To: Angela Constance MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Equalities & Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Minister for Higher Education

#emilytest: Support students affected by gender-based violence

27/10/18 We won

A new resource to help staff support victims of gender based violence has been introduced in all Scottish colleges and universities.

The project has seen more than 100,000 cards distributed to every college and university detailing specialist services so that staff can deal with disclosures of violence against women and girls.

The idea for the cards came from Fiona Drouet, mother of Emily Drouet, who took her own life after experiencing a campaign of gender based violence whilst at university.

https://www.holyrood.com/articles/news/all-college-and-university-staff-given-new-resource-help-them-support-victims-gender

#emilytest: Support students affected by gender-based violence

We want to see increased funding for colleges and universities to support students affected by gender-based violence (GBV).

■ Roll out the recommendations in the Equally Safe in Higher Education (ESHE) toolkit across universities and colleges.
■ Ensure students and staff know what to do or where to turn to for help if they are experiencing gender based violence.
■ Increase counselling services for students affected by gender based violence.
■ Improve and enforce student and staff code of conduct and zero tolerance policies
■ Record the number of cases of gender based violence and use this to improve strategies to tackle gender based violence.

Why is this important?

While living in her university halls of residence our daughter Emily was subjected to a campaign of abuse and violence from her boyfriend. Emily tried to get help. Her abuser remained in the same halls of residence where he was able to see her room from his window - her room is where she should have been safe.

On March 17th, 2016, Emily took her own life just minutes after her abuser visited her room unannounced. We are tormented by the “what ifs” - we don’t know if Emily would still be with us if university staff had received adequate training in recognising signs of abuse and had been taught the pathways to follow in such instances but the one thing we do know for certain is that this should not happen to any other young girl, to any other family.

Gender-based violence is not discriminate - it could happen to anybody at any age and we have to raise awareness of this and make sure that students and staff know what to do and where to turn to get help. Our students are vulnerable, often away from the security of home for the first time, and we need to protect them. Please don’t let this happen again - the #emilytest can save lives.

A report published by the National Union of Students (2013) found that 1 in 4 female students reporting unwanted sexual behaviour during their studies and 1 in 5 experiencing sexual harassment during their first week of term. These statistics highlight the scale of the problem across colleges and universities and evidence the need for further action to be taken. Whilst it’s been incredibly positive for the Scottish Government to fund the creation of a toolkit to tackle gender-based violence we want to ensure that both colleges and universities are supported long term to roll out these recommendations and to put their policies and procedures to the #emilytest.


Reasons for signing

  • I also suffered with my mental health through college.
  • Being a mother of a young daughter I want to help protect her and all other that is ok to talk and stop this behavior
  • This needs to stop, full stop!

Updates

2018-10-17 15:50:41 +0100
Success badge small

Petition is successful with 12,935 signatures

2018-02-08 19:02:35 +0000

10,000 signatures reached

2018-01-16 21:03:27 +0000

Today I met with Shirley-Anne Somerville in Parliament (petitioned with Angela Constance). I'm pleased to say it was a positive meeting. I felt re-assured the Minister shares our concerns and is committed to finding long term solutions.She understands the importance of making HE and FE institutions safer environments for students,particularly in relation to GBV. We expect developments over coming weeks in relation to conserving the expertise in the ESHE group so that this vital work can continue.I will update you again shortly.Losing Emily is the most painful thing we've ever had to endure and to know it could possibly have been avoided adds an extra dimension to our pain. We thank you for helping to prevent others from suffering.Please keep sharing, tweeting, emailing the petition to your contact list. Together we can bring change. Thank you again, the Drouet Family.x

2017-11-24 08:50:22 +0000

5,000 signatures reached

2017-11-23 16:54:23 +0000

1,000 signatures reached

2017-11-19 18:15:47 +0000

500 signatures reached

2017-11-17 14:56:36 +0000

100 signatures reached

2017-11-17 11:45:05 +0000

50 signatures reached

2017-11-17 10:23:23 +0000

25 signatures reached

2017-11-17 09:28:04 +0000

10 signatures reached