The police will support a new pilot which provides immediate information on support services available to Glasgow students
As part of a new initiative being rolled out across Glasgow, frontline police officers will offer Gender-Based Violence support cards to students who attend city colleges and universities. These cards will contain a list of telephone numbers websites of support services, including Rape Crisis Scotland.
These cards are already available to students and staff at Scottish universities but under this new initiative, police officers will offer them to any student who reports a gender-based violence crime. Gender-based violence refers to a spectrum of abuse, predominantly targeted at women and girls, including but not limited to: stalking, domestic abuse, sexual harassment, and abuse.
Assistant chief constable, Gillian MacDonald, crime and protection lead at Police Scotland, said: “We want to end GBV, and early intervention is key to prevention. It’s important that people know who to talk to and where they can get support if they need it, or if they think someone else might be a victim of GBV.
“This is a really simple, but we hope, effective solution to ensuring people are aware of the support available from the moment they report a GBV related incident such as domestic abuse, sexual crime, or honour-based abuse.
“Whether people then access that support is their choice but our officers will hand out a card that will signpost people to support that is available either on campus or off.
“We want to spread the message that there is no shame or embarrassment in reporting domestic or sexual crime. Victims are not at fault. There are people who can and will help. It is offenders who bear sole responsibility for their actions.”
Detective Inspector Julie Marshall, from the National Rape Taskforce at Police Scotland’s Crime Campus in Gartcoh, said: “You have people from all over the world at colleges and universities who do not know the area that well. So knowing that they can get access to a service within their own college or university might encourage them to get support.
“This could also answer a lot of questions as to why some students disengage from their studies because something has happened to them but the universities and colleges are putting this in place to support them.”
Each year on average, between 2014 and 2018, nearly 10,000 domestic incidents and 1,900 sexual crimes were reported across Greater Glasgow. This new pilot will be tested for three months and could be rolled out across the country if figures support the need for the project.