Gender Based Violence in Schools Working Group minutes: January 2023

Minutes from the meeting on 31 January 2023.

Attendees and apologies

  • Zero Tolerance (Chair)
  • Association of Directors of Education Scotland (ADES)
  • Education Scotland
  • Educational Institute Scotland (EIS)
  • Glasgow Caledonian University
  • National Associations of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT)
  • Rape Crisis Scotland
  • Scottish Council of Independent Schools
  • Scottish Women’s Aid
  • Stop It Now Scotland
  • Scottish Government - Child protection
  • Scottish Government - Health and Wellbeing Unit
  • Scottish Government – Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG)


  • Time for Inclusive Education (TIE)
  • National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)
  • Scottish Government – Community Safety Unit (MVP)
  • Scottish Government – Equality in Education (GETEL)

Items and actions

Welcome and apologies

The chair welcomed members and noted apologies.

Minutes and actions from 13 December (paper 1)

The chair advised that there was one outstanding action from the previous meeting that would be addressed later in the agenda. All other actions were complete.

  • members to advise SG if they will join ES and SG (Harmful Sexual Behaviour) in writing scenarios by 20 December 2022 - Ongoing – will be discussed at today’s meeting
  • SG to publish minutes from meeting on 4 October 2022 – Complete
  • members to send all wording for contributions and changes for section A, B & D by Tuesday 20 December 2022. If no comments are received it will be assumed that members are content – Complete
  • Education Scotland to pass on contact details to SG in order to look at the option to include any new LGBT research on GBV into the guidance – Complete
  • Scottish Government and Education Scotland to discuss ensuring the rights based approach is included in the document and strengthen the wording – Complete
  • NASUWT to write a section on staff’s experience section in order to provide clarity. If other members of the group are interested in contributing to this section they will speak to NASUWT direct – Complete
  • members to send all wording for contributions and changes for section E by 17 January 2023 – Complete
  • SG to strengthen wording to make it clear where GBV is recorded within the SEEMiS system and that the full spectrum of GBV behaviours should be included within this section – Complete
  • members to send all wording for contributions and changes for section H by 17 January 2023 – Complete
  • members to send all wording for contributions and changes for section G by 17 January 2023 – Complete
  • members to send all wording for contributions and changes for section I by 17 January 2023 – Complete

Zero Tolerance (ZT) advised of an addition to the previous minutes. ZT agreed to send in amendments to be added. Members were content with the minutes from the previous meeting which can be published once the amendment is made.

Action: SG to make change from ZT to the minutes from meeting on 13 December 2022 the publish on the SG website.

National Framework - sections A, B and D - for information (papers 2,3 and 4)

The chair advised that sections A, B & D of the National Framework (papers 2,3 & 4) had only had minor amendments since the last meeting in December. The most substantive change was within section B where some text from E had been brought forward but the substance of this is unchanged. These changes had been made using track changes so everyone could see what they are. 

Education Scotland (ES) advised that they had sent in edits around the general consistency of words, punctuation etc. ES also highlighted a reference made to UNCRC within the document meaning in time this would date the document. The Scottish Government confirmed that a review would be carried out at the end of the process in order to capture any inconsistencies, punctuation etc throughout the document as a whole.

There was a comment raised around the drafting of the ‘What causes GBV’ sub-section within section B. Rape Crisis Scotland agreed to send in edits.

Action: Rape Crisis Scotland to send in new wording for the ‘What causes GBV’ sub-section of Section B by 14 February 2023.

There was a discussion around repetition between sections B and D. There was a suggestion of moving themes between sections but keeping the information the same. ZT agreed to send in suggested changes.

Action: Zero Tolerance to send in suggested wording to cut down on repetition and moving themes between sections by 14 February 2023.

There was a further discussion within the group around headings which would allow staff to navigate the document more easily. This had agreement from several members of the group.

The group agreed that after the amendments discussed that they are content to sign off these sections and there was no requirement to bring them back to the group.

National Framework – sections E/F and H– for discussion (papers 5 & 6)

The chair explained to the group that the joint chairs have spent a significant amount of time working on section E/F following the discussions at the meeting in December. The key feedback received was around the overall length of the section, due to both sections being combined, and whether this made the section difficult to engage with, and the key messages difficult to follow. The chair advised that this section had been cut significantly, by moving some information elsewhere and removing some sections of text. It was agreed at the last meeting that having made efforts to cut down, the conversation would be revisited.

Following discussion, it was agreed that a narrative structure for the universal section was preferable, and the content of the table should be used to inform this. It was suggested actions should sit under the headings.

It was agreed providing a flowchart or other form of visual would be beneficial for users, but that this would be taken forward following further drafting of the section.

A group member highlighted the need to ensure the document is written in a supportive way to ensure that staff using this are confident.

There was discussion about the approach to accountability within the document. It was suggested an initial approach would be to better tie together some elements of the universal and targeted sections, particularly the discussion on policies. If group members still had outstanding comments following this redraft, it may be helpful to have a discussion in advance of the next meeting to find an agreed way forward.

The Scottish Government agreed to make suggested structural and content revisions, and circulate a draft for further consideration before the Feb 14th deadline for comments.

Action: Scottish Government to redraft section E/F and send out to the group by Friday 3 February.

Action: Members to send all wording for contributions and changes for section E from the updated draft by 14 February 2023.

For section H there was a discussion within the group around how Gender Based Violence is recorded within the Bullying and Equalities module. Association of Directors of Education Scotland (ADES) agreed that they would send in wording explaining how the system could be used to record issues such as intersectionality.

Action: ADES to send in wording around the recording of Gender Based Violence incidents by 14 February 2023.

It was suggested that it might be useful, if possible, to add a link within this section of the framework to a teacher talking about their experiences of recording incidents. It was agreed that NASUWT would explore how such a case study could be gathered with its Gender Issues Working Group.

Action: NASUWT to speak to Gender Issues Working Group regarding creating a video and update the group at the next meeting on 28 February 2023.

There was a general discussion around the order of the document. It was suggested that recording and monitoring incidents should come straight after the section on targeted interventions and before the scenarios. This led to a further discussion around how gender based violence against a teacher would be recorded, and whether this would be on SEEMiS or another system. It was agreed that ADES and EIS would work on some drafting, either for inclusion within Section H or the staff section.

It was suggested that changes should be made to the evaluation section to keep the sections in line with Section E/F. Zero Tolerance agreed to initiate such amendments.

Action: RCS to send in suggested changes on evaluation drafting by 14 February 2023.

Action: ADES and EIS to work together and draft wording on recording staff incidents by 14 February 2023.

The group would give consideration to integrating elements of monitoring and recording in the drafting of the scenarios.

Action: Members to send all wording for contributions and changes for section H by 14 February 2023.

Staff Section (paper 7)

As agreed at the December meeting, the first draft of a section on staff affected by Gender Based Violence had been developed. There was no comments from the group on this section.

Action: Members to send all wording for contributions and changes for staff section by 14 February 2023.

Scenarios (paper 8)

A very early start had been made on the scenarios section but more assistance was required from the group in agreeing the themes for the scenarios. The group agreed what scenarios were required and which members of the working group would write each scenario.

Action: Rape Crisis Scotland (RCS), ZT and Scottish Women’s Aid (SWA) to create a scenario when a school would be managing their responsibilities to the person experiencing GBV and the person carrying it out by 14 February 2023.

Action: SWA to create a scenario of where GBV is not observed or proactively disclosed, but provides clues which may lead staff to identify abuse or risk of abuse by 14 February 2023.

Action: RCS and Education Scotland (ES) to create a scenario on out of school premises (bus, or online) by 14 February 2023.

Action: SWA to create a scenario on intersectionality by 14 February 2023.

Action: EIS to create a scenario on staff impacted by 14 February 2023.

Action: RCS and Stop it Now Scotland to create a scenario around criminality by 14 February 2023.

National Framework – sections G and I

The chair noted that further work on section G would be required to reflect the structure of the framework, and also to check resources aren’t missing. It was suggested that the resources section mirror the overall structure of the document once this had been finalised.

There was a discussion around the lack of resources at national level for primary schools.

Action: the structure of section G would be revisited once the overall structure of the framework was confirmed.

The chair confirmed that section I was a first draft. Members were asked to consider the list that had been collated and send the SG any additional terms they think should be included within the glossary. SG intend to populate the definitions once a more finalised version of the full document is available. 

Action: Members to send all wording for contributions and changes for sections G and I to the SG by 17 January 2023.

Engagement – Forward Planning

The chair highlighted the tight turnaround times now that monthly meetings have been arranged. It was agreed that monthly meetings are the most beneficial to ensure target dates are met. The chairs noted their appreciation of everyone’s time in order to ensure this work can be produced.

The chair informed the group that the February meeting would be considering plans for engaging on the framework prior to publication. Group members should come to the February meeting with ideas on who the group should be engaging with and how member organisations/the group can support that engagement. The process for managing that engagement would be discussed in February given the confidential nature of the document. 

Action for group: Members to bring suggestions for engagement to the next meeting in February.


Harmful Sexual Behaviour (HSB) Working Group

The HSB working group has not met since the last GBV meeting but is due to meet on 7 Feb. The group has worked with internal and external stakeholders to create pages on HSB on the Parent Club website. The page will go live on Thursday and promoted to coincide with Internet Safety Day on 7 February. 

Gender Equality Taskforce in Education and Learning

Following the last meeting of the Taskforce at the end of November, the Secretariat have taken forward a number of the actions which arose during the discussion, including meeting with Zero Tolerance, Close the Gap and the EIS to discuss membership. The Cabinet Secretary has also met with the MSYP Taskforce member to understand more about her involvement to date, both on the Taskforce and on other SG working groups. The Secretariat will share a revised membership and structures for comment shortly. Provisional dates have been circulated for the next meeting of the Group in April, subject to the Cabinet Secretary’s availability. 

Any other business

No other business was raised.

The chair thanked members and closed meeting. The next meeting has been arranged for 28 February.

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