Gender Based Violence in Schools Working Group minutes: May 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the Gender Based Violence in Schools Working Group on 26 July 2022

Attendees and apologies

In attendance:

  • Rape Crisis Scotland (Chair)
  • Scottish Women’s Aid
  • National Associations of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT)
  • National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)
  • Education Scotland
  • TIE
  • Stop It Now Scotland
  • Scottish Council of Independent Schools
  • Scottish Government – Equality in Education (GETEL)
  • Scottish Government – Community Safety Unit (MVP)
  • Scottish Government – Violence Against Woman and Girls (VAWG)
  • Scottish Government – Child protection
  • Scottish Government – Support and Wellbeing Unit


  • Association of Directors of Education Scotland (ADES)
  • Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service COPFS)
  • Educational Institute Scotland (EIS)
  • Zero Tolerance
  • Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Scottish Government – Early Learning and Childcare
  • Scottish Government – Community Safety Unit

Items and actions


The chair welcomed everyone and noted apologies.

The chair welcomed Stop It Now to their first meeting of the working group.

Minutes from 1 March meeting

The chair provided an update on the actions from the previous meeting.

Members were content with the minutes from the previous meeting which can now be published.

Action: Scottish Government to publish minutes from the March meeting on web page.

There was an outstanding action from the December meeting where NSPCC agreed to provide an update on the audit that the Harmful Sexual Behaviours (HSB) subgroup on research they conducted to look at how local authorities respond to HSB, what structures are in place and what referral pathways are available. The chair confirmed this action is ongoing due to delays in the audit starting and that an update would be provided at the following meeting.

Action: NSPCC to provide an update on the audit of research on Local authorities response to HSB, if available, at the next meeting.

Updated Action Plan

The chair thanked members for confirming the sections of the National Framework they have an interest in drafting. SG updated the action plan to include a contributions column which has been populated with members’ interests. Members confirmed the action plan reflected their preferences.

COSLA highlighted there were areas of the Action Plan that referenced local authorities that they would like to pick up on, in particular action 3.5.

Action: COSLA to pick up on the actions referencing local authorities in the action plan.

The chair highlighted the Teams Channel that was set up to allow members to work on a live document of the National Framework. The aim of this is to remove any duplication in work and contributions.

Some members advised they had experienced issues accessing the channel. The SG shared a link to a document, ‘Microsoft Teams Guest Account Guidance’ to help members with these issues.

Action: Members to contact the SG if they are having any issues accessing the Teams Channel after working through the Microsoft Teams document provided.

It was agreed by the group that members should contact SG if there are additional people from organisations who require to be added to the Teams Channel to contribute to the National Framework.

Action: Members who require colleagues to be added to the Teams Channel to work on the National Framework to contact SG to set this up.

The group discussed including expected outcomes in the Action Plan that was originally raised at the meeting on 1 March.

Action: SG to look at the expected outcomes in the Action Plan and bring to the next meeting on 26 July 2022.

The group discussed the ways of working going forward and how they would work on the National Framework. It was agreed that:

  • the group were content with the breakdown of what sections of the National Framework will be discussed at each meeting
  • contributions to the National Framework document in Teams are to be made at least 2 weeks prior to each of the meetings in order for the contributions to be reviewed for discussion at the meetings
  • members can begin drafting their sections at any time and dip in and out as they wish, rather than waiting until the time of the meetings where particular sections will be discussed
  • final sign off would be sought on each section at the following meeting. For example, this meeting focuses on sections A, B and C
  • there will then be an opportunity for members to make comments and changes following this meeting
  • final agreement will then be sought on sections A, B and C at the meeting on 26 July, but minimal, if any, changes would be made at that point
  • the main discussion on the 26 July will look at sections D (LGBT inclusion) and H (recording and monitoring)

There was a discussion around coherence of the National Framework once it has been drafted to ensure sections flow. The group also highlighted the importance of ensuring that the document reflects the most current legislation at time of publication, for example, the UNCRC and the human rights bill. It was confirmed that once members have contributed to the National Framework there will be a chance to review the document. The information below confirms these arrangements – this information was not provided within the meeting.

There are various opportunities within the action plan where the working group have the opportunity to review the document as a whole and make any changes:

  • section 2.9 - Provide first draft to group for review - spring 2023
  • section 2.11 - Provide second draft to group for review – spring 2023
  • section 212 - Group agree draft - spring/summer 2023

A member of the group raised a question regarding sharing the document with practitioners as a consultation process. This question was not answered at the time however we can confirm that the consultation process will be with the group and this is why the group are from such a wide range of organisations in order to ensure we cover all areas when drafting and reviewing the document. Therefore if there is a need to engage colleagues in relation to drafting this should be done as part of drafting by organisations as this will allow all drafting and comments to be considered at review points.

National Framework – Sections A, B and C

The chair provided an overview of how sections A, B and C of the National Framework have been drafted. It was confirmed that this is very much a first draft and a discussion was welcomed from members. Members were invited to make any detailed changes, to wording, for example, in the Teams channel. 

The group had further discussions on each section that has been drafted:

A - Introductory Statement (Action 2.1)

  • it was highlighted that the Safer Lives: Changed Lives link in the Policy section of the document is no longer available on the SG website
  • action: SG to update Safer Lives: Changed Lives link in the National Framework
  • a member raised that not all schools deliver PSE as a universal approach therefore the wording in the guidance must ensure that it is inclusive of all schools
  • there was a discussion around the word ‘advice’ that is mentioned under ‘Status of Guidance’ section and the implications of using the word

Action: Following the meeting, it was agreed that ‘advice’ would be removed and reference only to ‘guidance’ would be used.

B - Key issues (Action 2.2)

  • suggestion for the definition to incorporate some examples of what young people may be experiencing, including in the context of within families, and which is recognisable to young people

Action: Scottish Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis Scotland agreed to take forward work on examples of young people experiencing GBV, and where it might sit in the Framework.

  • the NSPCC commented that is was positive to see the link to child sexual abuse within this section. The NSPCC and Stop It Now agreed to work together to look at the wording in this section which will be framed within the context of child protection

Action: NSPCC and Stop It Now to work together on the wording around child sexual abuse.

  • intimate partner violence between adolescents and how that manifests in young people could be strengthened in the document
  • there was also a discussion around the implications of this document on young boys and how the section relating to them is introduced. Under the ‘Impacts of GBV’ it was suggested that an explanation on why this is important for different genders is included

Action: COSLA to update wording under ‘Impacts of GBV’ on the importance of this document for all genders.

  • it was agreed that the voice of children and young people (CYP) should be at the heart of this work, however, further consideration around that section is required. Potential to add lived experiences and information already gathered from young people, through the Everyday Heroes project and consultation with young people, for example

Action: Rape Crisis Scotland to include Everyday Heroes Project in section on CYP voice.

  • there was a discussion on where intersectionality could fit in to the document and also to ensure that this is included throughout

Action: Members to review how intersectionality is integrated within the document or look at wording for a standalone section.

  • there was a discussion around the data that has been referenced within the document, some of which is dated. It was acknowledged that data on sexual harassment is sparse. It was suggested that the recent University of Glasgow study could be referenced

Action: Members to share any recent research that could be used in the National Framework with the SG.

 C - Cause of Gender Based Violence (Action 2.21)

  • it was discussed how the opening section refers to the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (1993). It was agreed that that it would also be beneficial to include this in the policy section

Action: SG to add the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (1993) to the policy section in the National Framework.

  • it was suggested that the group look at Baroness Kennedy’s report on misogyny as there are helpful things that can be added.

Action: SG – VWAG to consider where Baroness Kennedys document could fit into the Framework make additions as required.

  • It was suggested that values and attitudes are missing from the document. It is important to cover what values and attitudes need to be tackled, as well as the constructive values and attitudes that should be modelled

Action: Stop It Now to add suggestions on values and attitudes to the National Framework on the Teams channel.

Members were invited to make comments and changes to sections A, B and C in the live document of the National Framework in Teams by Friday 13 May.


The SG gave an update on the work that is currently underway with the Harmful Sexual Behaviour Delivery Group:

  • the group last met in January, with next meeting planned for June
  • at the January meeting, the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit presented key findings from their research with young people, as part of the Youth Violence and HSB project
  • the safeguarding in education national network held their first network meeting virtually in January and discussed responses to the questionnaire issued on professional child protection (CP) learning needs, such as HSB, Child sexual exploitation (CSE), radicalisation, etc, and implementation of revised National CP Guidance
  • the network will also attend themed sessions relating to safeguarding in education
  • the Assessment and Intervention sub-group is developing guidance for all front line practitioners regarding evaluated services available for children and young people, and how to access qualified professionals who can facilitate referral to suitable services. A draft will be discussed at the Delivery Group’s meeting in June
  • HSB Audit tool pilot which allows child protection committees (CPCs), working with NSPCC, to carry out an audit of the multi-agency responses to instances of HSB. Pilot is likely to launch in June

The SG gave an update on the work that is currently underway with the Gender Equality Taskforce in Education and Learning:

The Taskforce was established in 2020 in response to one of the recommendations made by the FM’s National Advisory Council for Women and Girls. Covid impacted upon its progress for the remainder of the year, however in 2021 work began again, with the Taskforce contracting The Collective, the Children’s Parliament and the Scottish Youth Parliament to work together to produce a Theory of Change model in order to clarify the Taskforce’s ambitions and set the direction of travel. The 3 organisations worked together and with girls and young women, and some boys and young men, to capture experiences of gender inequality in schools, in order to inform the development of the Theory of Change model and a set of associated recommendations.

Reports from the three organisations were shared with the Taskforce 2 weeks ago. They will meet on 16 May to discuss them and to agree a way forward in terms of the recommendations. 2 of the recommendations relate to the work of this group (the GBV in schools working group) and there will be close working between the 2 as the Taskforce decide how to take those forward. 

The Taskforce will develop a response to the reports and the recommendations and publish it (and the reports) in due course

The group were advised that these updates will be added as a regular agenda item for future meetings in order to ensure links between these groups.

The chair discussed timescales for actions 3-6 in the action plan. For each section there are agreed dates for the final stage, however, the group will have to agree dates for the individual actions within each section. The chair asked members who have their names assigned to actions within each section to agree realistic dates they could complete each action.

Action: Members to confirm dates they could complete actions 3-6 in the action plan which their names are assigned to by Friday 13 May 2022.

The Chair thanked members for their input and consideration

Back to top