Gender Based Violence in Schools Working Group minutes: October 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 4 October 2022.


Attendees and apologies

  • Scottish Government – Support and Wellbeing Unit (Chair)
  • Glasgow Caledonian University
  • National Associations of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT)
  • National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)
  • Rape Crisis Scotland (RC)
  • Scottish Council of Independent Schools
  • Scottish Women’s Aid
  • Stop It Now Scotland
  • Zero Tolerance (ZT)
  • Education Scotland (ES)
  • Scottish Government – Child Protection
  • Scottish Government – Community Safety Unit (MVP)
  • Scottish Government – Equality in Education (GETEL)
  • Scottish Government – VAWG


  • Association of Directors of Education Scotland (ADES)
  • Time for Inclusive Education (TIE)
  • Educational Institute Scotland (EIS)
  • Scottish Government – Community Safety Unit (MVP)

Items and actions

Welcome and apologies

The chair welcomed members and noted apologies.

The chair welcomed the new joint chair from Zero Tolerance to her first meeting of the working group.

Minutes and actions from 26 July (paper 1)

The chair provided the following update on the actions from the previous meetings:

Action: Scottish Government agreed to look into the original scope of the working group to establish the focus of the National Framework.

  • update: The ToR states that the group will draw on the expertise and knowledge of members to develop new, and strengthen existing, teaching resources for primary and secondary schools which focus on prevention but also help support children and young people who are experiencing harmful behaviour and gender based violence within a school environment. It also advises that the National Framework will be accessible for all organisations working with children and young people, although focussed for schools

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

  • update: Ongoing. SG to send COSLA a copy of the action plan. COSLA will then pick up this action

Action: SG to speak to Education Scotland regarding any local work ongoing.

  • update: SG to provide update at December meeting

There were a number of actions that the group agreed were ongoing and would be considered as part of the drafting process.

  • Scottish Government to consider either including references as hyperlinks or as a separate reference at the end of the National Framework and update document as required. - This will be considered in the final review of drafting
  • Scottish Women’s Aid (SWA) and Rape Crisis (RC) Scotland agreed to take forward work on examples of young people experiencing GBV, and where it might sit in the Framework – this is ongoing and will be considered by SWA and RC when at the drafting stage. This could include anonymised studies contributed by Childline
  • Rape Crisis Scotland to include Everyday Heroes Project in section on CYP voice – RC has advised they will update the document with this once the appropriate section is identified
  • members to share any recent research that could be used in the National Framework with the SG. Ongoing – reminder to members to share research
  • group to work through where we will take account what support for staff experiencing GBV - will be considered as part of the drafting process
  • Stop It Now to add suggestions on values and attitudes to the National Framework on the Teams channel – this can be reviewed as part of the drafting process

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

Action: SG to publish minutes from meeting on 26 July.

Update on drafting process

The chair advised that following issues with members accessing the teams channel, it was agreed there would be a change to the way in which the Framework would be drafted. Going forward, each section will be sent out individually in a word document for members to comment, make changes to and send back by the deadline given by the chair. Each section will then be reissued for discussion and clearance before finalised.

The Chair highlighted the importance of deadlines, advising that SG has allocated time for each section to be reviewed and reissued to the group. Providing contributions within timescales will allow all contributions to be included for consideration and will ensure the drafting process stays on track.

Members were reminded to make suggestions on the wording in the main body of document in tracked changes rather than adding comment bubbles to the side. This will ensure it reflects individual contributions.

The chair confirmed that all comments that were added to the Teams channel draft have been considered and many moved into more relevant sections.

National Framework – sections A, B and D – for agreement (papers 2, 3, 4)

The chair advised that sections A, B and D had been reviewed and updated to slim down and clearly focus on the purpose and context of the framework for schools. Some of the text that was removed as it was felt to sit better in sections E and F and is largely picked up there.

The following comments were made:

Section A

  • the decision was made to leave the document with track changes so members can see how decisions were made
  • in the reference to Equally Safe, this should be referenced as a joint commitment with SG and COSLA
  • the titles should either be questions or statements
  • should everyone’s invited be mentioned in the introduction as this is a piece of work that contributed to this work being carried out
  • clarify what everyones invited is and what the intent was
  • in the first paragraph 'responding' =should be added after recognising
  • can intersectionality be threaded throughout the framework– ZT to send wording
  • where GIRFEC approach is mentioned, it should also say rights-based approach
  • there was a discussion around MVP and if it should be included as a driver, however it was agreed that this is more of a response to the issue and this section is around why we a are required to produce the framework and should not be included in this section
  • consideration should be given to reference to the Rise report as the more recent evidence in this area

Action: Members to send all wording for contributions and changes for section A by Tuesday 11 October.

Section B

  • on page 3 there is a section on the specific impact on girls and young women which required to be reworded - RC to send wording
  • following clarification that the framework was principally for schools rather than wider educational establishments, it was agreed that reference of the framework’s wider relevance would be included within the introduction
  • wording was required for what signs practitioners should look for in the absence of disclosures. ES to send wording
  • causes of GBV should be drawn out more to reference trauma including impacts such as domestic abuse. NSPCC advised they could provide some content on early impact
  • it was discussed that GIRFEC should be drawn out more explicitly
  • it was helpful to signpost to research rather than including a lot of detail, to ensure the document did not become too dense

Action: Members to send all wording for contributions and changes for section B by Tuesday 11 October.

Section D

There were no comments made by the group on section D.

The group agreed that the comments given at today’s will be taken into consideration and sections A, B and D will be added to the draft version of the National Framework.

The chair thanked members who have provided input to the drafting process so far.

Action: Members to send all wording for contributions and changes for section D by Tuesday 11 October.

National Framework – sections E, F and H – for discussion (papers 5,6,7)

The chair advised that Amendments were made to sections E and F to place this discussion more in the context of GIRFEC and school safeguarding procedures.

The group had further discussion on sections E, F and H that have been drafted and the following comments were made:

Section E – Prevention

  • work was needed to clarify the pillars, including definitions and action that could be taken within each. Framing the 3 stages of intervention using the same language/terminology of GIRFEC was thought to be more helpful to teachers
  • the suggestions in the tables were felt to be helpful but further consideration was required to the drafting to ensure it wasn’t too directive. It would be helpful to get feedback from ADES. Once the drafting was at a later stage, consideration should be given to whether the table would be better as another form of graphic
  • RC has wording suggestions and will send to SG
  • it was suggested that the voice of children and young people should further up the document
  • there should be a section added in this section around families
  • it would be useful to include some illustrative examples
  • it should be clearer that the framework covers primary age as well not just high school and so examples should be relevant to that context
  • it was raised that we should look to change the title of Voices of children and young people’s section to Learner participation or such like – voices can be heard but not acted on
  • there was a discussion around the length of the document and that its potential complexity may be off-putting to its target audience. Ensuring the document focused on the needs of the audience would form part of the future editing process
  • we need to ensure we being this back at all times to GIRFEC, curriculum for excellence and wellbeing outcomes
  • reference to PSE should be mindful that PSE provision is not universal within schools

The group were reminded that these sections have not been subject to the edits which have taken the content and converted into a document that guides, which sections A, B and D have been subject to. Further work to refine the document would be taken at future editing stages.

Action: Members to review and send any wording for contributions and changes for section E by Friday 28 October.

Section F – Intervention

  • this section should not be looking to tell people what to do but offer pragmatic advice
  • the priority should be ensuring it offers practical support and signposting to resources for teachers
  • as with section E, it would be useful to include examples/scenarios. These should include ‘low level’ gender bias in schools, the types of behaviour that may not routinely be called out, and family engagement scenarios. RC advised that they will work through the section to identify if test scenarios would be helpful
  • ZT spoke about the intention and impact and how this is linked to exercising of power. ZT will send comments for draft
  • consideration should be given to where more than one person is affected by GBV, for example shouting comments at a class or a group
  • there was clarification that the section was not intended to suggest restorative meetings should take place RC to look at wording to make this clearer

Action: Members to review and send any wording for contributions and changes for section F by Friday 28 October.

Section H - How to effectively monitor and record incidents of GBV

  • SEEMiS is a Local Authority system and advice was being sought from SEEMiS to set out the system guidance for this section
  • the recording system that is currently available would require to be used, however there will be a future action that will include any further work in this section
  • previous wording around reporting, self-evaluation and HIGIOS should be revisited for potential inclusion

Action: Members to review and send any wording for contributions and changes for section H by Friday 28 October.

National Framework – sections G and I – discuss next steps

The chair advised that sections G and I would be discussed at the meeting on 13 December and advised SG would contact members with further information on the drafting process and deadlines.


Unfortunately due to a full agenda we were unable to cover this section. The updates below have been provided as a written update to the group.

Update from HSB delivery group

The group last met on 27 September. A discussion was held on any further action required around the Expert Group proposal on research, with various pieces of ongoing work cited. Due to budget constraints, no further commission is currently planned but a list of relevant research will be compiled and shared with the group.

Work continues in the development of a GIRFEC-style document to guide front line practitioners on the resources and services available for children and young people, and addressing potential needs and risk factors to facilitate assessment and referral to suitable services. Focus groups with a variety of frontline practitioners, including education, are planned to the end of the year.

The HSB audit tool pilot is now underway with Highland Child Protection Committee (CPC) holding their strategic audit launch on 4 October. East Lothian and Midlothian CPCs will follow, separately, later in the Autumn. To keep the delivery group informed of the audit process, from the strategic meeting through to action plan development, one of the group members will provide monthly blog-style updates to the end of the year, as well as an overview at the first group meeting in 2023.

Gender Equality Taskforce in Education and Learning

Since the last update in July the Taskforce has given a good deal of consideration to the reports which they commissioned The Collective, the Children’s Parliament and the Scottish Youth Parliament to produce. They have begun to critically examine the recommendations in order to establish how best to deliver them so that they achieve the overarching aim of all girls and young women having a gender equal experience of education and learning. They have implemented one of them, which asks them to consider appointing a new chair who will provide leadership and focus. To that end, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Learning has agreed to chair going forward, and has asked that a young person be appointed to co-chair with her. The Taskforce will publish the 3 reports on 7 October.

Any other business

This section was not covered at the meeting due to timing.

The chair thanked members and closed meeting. The next meeting has been arranged for 13 December.

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