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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S6W-00743

Date lodged: 15 June 2021


To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the work that it is carrying out to deal with sexual abuse in schools and colleges, in light of Ofsted’s review of this issue in England.

Current status: Answered by Shirley-Anne Somerville on 28 June 2021


The Scottish Government is taking forward a wide range of action in schools and colleges to address gender based violence and sexual harassment.

To support schools to deliver learning on relationships, sexual health and parenthood education, Education Scotland have produced experiences and outcomes which set out what each pupil is expected to learn and how their learning is expected to progress through the four levels of learning.

In addition to this, we are funding a number of targeted programmes to support positive behaviour and relationships. This includes the Mentors in Violence Prevention Scotland Programme which is working to tackle gender stereotyping and attitudes that condone violence against women and girls; pilot of a whole schools approach to tackling gender based violence with Rape Crisis Scotland and Zero Tolerance; and, running up to three Fearless campaigns nationally to educate and support young people to speak up about crime, making their lives and that of their communities safer.

We are also developing a National Approach guidance document, with partners on the Gender Based Violence in Schools Working Group, to ensure consistency in messages on sexual harassment and gender based violence to everyone working with children and young people.

In colleges and universities, institutions are expected to adopt and adapt the Equally Safe in Higher Education Toolkit, and in doing so adopt a Gendered Analysis to this issue, assess their own policies and practices against the Toolkit and put in place policies, reporting processes and support arrangements to keep students safe.

The Scottish Government continues to fund several projects aimed at support the further and higher education sector, by developing online training and resources, particularly for the college sector; developing an institutional GBV Charter Mark and the parameters of effective risk management approaches to work already undertaken by Universities Scotland; and, to purchase an online tool to enable staff and students in certain Glasgow-based institutions to anonymously report gender based violence and racial harassment issues.