni –  tackle gender-based violence head-on.”

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