Publication - Minutes

Equally Safe in Further and Higher Education minutes: June 2018

Published: 20 Aug 2018
Date of meeting: 1 Jun 2018
Location: Victoria Quay, Edinburgh

Minutes from the meeting of the Equally Safe in Further and Higher Education Working Group held on 1 June 2018.

20 Aug 2018
Equally Safe in Further and Higher Education minutes: June 2018

Attendees and apologies


  • Saira Kapasi, Head of Violence Against Women and Girls, Justice Unit, Scottish Government (chair)
  • Gareth Allen, Strategic Lead Higher Education Funding, Governance, and Student Support, Directorate of Advanced Learning and Science, Scottish Government 
  • Steven Paxton, Directorate of Advanced Learning and Science, Scottish Government (secretariat)
  • James Boyce, Head of College Policy, Scottish Government
  • Claire Kellet, College Policy Team, Scottish Government
  • Joanna McLaughlin, National Violence Against Women Co-ordinator, Improvement Service
  • Suzanne Marshall, College Development Network
  • Fiona Burns, Scottish Funding Council
  • Susannah Lane, Head of Public Affairs, Universities Scotland
  • Heather Dunk, Principal, Ayrshire College
  • Fiona McMillan, ASSIST Glasgow
  • Mrs Fiona Drouet, #emilytest 
  • Anni Donaldson, Knowledge Exchange Fellow and Equally Safe in Higher Education Lead, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Strathclyde
  • Kelly Claffey, Equally Safe Higher Education Team, University of Strathclyde
  • Isabelle Kerr, Glasgow and Clyde Rape Crisis Centre
  • Shuwanna Aaron, NUS Scotland, Women’s Officer
  • Roseanna Macdonald, Scottish Women’s Aid
  • Kathryn Dawson, Rape Crisis Scotland
  • Marie-Claire Chaffey, Senior Procurator Fiscal Depute, Crown Office and  Procurator Fiscal Service
  • Pam Currie, EIS
  • Emma Phillips, Unison



  • Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, Principal, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen
  • Dr Matson Lawrence, Scottish Funding Council
  • Nicola Cogan, Justice Directorate, Scottish Government
  • Scott Anderson, Education Scotland
  • Detective Inspector  Julie Marshall, National Rape Task Force and Human Trafficking Unit, Police Scotland


Items and actions

Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes of the meeting of the Working Group of 13 March 2018 were submitted and approved subject to a textual amendment to show the correct the spelling of Roseanna MacDonald, Scottish Women’s Aid.

Matters arising

Saira advised of a number of matters arising and that these would be addressed as undernoted: 

  • Item 3: Toolkit roll out - addressed under Item 3 on this agenda  
  • Item 4: Fresher’s Week and start of college year – sub-group reports are at Item 6 of this agenda
  • Item 5: Letter of Guidance from the Minister to the Scottish Funding Council has now been issued (4 April 2018) and shared with the Working Group 
  • Item 7: Engaged Conversations – addressed under Item 5
  • Item 7: Review of Pinset Mason Guidelines. There was an action for the Scottish Government to pull together a review group to look at these.  This will be addressed under Item 7

Equally Safe in Further and Higher Education implementation plan

Anni Donaldson explained that the University of Strathclyde was now working on, amongst other things, the dissemination and implementation of the Toolkit across Scotland, early adopters and completing the Phase Two Review. 

The College Development Network has also been looking at current College provision.  Reference was also made to the work that Ayrshire College has undertaken around staff training, joint working with Police Scotland, NHS and the Third Sector. 

The College Development Network were already in discussion with the University of Strathclyde about adaptation of the Tool Kit.  It was acknowledged that there could be learning points for the Higher Education Sector, particularly around the College use of Safeguarding.  

Anni Donaldson is facilitating a session at the College Expo Event later in June, which was fully subscribed to.  Thereafter, it was suggested that a community of practice be formed with a web site (part of the independent hosting of the Tool Kit) , events and topic themes. Good examples were Safe Lives, Trans Edu and the VAWG Knowledge Hub

The Scottish Funding Council will be hosting a Gender Event in October 2018 and would be willing to make this a community of practice event.

Rape Crisis Scotland is working closely with the University of Strathclyde in the recruitment of a Training and Education Coordinator.

Action: Anni Donaldson, University of Strathclyde to report back to the next meeting of the Working Group on (a) progress with implementation; and (b) the development of an on-line platform and community of practice for the Toolkit.

Supporting local partnerships between universities/colleges and local services infrastructure

Steven Paxton introduced a map of Scotland which plots Rape Crisis Centres, Women’s Aid Centres, VAWG Partnerships and FE/HE Institutions using Rape Crisis Centre geographies.  The Equally Safe Strategy highlights the need for agencies across every area of Scottish life to work together to tackle violence against women and girls.  At a local level, Violence Against Women and Girls  (VAWG) Partnerships are the key driver for this multi-agency work.  To support this work, the Improvement Service coordinates the National VAW Network which aims to improve the capacity and capability of VAWG Partnerships to implement the ambitions set out in Equally Safe at a local level and to support partnerships to engage effectively with community planning processes. VAWG Partnerships  have richer information at the local level on third and public sector provision which would help institutions in developing response pathways.  The map highlighted  the value of  working with VAWG Partnerships as institutions develop partnerships at the local level. 

The issue of addressing rurality using technology was raised together with resourcing Rape Crisis Centres and Women’s Aid Centres outwith of the Central Belt, in connection with the University of the Highlands and Islands.  Local policy development would also be a key feature of local partnerships as institutions and Rape Crisis Centres need to learn about each other and how they can work effectively together to access support for survivors.  It was noted that policy development  and approaches to joint working would be key features of the Training and Education Coordinator’s role. Institutions would have the opportunity to meet with their VAWG Partnership in a series of proposed forthcoming events in connection with Fresher’s Week later in the academic year.  This will be further explored at the forthcoming Fresher’s Week Sub-Group on 8 June 2018. 

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) is currently working on the guidance for institutional Outcome Agreements.  Glasgow and Clyde Rape Crisis has a full partnership agreement with the University of Strathclyde which has proved very effective.   Mrs Fiona Drouet advised that partnership working should also entail clear Codes of Conduct and staff training and support.  Training would need to be for all staff not just academic and teaching staff.   

Reference was made to the indicators contained in the National Performance Framework for VAWG Partnerships. The Framework can help institutions as they adopt the Toolkit and work at the local level.   

Action: Susannah Lane, Universities Scotland to connect Anni Donaldson, University of Strathclyde with UHI; and Scottish Funding Council and Scottish Government to meet to discuss the framing of Outcome Agreement Guidance for institutions.

Summary of Engaged Conversations

Steven Paxton presented a summary report of the Engaged Conversations which had taken place with stakeholders, held between February and April 2018.    The conversations were part of the Working Group’s inclusive approach, listening to a polyphony of voices to shape the implementation and roll out of the Tool Kit.   Stakeholders included AMOSSHE: The Student Services Organisation, the UCU, EIS, Unison, Education Scotland and the Equality Challenge Unit (now Advance HE).   Key messages include, the effectiveness of a regional, collaborative approach, the importance of effective local partnerships and relationships with VAWGs Partnerships (through Local Outcome Improvement Plans (LOIPS)), policy linkages recognising that Equally Safe in Further and Higher Education sits within a wider policy framework tackling GBV, the importance of staff training and a potential role for Advance HE, who had requested to join the Working Group.  In relation to LOIPS, it was suggested, given that one of the outcomes related to young people and digital foot prints and safety issues around the use of social media, that this represented another avenue for engagement with the community planning process for institutions.

The Working Group discussed the importance of integrating tackling gender based violence into the FE and HE curriculum together with wider policy linkages into secondary and primary education.  Anni Donaldson advised that a MOOC was already running at the University of Strathclyde and the teaching on GBV was incorporated into some honours and post graduate teaching courses.  In relation to primary and secondary education it was noted that teaching about prevention is at the discretion of the Head Teacher and that the Scottish Government is funding a Sexual Violence Programme, delivered by Rape Crisis Scotland, which will reach 50% of local authority secondary schools.  The Scottish Government and Education Scotland are currently undertaking a review of Personal and Social Education and it was suggested that Phil Alcock, Scottish Government be invited to the next meeting of the Working Group to present on this. 

It was vitally important that colleges engage with ‘difficult to reach groups’ such as LGBTI communities and mature students who tend not to engage with the college community.  It was important that an LGBTI voice helped shape the task of the Working Group.  Steven Paxton advised that the Equality Network and LGBT Youth Scotland were members of the Fresher’s Week Sub-Groups.  It was suggested that Dr Matson Lawrence (SFC) who has been instrumental in the TransEdu Project advise on an LGBTI representative for the Working Group. 

Action: Advance HE to be invited to the next meeting of the Working Group,  Scottish Funding Council to advise on an LGBTI representative for the Working Group; and Phil Alcock, Scottish Government be invited to present on the on-going review of Personal and Social Education being undertaken by the Scottish Government and Education Scotland. 

Sub-group reports

Support cards

Susannah Lane, Universities Scotland  reported that two meetings of the sub-group had taken place and the next meeting was scheduled for Friday, 15 June 2018.  She advised that the design had been developed in conjunction with Young Scot for testing with a range of focus groups, including LGBTI representatives across Scotland.  The cards would be for FE and HE staff.  She stressed the importance of listening to student voices in shaping the cards. Universities Scotland are centrally co-ordinating the work.  At this stage, it was envisaged that university staff would receive the cards.   At the same time stickers would be prepared for use in halls and communal spaces, which would detail help numbers for GBV and Mental Health issues.  GBV help line numbers might also be added to student ID cards.  An evaluation framework would also be developed for this work so that learning may be captured and the Group highlighted the importance the design take account of those with additional support needs.  The final design would be shared with the Working Group by email. 

Action: Susannah Lane, Universities Scotland, to share the final design with the Working Group by email.

Fresher’s weeks and parallel college arrangements

Steven Paxton, Scottish Government, advised that the Sub Group had met on 12 April and would meet again on Friday, 8 June.  The Sub-Group concluded that there was a need to bring together learning, which will inform campaigns and action for the future.  This could be as part of a series of regional seminars for higher and further education institutions and their partners. These could have a practical focus looking at learning from current campaigns and the Toolkit, as a basis for planning campaigns and action for the future. Consideration could also be given to how information on Equally Safe might be included as part of the Registration/Enrolment process.  Steven Paxton also referred to the Student Award Agency Scotland (SAAS) Info Graphic (copies issued at the meeting), which will be used on SAAS social media (Facebook, Twitter and Linked In).

Action: Noted

Any other business

Review of Pinset Mason guidelines

There was an action for the Scottish Government to pull together a review group to look at these. However, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, have been reviewing them, and the last meeting helpfully noted some improvements that could be made within a Scottish context. It was also noted that Scottish guidelines would perhaps be more appropriate, and Universities Scotland very helpfully offered to work with stakeholders in developing these.  It was agreed that Universities Scotland take the lead on this and set up a meeting with COPFS and Scottish Government.  It was further suggested that Rory Macrae, Caledonian System , Stuart Allardyce, Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice, University of Strathclyde and Lucy Smith, Scottish Government be invited to the meeting.  

Action: Susannah Lane, Universities Scotland to set up a meeting with COPFS, Scottish Government and other invitees.

Mrs Drouet’s meeting with Mr Sam Gyimah MP

Mrs Fiona Drouet advised that she would meet with the Mr Sam Gyimah MP,  Minister for Higher Education at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in July around Equally Safe in Further and Higher Education.

Action: Noted

Date of next meeting 

The next meeting was scheduled for Friday, 27 July.  As this would be time when many members would likely be on annual leave it was agreed that the meeting will be rearranged.

Action:  Steven Paxton will contact members to make arrangements.



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