Support available during Covid-19 Pandemic
A large number of services who support those experiencing GBV have adjusted their services to offer helplines and support remotely. The link below provide up to date contact information for this specialised support.Download Support Contacts List (pdf)
We appreciate that this may be a very challenging time for you, and want you to know that we are here to help.
The University Counselling Team also continues to provide support. The service is staffed by experienced, professional counsellors and we maintain high levels of confidentiality. Please email email@example.com to set up a phone or video appointment.
Equally Safe UWS
At UWS we are committed to equality and diversity in all we do. In line with this we are committed to playing our part in implementing the Equally Safe in Higher Education project. This project aims to eradicate gender based violence in education and aligns to The Scottish Government's National Equally Safe Strategy, the vision of which is:
A strong and flourishing Scotland where all individuals are equally safe and respected, and where women and girls live free from all forms of violence and abuse – and the attitudes that help perpetuate it
At UWS we want to encourage a culture which is respectful, promotes equality and does not tolerate sexual violence or related misconduct. Our disciplinary procedures provide the means required to take appropriate action where unacceptable behaviour takes place.
It is important that all members of the UWS community have a clear understanding of what is meant by sexual consent.
Sexual Assault and Consent
This section provides some key information in relation to sexual consent and sexual assault.
Sexual consent refers to someone willingly agreeing to have sex or engage in a sexual activity. To give consent, the person must be able to make their own decisions. Someone who is incapacitated through alcohol or drugs, or who is asleep or unconscious, cannot give consent to sexual activity.
Consent to engage in one form of sexual activity does not mean that a person has given consent to all forms of sexual activity. Consent can be withdrawn at any time and where someone has consented to sexual activity once this does not mean that he or she has consented to this activity in the future.
Making sure you have consent before having any kind of sex with another person is very important as sexual activity without consent is rape or sexual assault.
What is the Law?
A person consents to sexual activity if he or she agrees by choice, and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice.
Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009
In Scotland the act of giving consent is known as 'free agreement' under the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009. The law recognises that a person might not have sufficient capacity because of their age or because of a mental disorder. It also recognises that the amount someone has had to drink or the effect of drugs they have can also affect their ability to consent.
Under the same Act:
- A person commits rape if he intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person with their penis without consent (Section 1).
- A person commits sexual assault if he or she intentionally touches another person, the touching is sexual and the person does not consent. There are various different types of sexual assault, and these are explained clearly in Section 2 and Section 3 of the Act.
- A person commits sexual coercion if he or she forces another person to participate in a sexual activity without his or her consent (Section 4).
Sexual Offences Act 2003
In English law consent exists where a person agrees by choice, and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice as defined in the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
Under the same act:
What is the age of consent?
For both men and women, the age of consent to any form of sexual activity is 16.
There are specific laws in place to protect children under the age of 13 who cannot legally give their consent to any kind of sexual activity.
A person under the age of 18 cannot consent to sex if it is with a person who has a duty of care or is in a position of authority or trust, such as a teacher, doctor or lecturer.
If you repeatedly ask for consent and are refused, this can count as sexual harassment.
How to Report Gender Based & Sexual Violence and Where to Get Help
At UWS we take gender based violence seriously and we want to ensure we provide a consistent, caring, and timely response when any member of our University community is affected by such violence.
Should you wish to speak to someone who can advise what support services are available at UWS a safe place to contact is the Hub and the student links on your campus.
Our staff will deal with your enquiry sensitively and they can also advise you of specialist support services available externally. Information will be treated as confidential, unless there is a serious risk of harm to yourself or others.
Information will be treated as confidential, unless there is a serious risk of harm to yourself or others.
What Will the University Do?
If you have been sexually assaulted by someone studying or working at the university you may want to disclose details of the assault or harassment to someone within the University that you feel able to talk to. You can also contact the Hub or Student Link on your campus to access UWS support services.
If you do not feel comfortable to talk to someone within the University then the Case Workers at the Students’ Association are also available should you prefer to discuss the matter with them. Contact details are available on the SAUWS website.
If you wish to report a sexual assault by a student or a member of staff, the University will carry out an investigation. The process will be explained to you in advance to ensure that you are comfortable with each stage.
The University will share the minimum amount of information needed in order to conduct its investigation. This could, however, involve speaking to any witnesses, as well as the student (or students) to whom your complaint relates.
At every stage of our investigation, including where it leads to a matter being referred to the Senate Disciplinary Committee, we will take reasonable steps to ensure that you do not have to come into contact with the student (or students) your complaint relates to.
Where can you get help (UWS & SAUWS)?
In the University
The counselling service at UWS provides free confidential support to all students. All of our counsellors are practised and skilled in providing support, and where relevant can refer you on to specialist support services.
To arrange to see a counsellor go to the Hub or link on your campus or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Student Union (SAUWS)
Your Student Union can also provide support or refer you to a specialist.
Where can you get specialist help (external to UWS)?
There are a number of specialist services who can provide sensitive, expert help by phone or in person. Some of which are listed below and include: Rape Crisis Scotland; Archway; Fearless; LGBT; Scottish Women’s Aid; Men’s Advice Line.
Rape Crisis Scotland
Rape Crisis Scotland provides a national rape crisis helpline and provide an email support service. They assist all genders and non-binary people affected by sexual violence, no matter when or how it happened.
The helpline is open from 6pm to midnight, 7 days a week, and offers free and confidential initial and crisis support and information. The helpline can also put you in touch with local rape crisis centres or other services for ongoing support. The helpline offers a Mincom service for deaf or hard of hearing people, and can arrange for language interpreters if your first language is not English.
Find your local services on their website
Tel: 08088 01 03 02. Helpline open every day (6pm to midnight)
Rape Crisis England & Wales
Rape Crisis England & Wales supports the work of Rape Crisis Centres across England and Wales. They work to raise awareness and understanding of sexual violence and abuse in all its forms and are the national umbrella body for the network of autonomous member Rape Crisis Centres across England and Wales.
The Get Help section of the website gives details on how to access support from the network.
Archway is a specialist service at the Sandyford in Glasgow offering sensitive support, physical examination and counselling for anyone over the age of 13 who has been sexually assaulted or raped within the past 7 days.
Tel: 0141 211 8175
Fearless offers non-judgemental, one-to-one support for individuals experiencing abuse. The service works with survivors of domestic abuse over 16 years old of all races, religions, beliefs, abilities, gender identities, sexes or sexual orientations. Anyone can make a referral to Fearless through the website or by email or phone.
LGBT Helpline Scotland
LGBT Helpline Scotland provides support to LGBT people who have experienced domestic abuse. A national helpline providing information and emotional support to LGBT people, their families, friends and supporters. Open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (12 to 9pm).
Scottish Women's Aid
Scottish Women's Aid network supports, all women (including transgender women and Lesbian/gay or bisexual women)children and young people who have experienced domestic abuse across Scotland by promoting women’s and children’s rights, providing services and advice to members and ensuring services are available. These include safe refuge accommodation, information, and support.
Their helpline is open to anyone affected by domestic abuse, including professionals.
To find Women’s Aid services in other parts of the UK please see the service Directory.
Men’s Advice Line
Men's Advice Line is a confidential helpline for men experiencing domestic violence from a partner or ex-partner (or from other family members). They help by: giving you time to tell your story, offering emotional support, providing practical advice and signposting you to other services for specialist help. The helpline is open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm.