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 Scottish Government co-funds sector-leading project to tackle harassment and GBV 

Fearless Glasgow, the joint initiative comprising nine universities and colleges in the West of Scotland to tackle gender-based violence (GBV), has partnered with tech firm Culture Shift (@UKCultureShift) to provide over 150,000 students access to its reporting platform.

In addition to providing students and staff across the region with a route to report any form of problematic behaviour they either experience or witness, the sector-leading collaboration will see the group work together to measure regional trends, as well as identify any needs for funding additional resources and support in the area.

The three year partnership, which has been match funded for the first year by the Scottish Funding Council, aims to create true cultural change by challenging harmful behaviours and all aspects of harassment. It enables Glasgow’s institutions to take a preventative approach to tackling the specific issue of GBV, measure trends to gain a better understanding of what needs to be implemented, and support those who have experienced any form of harassment or violence.

Gemma McCall, CEO of Culture Shift, comments:

“The work we’re doing with Fearless Glasgow across the West of Scotland is essential in driving positive change. Data from the Scottish Government has highlighted the seriousness of GBV, with tens of thousands of incidents of domestic violence occurring each year and 56 murders reported as a result of it over the past six years.

“The launch of our reporting platform across these nine institutions, in an area of Scotland with a huge student population, is a pivotal moment. We’re hopeful that others will follow this model and adopt a joined-up approach to tackling the toxic cultures that are rife across our educational institutions.”

Jackie Main, Director of Student Life at Glasgow Caledonian University and chair of Fearless Glasgow, adds:

“One of the biggest barriers to reporting sexual harassment and violence for survivors is the fear of repercussions from speaking up. Survivors also fear that they will not be believed if they do come forward. We are challenging those fears and breaking down barriers, and firmly believe providing a reporting platform that gives people the option to report anonymously will enable us to advance our mission, to work towards a Scotland which is safer for everyone.”

Fiona Drouet MBE, founder and CEO of Emily Test, the Scotland-based charity working to improve prevention, intervention and support concerning GBV in further and higher education, has long been a member of Fearless Glasgow. Fiona says:

“I have been supporting Fearless Glasgow since its inception back in 2019, as the work the group is doing in the area truly is invaluable. GBV does not discriminate. It can happen to anybody and I know first-hand the impact it can have on a person’s life. This collaborative approach is essential in taking steps towards eradicating GBV and supporting those affected.”

Fearless Glasgow is backed by Police Scotland and the Scottish Government, and was launched to help raise awareness of sexual violence in the area while offering enhanced support to more than 150,000 students. GBV includes incidents of rape and sexual assault, coercive control, psychological violence, sexual harassment, intimidation, verbal abuse, discrimination, bullying and stalking.

Culture Shift exists to lead positive change in organisational culture, through building products that empower them to tackle harassment and bullying. It licenses its reporting system to over 65 of the UK’s top universities and more than one million students and higher education employees now have access to the platform.

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