Thursday, 18 March 2021

A statement on gender-based violence

(Warning – this message contains reference to sexual violence)

On behalf of our University community, we are deeply saddened by the murder of Sarah Everard and the important issues it has raised. Our thoughts are with all those who have been affected by this tragedy.

An event of this nature is shocking. We know it will have had an impact on both students and staff. For some it may trigger memories of personal trauma, for others it will generate feelings of anger, fear and heightened anxiety. If you are affected by any of these issues you can find information on support here.

We want to reiterate all forms of gender-based violence are wrong - any form of sexual violence is always a crime and is never acceptable. The fault always lies with the perpetrator and is never the fault of the survivor/victim. The University and ENSA have worked together over the last three years to improve our response to gender-based violence but recognise this is a wider societal problem and our work in this area continues to require a strategic and sustained response.

Over the last three years our commitment to tackling gender-based violence has seen us introduce the Report and Support online platform, deliver a Zero Tolerance campaign and provide resources to support in-person and online training for our staff and students. More recently, working together with Edinburgh Rape Crisis and the other Edinburgh universities, we've introduced the Student Survivors project. We also recently appointed a new Student Safeguarding and Equality Manager to lead on the University’s response to all forms of hate crime and gender-based violence.

However, our commitment to tackle gender-based violence requires everyone in our community to accept their responsibility and play their part. This involves understanding your responsibilities, signposting colleagues or students to resources and to services, and understanding how to be an active by-stander to de-escalate or step in when you see or hear unwanted behaviours. We particularly encourage our male colleagues and students to engage in the conversation.

We all want Edinburgh Napier to be a safe place to study and to work so please take the time to remind yourself about the resources, policies and reporting pathways outlined below. By coming together and acting as one, we can make Edinburgh Napier as safe as possible – a place where we take a zero-tolerance approach to gender-based violence and hate crime.

Over the last week, we have seen that the national conversation about gender-based violence take on added impetus. We would encourage everyone in our community to engage, take part in this and to listen to the voices of women to develop better understanding, empathy and to take action to prevent and end violence against women.

We're also aware of the barriers for women in sharing their experiences. If you have experienced any form of gender-based violence, or any form of hate crime, please consider reporting and seeking support via our Report and Support system.

If you have been affected by any of the news surrounding the death of Sarah Everard or about women’s safety, please reach out to our Counselling and Wellbeing service if you are a student or to the services and resources offered by Human Resources if you are a member of staff.

Students can also reach out for specialised support from the Student Survivors Project.

Other useful contacts and resources include:

If you or someone else is in danger, call the emergency services on 999 or the University’s Security Team on 0131 455 6119

For further information, advice and support, contact Kirstie Farmer, Student Safeguarding and Equality Manager.

Andrea Nolan,

Principal, Edinburgh Napier University

Heloisa Fyfe,

Vice President, Reps and Volunteers, Edinburgh Napier Students' Association

Important information triangle