Publication - Minutes

Equally Safe in Colleges and Universities minutes: September 2019

Published: 23 Mar 2020
Location: Victoria Quay, Edinburgh

Minutes of the meeting held on 20 September 2019.

23 Mar 2020
Equally Safe in Colleges and Universities minutes: September 2019

Attendees and apologies


  • Gareth Allen, Scottish Government (Chair)
  • Steven Paxton, Scottish Government (Secretariat)
  • Angela Voulgari (Click Project)
  • Fiona Drouet, Emily Test
  • Sorcha Kirker, NUS Scotland
  • Susannah Lane, Universities Scotland
  • Kirstin McPhee, Scottish Government
  • Kim McLaren, Scottish Government
  • Kate Anderson, Scottish Government
  • Natalie Wilson, Scottish Government
  • Emma Roberts, Scottish Funding Council
  • Samantha Kioch, Improvement Service
  • Julie Marshall, Police Scotland
  • Jill Stevenson, AMOSSHE
  • Anke Kossurok, University of Strathclyde
  • Melanie McCarry, University of Strathclyde


  • Anni Donaldson, University of Strathclyde 
  • Pam Currie, EIS  
  • Rachel Adamson, SFC 
  • Lauren O’Rourke, Rape Crisis Scotland
  • Kathryn Dawson, Rape Crisis Scotland 
  • Isabelle Kerr, Glasgow and Clyde Rape Crisis 
  • Saira Kapasi, Scottish Government 
  • Scott Anderson, Education Scotland 
  • Kay Steven, Advance HE 
  • Laura James, Improvement Service
  • Susie Dalton, Scottish Women’s Aid

Items and actions

Welcome, introductions and apologies

The Chair welcomed Sorcha Kirker, NUS Scotland (by Skype/phone), Angela Voulgari, SACRO (presenter), Kim McLaren, Scottish Government, Emma Roberts, SFC and Samantha Kioch, Improvement Service to the meeting of the working group. 

Minutes of the meeting of the working group

The working group approved the minutes of its meeting of 25 June 2019. 

Matters arising

There were no matters arising. 

Equally Safe in Colleges and Universities work plan 2019/20

The working group received a series of short update reports in relation to the work plan 2019/20. 

Universities Scotland: Review of Student Misconduct Guidelines, Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) and UCAS

Susannah Lane Universities Scotland, advised that the Student Misconduct Guidelines Review Group would be led by Professor Gilles, Principal at Glasgow Caledonian University. The Group would have its first meeting in November 2019. The group’s work will be further informed by the findings and recommendations of the Equality and Human Rights Commission Inquiry into Racial Harassment in British Universities which will be published later in the autumn.

The Universities Secretaries Group will further consider NDAs at its meeting on 27 September and Susannah will share a draft copy of this when finalised. 

She further advised that Universities Scotland is working with institutions to establish what arrangements they have in place in light of the UCAS changes. Universities Scotland will submit a formal submission to the Scottish Parliament in connection with the Disclosure Scotland Bill and UUK will publish its Changing the Culture: Two Years on Report at the end of September 2019.

The working group noted the position.

Scottish Funding Council: Outcome Agreement and Gender Action Plan Processes

Emma Roberts, SFC, presented a paper which had been published by the SFC on Gender Based Violence in Outcome Agreements. The report’s recommendations are:

  • there is a need for the college sector to develop a more robust response to GBV, although there is evidence of excellent work taking place in certain institutions
  • institutions should be encouraged to develop their reporting and data capture arrangements, potentially through best-practice sharing or the promotion of standardised approaches
  • GBV policy and provision must be integrated more fully into the wider work of the Gender Action Plan, with institutions recognising that gender inequality is an underlying cause of GBV  

Emma further advised: 

  • that the SFC would be publishing new Outcome Agreement Guidance 20/21. The whole guidance has been condensed for this year due to feedback that it was too long, so there is not the same level of detail on GBV - however there is  a key focus on data capture arrangements; 
  • that a Gender Action Plan Networking Group, consisting of institutional GAP leads, would meet at the beginning of October for SFC to share much more focused Gender Action Plan (GAP) guidance 2020-23, and to share best practice and map barriers to progress
  • SFC would undertake a review of current Gender Action Plans
  • that it would be helpful to align the meetings of the Gender Governance Group with those of the ESCU Working Group. The Group, in noting the position and that the Networking Group would consist of practioners from colleges and universities, requested details of the membership of the Networking Group.

Emily Test Charity: current position and proposed Charter Mark Project

Mrs Fiona Drouet, Emily Test Charity 

  • advised of her Charity’s work to develop a Gender Based Violence Charter Mark for Universities. She has met with Student Minds regarding their proposed Mental Health Charter and with LGBT Youth Scotland on how their work would integrate with the work of the Charity
  •  intimated the forthcoming Emilytest - Managing Misconduct in Higher Education (MMHE) event on 27th November in Glasgow which aimed to raise awareness of the role of universities in safeguarding their students and staff and, in particular, that staff have enhanced skills to conduct internal inquiries safely. Confirmed participants included Police Scotland, ASSIST,  Michael Murray, a trauma informed neuro-anaesthetist and Director of Medics Against Violence (MAV), Rape Crisis Scotland and Scottish Women’s Aid
  • explained that she is continuing to work with UCAS and Universities Scotland around the Declaration of Criminal convictions issue, has visited a secondary school in Arran to share her work and make the connections between schools and further and higher education and exploring the provision of risk assessment training for security staff.  

The working group, in noting the position, highlighted, the importance of the use of language in inquiries and referred to the Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014

University of Strathclyde and Rape Crisis Scotland

Dr Melanie McCarry, University of Strathclyde gave an update on universities adopting the tool kit. 

Melanie reported on the plans for a series of regional events around Equally Safe in Dundee (December 2019), UHI (February 2020) and in Glasgow (March 2020). She further advised that the third International European Conference on Domestic Violence in Oslo had highlighted the work in Scotland and that a group of academics and practitioners that had attended were planning a day event to present their papers to those that could not travel to Oslo; there are plans to run this within the Sixteen Days of Action. She also reported on the Fearless Glasgow consortium proposal.

In their absence, Melanie reported on the work of Rape Crisis Scotland and the progress made in the development of training and on line tools, currently being tested, by Rape Crisis Scotland.

Dr Anke Kossurok advised that six universities were taking part in the research project, three are currently considering whether or not to take part in Strathclyde’s ESCU research and nine were not participating with the University of Strathclyde team at this point. Of the six participating universities, one university had completed the study, one is close to completing data collection and qualitative analysis and, of the remaining four, three had secured ethics approval from their university, and some are in the process of obtaining institutional approval and identifying a local research lead.

The working group noted the position.

Activities/messages to support Sixteen Days of Action

The working group agreed to share details of their activities around the Sixteen Days of Action. 

Presentation: the Click Project

The working group received a presentation from Angela Voulgari, SACRO in relation to the Click Project. Click is a “partnership of Scottish services, working together improve the provision and accessibility of  frontline support services for women involved in online prostitution across Scotland”. 

The working group thanked Angela for the presentation, copies of which would be distributed to the working group. 

Any other business

There was no additional business.

Date of next meeting

Steven Paxton will distribute a doodle poll in order that arrangements can be made for the December 2019 meeting.