News story

Scottish sexual consent and disclosure training for universities launched by Marshall E-Learning and Abertay University

Learning NewsMarshall E-Learning

Abertay University have become the first institution in Scotland to make e-learning available to all students and staff on the topic of sexual violence through Marshall’s courses Consent on Campus and Responding Appropriately to Disclosures of Sexual Violence.

Scottish law has some key differences to English and Welsh law including the definition of rape and sexual assault, and further clarification on what constitutes as consent. These courses specifically reflect Scottish legislation and support services in order to provide students with accurate and up to date information.

Consent on Campus is a student focused course which busts myths on sexual violence, defines consent in a social and legal context, and explains the consequences of sexual assault for both the survivor and the offender. Responding Appropriately to Disclosures of Sexual Violence (originally developed for Brunel University) is aimed at student-facing staff and explains the problems of sexual violence on campus, staff duty of care and where to point students for support and resources.

Sexual violence on university campuses is a big issue which has recently started to garner more attention. One in three female students report experiencing unwanted sexual advances, while two in three students have said they witnessed sexual harassment during their studies. Universities have faced criticism for not having robust policies to deal with sexual violence and allowing harassment to go unchecked. An increasing number of institutions are reviewing their guidelines and providing training for staff.

Scotland has specifically developed the Equally Safe in Higher Education Toolkit to tackle sexual violence on campus. This is a free resource which helps to improve awareness and staff confidence on how to respond to disclosures and create better mechanisms for students to report and access further support. This is part of a wider Equally Safe project in Scotland to eradicate gender based violence and promote health, respectful relationships.

James Nicholson, director of student services at Abertay University says “we are committed to tackling gender-based violence and recognise that this is an ongoing issue both within higher education and society as a whole. One of our priorities as we entered this new academic year was to raise awareness within our staff and student body of what constitutes abusive behaviour and to highlight what to do if they witness, experience or – in the case of staff – receive a disclosure about anything that doesn’t feel right to them.  We’re hopeful that by continuing to raise awareness and understanding of the issues, the Abertay community will feel empowered to call out and, ultimately, curtail problematic attitudes and behaviours”.

David Marshall, the founder and chief executive of Marshall E-Learning explains how these courses came about:

“This project started with our partners Coventry University and Rape Crisis. It is very rewarding to see how that initial project has gained real momentum. Universities are now tailoring this for their own purposes and Abertay are to be applauded to be the first university in Scotland to move ahead with the project. We hope all the background research to ensure Scottish Government guidance is used throughout will benefit the sector in Scotland.”

Universities who are interested in more information about the courses or how to address these issues can contact Marshall E-Learning on +44 (0)845 123 3909 or [email protected].