Equally Safe at School
We are piloting a whole school approach to preventing gender-based violence in schools, called Equally Safe at School. We were awarded funding in 2017 by the Scottish Government Violence Against Women and Girls Fund to pilot the project over three years, in 8 schools in total. We are working in partnership with Rape Crisis Scotland who are supporting the steering of the project, and with the University of Glasgow Social Public Health Science Unit, who will be responsible for evaluating the effectiveness of the intervention.
Equally Safe at School has been developed to complement the ongoing Sexual Violence Prevention Work that is being delivered in schools across Scotland, from local rape crisis centres. The project aims to equip schools with the tools to challenge gender based violence and stereotypes, and promote equality. Scottish crime statistics have revealed an increase in the category ‘other sexual crimes’ which includes acts of sexual violence perpetrated online. Analysis of this data showed that 79% of these incidents were perpetrated against school age young women. It also showed an increase in peer on peer sexual violence.
By working with schools to increase awareness of these issues, and improve responses from other students and staff, we aim to reduce the amount of gender based violence experienced by young people, whilst also improving support for survivors.
EQUALLY SAFE SCHOOLS
In the first year of the project we worked with two schools – St John Ogilvie High School in Blantyre, and Calderglen High School in East Kilbride. In the second year of the project we are working with Whitehill Secondary School in Dennistoun, Glasgow and Denny High School in Falkirk.
In the final year of the project, we will be looking to work directly with 4 schools to pilot the project in South Lanarkshire and East Ayrshire.
Over the course of the year we work closely with the students and staff within the school to help the school become more aware of what Gender Based Violence is, to promote equality through the curriculum and in everyday school life, and to be able to identify and respond better to incidents of harassment and gender based violence that may happen within the school and provide better support for survivors.
There are six components involved in our model, delivered over the course of one year in the school. At the end of the year we hope that the school is left with a sustainable model that they can continue to apply within the school. These six components are:
- A whole school assessment – a qualitative review with three groups of students of different ages and members of staff to find out what issues there may be in the school around harassment and GBV, access to support, gender roles and dynamics and subject accessibility.
- Action Group – Each school will form an action group consisting of student and staff representatives to look at findings from the assessment and identify priority areas to work on over the school year.
- Staff Training – Two training sessions are delivered to staff: Enhanced Training for pupil support staff and members of staff involved in the Action Group, which equips them with the ability to identify incidents of Gender Based Violence and respond appropriately, and allow them to explore the links between gender roles and attainment. Essential Training is delivered to all members of staff within the school, which outlines what Gender Based Violence is, and how it relates to inequality, and helps them to reflect on their own practice and think about ways that equality can be promoted within the school.
- Curricular Enhancement – Providing staff with a self-reflection tool to assess language use, materials and resources and to increase awareness to gendered barriers in particular subjects, and provide suggestions on how to make effective changes, as well as an opportunity to trial their own ideas. Pupil support staff members are also given a lesson plan to deliver a session within PSE on Gender Based Violence.
- Policy Review and Development – Working with the schools to review and develop relevant policies and consider ways in which gender equality or gender based violence can be embedded.
- Student Led Projects – Projects, campaigns or awareness raising around the key messages or priority areas within the school.