Equally Safe St Andrews

Friday 17 July 2020

The University of St Andrews requires that every member of our community treats others with dignity, courtesy and respect. The University will not tolerate any forms of unacceptable behaviour, abuse or violence.

We take very seriously our duty to ensure all students and staff enjoy a safe environment, and are determined in our approach to prevention and intervention of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and sexual misconduct.

The University adopts a broad definition of GBV articulated by the Scottish Government:

“GBV is a function of gender inequality and an abuse of male power and privilege. It takes the form of actions that result in physical, sexual and psychological harm or suffering to women and children, or affront to their human dignity, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life. It is men who predominantly carry out such violence, and women who are predominantly the victims of such violence. By referring to violence as gender-based, this definition highlights the need to understand violence within the context of women’s and girl’s subordinate status in society. Such violence cannot be understood, therefore, in isolation from the norms, social structure and gender roles within the community, which greatly influence women’s vulnerability to violence.”

The approach we take is based on making sure that support is available whether survivors choose to remain anonymous or not.

Actions already underway include:

We are introducing a compulsory orientation module for the upcoming academic year which will require students to learn more about consent and sexual assault before matriculating – all entrants and returners will be required to complete this online orientation.

Plans are underway to adopt an anonymous reporting system for Semester 1.

We are working closely with Police Scotland, local services and student representatives to ensure we clearly signpost reporting routes and how to access confidential and professional support services.

Since 2017, Student Services and the Students’ Association have partnered to organise the StAnd Together initiative, ‘Got Consent’. This includes a programme of student-led consent workshops covering themes around gender-based violence and signposts to support. We were the first University in Scotland to take this approach.

We’ve adopted the Equally Safe in Higher Education Toolkit to challenge gender-based violence across campus. As part of this work we have developed a policy related to gender-based violence, recognised across the sector as an excellent resource

We are also undertaking work to ensure that our staff, particularly those in Student Services, are trained to support assault victims. Over the past year, we have worked with national agencies, including Rape Crisis Scotland, to provide gender-based violence training to University staff (including Student Services and Human Resources). Prior to this, several Student Services staff received Sexual Violence Liaison Officer training delivered by Lime Culture and in collaboration with other Scottish HEIs.

Our Wellbeing, Counselling and Mental Health service is accredited by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in partnership with the British Psychological Society, pronouncing our service as safe, well-led, effective, caring and responsive to people’s needs. And, in addition, Student Services has a Participation and Engagement Group comprising service users which helps us to develop different areas of the service in response to student feedback and concerns.

We also conduct an annual survey of service users (90% of users agreed or strongly agreed that they were satisfied with the service in our latest survey) and work closely with elected Student Sabbatical Officers throughout the year to ensure our support is as wide-ranging and effective as possible.

Vice-Principal Education (Proctor), Professor Clare Peddie, said: “I am committed to doing everything in my power to drive an institution-wide approach to cultural change. Gender-based Violence has no place in our community and I will continue to engage with students, staff, expert specialist voluntary and community organisations to support the delivery of student-centred services, improve students’ experiences, and instill confidence that the institution will support survivors.

“I want to encourage all students to help with this work by actively engaging through their elected representatives, and helping to progress policy development through democratic structures.”

If you, or someone you know, has experienced any form of sexual misconduct you can contact the following for help and advice.

Student services (support)

Email: [email protected]
Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2020

Student Conduct Officer (report)

Email: [email protected]
Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 4107

Fife Rape & Sexual Assault Centre

Phone: +44 (0)1592 642336

Rape Crisis Scotland

Phone: +44 (0)8088 01 03 02

AMINA – Muslim Women’s Resource Centre

Phone: +44 (0)808 801 0301

Revenge Porn Helpline

Phone: +44 (0)345 6000 459

Kingdom Abuse Survivors Project

Phone: +44 (0)1592 644217

LGBT Domestic Abuse Scotland Survivors UK

Phone: +44 (0)203 598 3898

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