Working Toward a Dear Safe Space at the University of Glasgow
Our VP Student Support Ella McCabe writes about the work students at Glasgow are doing to tackle Gender-based Violence.
Hello, I’m Ella McCabe, the Vice President of Student Support at the Students’ Representative Council (SRC). In light of the news last week, I thought it was important to take a bit of time to talk about some of the things we’ve been working on, alongside some of the other student organisations across campus, to raise awareness around Gender-based Violence (GBV) and highlight the support that’s available to those who unfortunately experience it within our student community.
Alongside Successful Women at Glasgow (SWAG), we hosted a vigil for Sarah Everard at the weekend. The turnout and atmosphere hit close to home for many of us, reinforcing our determination to make the University of Glasgow a safe place for each and every person. While Sarah’s story is her own, it is one that resonates with so many of us; women share a collective reality where something as simple as walking home alone at night can be a terrifying and dangerous experience. This is not ok, and this must change. While we mourn for Sarah and are deeply saddened by the need for this vigil, we understand the importance of looking forward, and doing all in our power to raise awareness of GBV in the hope of ending it within our society.
In collaboration with SWAG and the different student bodies (QMU, GUU, GUSA) we have been working on a ‘Dear Safe Place’ Campaign which aims to ensure that each student organisation and group within the University is raising awareness of the reporting processes and the support available on campus. We are working together in lobbying for clear and joined up signposting to support for those who have experienced GBV. The Campaign has already shared resource lists with report and support advice, and further support graphics will be launched in the next couple of weeks, so keep an eye out across our social media channels for this.
This campaign group has also met with members of the Senate Office and an external consultant to discuss and review the internal reporting procedures within the different student bodies, to ensure that there is a consistent approach to report handling, alongside a clear and unified approach to signposting the support available. We all feel that a Cross Campus approach is vital to pushing a zero-tolerance approach to GBV within our student community.
To ensure we are continuing to raise awareness around topics such as consent, support and bystander intervention, here at the SRC we redeveloped the structure of our ‘Let’s Talk About Sexual Violence’ workshops so that they could be delivered online. Since then, the workshop has been delivered to the Freshers’ Helpers of each student body, clubs and societies members, and monthly sessions have run on our Native platform, free for any student to sign up to. The next session is on 18th March at 6pm, and you can sign up here. Come along to one of these workshops if you haven’t already, and bring your friends.
To build on this initiative, we are currently integrating a GBV module within the SRC Moodle page which will be designed to complement the workshop content. This module has been developed by Rape Crisis Scotland as part of the Scottish Government’s ‘Equally Safe’ project. Our goal here is to lobby the University to assist us in a wide roll-out of this to all students, including it in induction spaces in order to encourage increased engagement with and understanding of the issues at hand.
Recently, along with the SRC Advice Centre, I met with members of the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre, who told us about the free, confidential specialist legal advice and advocacy service they offer for women affected by violence or abuse in Scotland. We have added the details of their helpline, solicitor surgeries and resources have been to the SRC Sexual Violence Support page, and this will be used as a referral service.
Our Sabbatical team also attended, alongside University staff members, Sexual Harassment Investigator Training delivered by Rape Crisis Scotland, to ensure a trauma-informed approach to any conduct cases involving sexual harassment allegations. We continue to meet with members of Rape Crisis Scotland and have agreed that the drop-in counselling service will be a priority for the SRC, once we are able to return to campus. We also are currently contributing to a reviewing the University reporting tool interface, to make it more user-friendly and ensure there is an integrated focus on support.
We will continue to progress our work in this field, and will continue to fight for a culture that is free from gendered violence. Please remember that the Safe Zone app is available to download, which connects you to University Security. Should you be navigating the campus and feel unsafe, press the red button on the app which will alert the team of your location, and ask a member of security to come and escort you home. Also, the SRC Advice Centre are always there to provide report and support guidance, so get in touch if you need to.
My thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by the news of the last week, please reach out for support if you need it and look after yourself.
GUSRC VP of Student Support
The SRC Advice Centre email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The SRC Sexual Violence Support page: https://www.glasgowstudent.net/advice/healthsafetywellbeing/sexual-violence/
SRC Native Platform where you can sign up for the next Let’s Talk About Sexual Violence Workshop on March 18th: https://glasgowstudent.native.fm/
The UofG SafeZone app: https://www.gla.ac.uk/apps/ and a video about the app: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZky9nM9uM0