All universities and colleges across the west of Scotland are uniting to tackle gender-based violence under the banner of Fearless Glasgow.
The partnership, which includes the University of Strathclyde and has the backing of Police Scotland and the Scottish Government, will help raise awareness of sexual violence and offer enhanced support to more than 150,000 students.
Members of Fearless Glasgow will work together on campaigns, share ideas, and work alongside specialist support groups to improve access to help and information across all of their campuses.
The new group, which was officially launched today, will aim to affect cultural change by challenging harmful behaviours and attitudes.
Members also include Glasgow Caledonian University, the University of Glasgow, the University of the West of Scotland, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and Glasgow School of Art.
The further education sector is represented by Glasgow Clyde College, Ayrshire College, Glasgow Kelvin College, and the City of Glasgow College.
Dr Veena O’Halloran, University Secretary & Compliance Officer of the University of Strathclyde, said: As a socially-progressive University, we are delighted to offer our support to the partnership.
“Universities have a vital role to play in tackling gender-based violence wherever it may occur, and we are committed to ensuring we have an environment where every student has access to help and support.”
The partnership also has the support of Police Scotland, Glasgow and Clyde Rape Crisis, Glasgow Violence against Women Partnership, The Emily Test, Archway, and Equally Safe.
The Equally Safe in Higher Education (ESHE) toolkit was created at the University of Strathclyde. Funded by the Scottish Government, it provides a practical collection of free materials and resources developed specifically for Scottish universities and aims to eradicate gender-based violence in Higher Education.
Jackie Main, chair of Fearless Glasgow and Director of Student Life at Glasgow Caledonian University, said: “As a multi-agency partnership, we are committed to ending gender-based violence in all its forms by challenging harmful behaviours and attitudes alongside supporting those affected and building confidence.
“Our common purpose is to deliver safer communities, culture change and a Fearless Glasgow.”
The initiative is based on a successful model launched in Edinburgh early last year.
The term gender-based violence covers rape and sexual assault, coercive control, psychological violence, sexual harassment, intimidation, and verbal abuse. It also extends to discrimination, bullying, and stalking, both physical and mental, through text messages, emails and social media posts.
David Lott, Deputy Director of Universities Scotland, said: “The launch of Fearless Glasgow is a hugely welcome step.
“As the area of Scotland with the biggest student population, it’s great to see universities and colleges coming to work together and support each other and their students.
“Working with stakeholders will ensure that tackling gender-based violence remains high on the agenda.”