Publication - Minutes

Equally Safe in Colleges and Universities minutes: June 2019

Published: 23 Sep 2019
Date of meeting: 25 Jun 2019
Location: St Andrew's House, Edinburgh

Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 25 June 2019 at St Andrew's House, Edinburgh.

23 Sep 2019
Equally Safe in Colleges and Universities minutes: June 2019

Attendees and apologies


  • Mr Richard Lochhead MSP, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science
  • Gareth Allen, Advanced Learning and Science, Scottish Government (Chair)
  • Saira Kapasi, Head of VAWG and Barnahus Justice Unit, Violence against Women and Girls, Scottish Government 
  • Steven Paxton, Advanced Learning and Directorate, Scottish Government (Secretariat)
  • Paul Wilson, Advanced Learning and Science Directorate, College Policy Team
  • Kirstin McPhee, The Equality Unit, Scottish Government
  • Fiona Drouet, Emily Test
  • Anni Donaldson, University of Strathclyde
  • Shuwanna Aaron, NUS Scotland Women’s Officer
  • Linda Somerville NUS Scotland Director
  • Detective Inspector Julie Marshall, Police Scotland
  • Scott Anderson, Education Scotland
  • Dr Susan Cairncross, Universities Scotland/Edinburgh Napier University 
  • Rachel Adamson, Scottish Funding Council
  • Dr Laura James, Government Improvement Service
  • Lauren O’Rourke, Rape Crisis Scotland
  • Kay Steven, Advance HE
  • Dr Davena Rankin, UNISON
  • Pam Currie, EIS


  • Harry Wood, Justice Directorate, Scottish Government
  • Kate Anderson, Justice Directorate, Scottish Government
  • Natalie Wilson, Advanced Learning and Directorate, Scottish Government
  • Jill Stevenson, AMOSSHE
  • Susannah Lane, Universities Scotland
  • Sandy MacLean, College Development Network
  • Suzanne Marshall, College Development Network
  • Roseanna Macdonald, Scottish Women's Aid
  • Mhairi McGowan, ASSIST Glasgow
  • Isabelle Kerr, Glasgow and Clyde Rape Crisis
  • Cara Spence, LGBT Youth Scotland
  • Kathryn Dawson, Rape Crisis Scotland

Items and actions

1.    Welcome remarks

The Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science welcomed everyone to the meeting of the working group. The Minister highlighted the working group’s achievements to date, which included the launch of the tool kit, GBV staff support cards and GBV and student mental health stickers, the regional events and the development of materials for staff and student education. 

The Minister noted that these achievements had been supported by a high level of partnership, commitment, and effective joint working; and by the work being informed by the lived experience of the suffering GBV brings to individuals and families. Fiona Drouet and the Emily Test Campaign had movingly shared Emily’s story at the working group and across Scotland and Emily’s voice has informed the working group and all its work. 

The Minister looked forward to the agenda for the meeting, including hearing about the work plan, which sets out the tasks for the working group for the next year and thanked the group for their ongoing work and commitment. 

2.    Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes of the meeting of the working group of 24 April 2019 were approved subject to a minor textual amendment.

3.    Matters arising

The working group considered and approved, with minor textual amendments, a revised version of the Equally Safe in Colleges and Universities position statement. This would now be published on Khub.

4.    Equally Safe in Colleges and Universities work plan 2019/20  

The working group, in considering its work plan for 2019/20, received a number of short, informative presentations:

  • Rachel Adamson, Scottish Funding Council, advised that, as part of the review of outcome agreements, tackling GBV should be better linked to gender equality and institutions supported as they develop data capture and referral pathways
  • Dr Susan Cairncross, Edinburgh Napier University/Universities Scotland provided an update on the Student Misconduct Guidelines Review. She highlighted that existing guidance needed to reflect the Scottish context, and needed to be trauma informed and informed by a gendered analysis. The proposed revised guidelines would have a strong focus on GBV and the work, overseen by the University Secretaries Group, would commence in September 2019
  • Lauren O’Rourke, Rape Crisis Scotland explained that training was being delivered to staff about recognising GBV, challenging myths and how to respond to disclosures. A full first responder training programme has been delivered in conjunction with local GBV organisations in Ayrshire. Peer education and bystander primary prevention work has been delivered in pilot colleges and universities. A report on the pilot will be presented to the working group
  • Anni Donaldson, University of Strathclyde advised that the ESCU Team were supporting the continued adoption and adaption of the tool kit across the sector. She further advised that Ayrshire and Glasgow Kelvin College were currently piloting the tool kit, and that this was being evaluated, and highlighted the successful regional events which had taken place in March 2019, and that regional collaborative approaches were in formation. Anni also welcomed the use of Khub and underscored the importance of the research exchange element of the work of the ESCU Team which would provide a baseline for reporting
  • Mrs Fiona Drouet, Emily Test, advised that the Emily Test charity had now been established and was registered with OSCR. She welcomed the increased partnership between colleges and universities, the emerging regional approach and whole systems approach. She highlighted some of the aspirations of the charity including a Gender Based Violence Charter and a national conference on Investigative Skills. Emily Test had applied for funding from the Scottish Government and had already approached a corporate partner

The Minister reiterated his thanks to the working group for their activities and highlighted the importance of the work in addressing the wider aims of Equally Safe. 

Following discussion, the working group:

  • agreed the proposed work plan, highlighting that it is a living document
  • highlighted the importance of research capturing what works in terms of prevention, attitude and behaviour changes as well as reporting
  • noted the possibility of themed seminars arising from the research being delivered at an event March 2020
  •  acknowledged the significant role of women in the work around gender based violence, the importance of engaging with male allies, the need for active engagement with students and the effective resourcing for local organisations
  • invited the Minister to meet again with the working group in 2020

6.    Date of next meeting

The working group agreed that their next meeting would be in September 2019.
The meeting ended at 13:45.