Message from Morag Ross QC – Independent Review on the University’s approach to addressing Gender-Based Violence
Content Warning: The content of this article relates to sexual violence. If you would like to access support, without reading further, please follow this link Dignity at Work and Study Support, Guidance and Reporting - this includes resources on sexual harassment, assault and violence.
Sent on behalf of Morag Ross QC
I have been asked by the Principal of the University to carry out a review of the University’s approach to addressing gender-based violence and, in particular, I am looking at the University’s current staff and student procedures and support arrangements.
The term ‘gender-based violence’ is used in a variety of contexts. My working approach is informed by the description of the term used by bodies such as the Scottish Public Health Observatory, which refers to gender-based violence as covering a range of violence and abuse that includes domestic abuse, rape, sexual assault, harassment, commercial sexual exploitation and harmful practices, and as being committed disproportionately by men against women.
In carrying out this investigation and review, I think that it is important for me not to be too constrained and to adopt a broad approach. I am also conscious that violence and abuse exist within a context, in society as a whole and within the University, and that it is important to have an understanding of culture, expectations about behaviour and the level of awareness of and confidence in the systems that exist to deal with complaints and conduct issues. It is, of course, important for me to speak to those within the University who have responsibility for these, but, in addition, I am very keen to hear from any student who has relevant experience or information or who wishes to share concerns or otherwise make representations. This is an open invitation. I am also seeking views from University members of staff.
For this investigation and review to be effective, it is important that I am well-informed and I would like to gather as much information from across the student body as I can. Your participation will help me to understand what the issues are and that will, in turn, help me in making recommendations to the University. If you think that you might be able to contribute then I would encourage you, please, to get in touch. I am especially keen to hear from (i) those who have made complaints and who have experience of the University’s processes, (ii) those who have been the subject of complaints, and (iii) those who may have experienced gender-based violence but who have not made a complaint.
You can find out more about the terms of reference for this investigation and review on the University webpages and the general principles underpinning the process.
I would want to emphasise the following points.
I am independent of the University. I am working with the assistance of David Blair, who is also an advocate and who, likewise, is independent. If you provide information to us in confidence, we will respect that. You are welcome to provide information in writing. If you would like to meet in person, we will make arrangements to do that at a place and time that is convenient for you.
We are open to holding meetings either one-to-one or with groups. If you would like to be accompanied by a friend, that is fine.
If you would prefer to speak by phone or organise a meeting on Zoom or Teams, please let us know.
If you have any questions that you would like to ask before deciding whether you would like to participate, that is fine. Please just let us know.
You are welcome to get in touch as soon as you are ready. It will assist me in completing this review within a reasonable timescale if all those who wish to submit their views do so by 29 April 2022, although I may also be able to consider views submitted after that date.
I can be contacted at email@example.com.
Morag Ross QC
25 January 2022
- If you would like to access support, please follow this link Dignity at Work and Study Support, Guidance and Reporting
- You can submit a report on bullying, discrimination, harassment or sexual harassment if you are a University of Glasgow student, or on behalf of a University of Glasgow student.
- The University, in conjunction with Rape Crisis, has trained a group of staff as Sexual Violence and Harassment First Responders. They can provide information and support in confidence.
- Students can book a consultation with the counselling service online, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- Respect Advisers are volunteer members of staff who have been trained to offer confidential, impartial, advice and support to anyone experiencing issues with harassment or bullying.
- Staff can access counselling support via PAM Assist
- Rape Crisis Scotland provide a national helpline and email support to anyone affected by sexual assault. The helpline operates between 6pm and Midnight on 08088 01 03 02. Glasgow & Clyde Rape Crisis can be contacted on 08088 00 00 14, Mon-Fri 11:00 – 14:00.
- Useful information on external reporting can be found on the Police Scotland website, along with helpline numbers and information videos.
- For students - complaints raised internally are investigated in line with the Code of Student Conduct. You can find details about that process on the University website.
- For colleagues – complaints are investigated by P&OD in line with the following policies.
Further Reporting Information
o Dignity at Work and Study Policy
- Student or colleagues with a smartphone are encouraged to download the Safezone App.
Students are reminded of the SRC’s Get Home Safe Scheme with Glasgow Taxis - Campus Security - University Gatehouse 0141 330 4282 / Crisis number 0141 330 4444.
First published: 27 January 2022