Justice Reform Campaigner
MA Soc Sci (2020), MSc Global Security (2021)
Ellie's story is one of resilience. While studying at the University of Glasgow, Ellie became a victim of sexual violence. The once bright and outgoing young woman became a shell of her former self as she struggled with her mental health. Despite this, she went on to graduate with top grades and then decided to pursue justice for herself - taking her attacker to court and obtaining a guilty verdict.
Since then, she has been campaigning for change in the Scottish criminal justice system and has been working to combat gender-based violence in higher education. Ellie has collaborated with UCAS, Universities UK, Universities Scotland, and the Scottish Government to introduce national safeguarding guidance in higher education. She is also working to improve data sharing on sexual misconduct cases to help ensure campuses are safe spaces for students and staff.
Ellie is passionate about improving the criminal justice system, so that it is victim-centric and trauma-informed. She has been working to improve access to court transcripts for sexual offence complainers, which are prohibitively expensive. Ellie crowdfunded to raise the cost of her own transcript to pursue a complaint against the defence advocate who cross-examined her in court - one of the first complaints of its kind. Following this, the Scottish Government has announced they will introduce a pilot program to offer free court transcripts to sexual offence complainers.
Ellie's activism and advice has offered solace to many affected by sexual and domestic violence as they navigate the Scottish courts system and brought comfort to many more around the world. By speaking out about her own experience, she’s helping to combat the shame and stigma associated with sexual abuse. Her campaigning has been covered by global media outlets, from Iran and India to Brazil and Denmark. She has appeared on BBC Panorama, been profiled in Prospect magazine, and written for The Spectator and The Times.
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Ellie's campaigning contributes toward Goal 5 (gender equality), and Goal 16 (peace, justice, and strong institutions). By shining a spotlight on violence against women and girls Ellie is helping to foster discussions on how to eradicate this scourge. Her drive for policy and legislative change is also building towards a safer environment for women - particularly in education. By driving changes in the justice system, Ellie is ensuring that there is accountability within the legal profession, and that the courts help victims of gender-based violence to secure justice.
The vote is now closed and the winner will be announced in the winter edition of Avenue Magazine.