About the GBV Charter
After identifying various missed opportunities for the university to save her daughter Emily, Fiona Drouet, founder and CEO of EmilyTest, lobbied the Scottish Government to ensure adequate provisions be put in place in Universities and Colleges in relation to GBV prevention, intervention and support.
However, with the lack of regulatory body, Fiona remained concerned about the absence of any independent scrutiny of the sector.
As a result, EmilyTest created the world’s first Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Charter for colleges and universities.
The Charter is an award that allows educational institutions to take the ‘Emily Test’, which involves meeting minimum standards where Emily’s life could have been saved.
The charter is made up of five principles with over 40 minimum standards which institutions must meet in order to pass the Emily Test.
To enable institutions to implement this framework, EmilyTest supports institutions through one-to-one coaching, providing dedicated staff support, resources and opportunities to share good practice with the sector.
Institutions then ‘Take the Test’ by presenting evidence of their work to an independent panel of experts.
What is the Charter?
The first of its kind in the world, the EmilyTest GBV Charter instils minimum standards and excellence in Gender-Based Violence (GBV) prevention, intervention, and support in Colleges and Universities by asking, “would your institution pass the Emily Test?”
Based directly upon the failings in Emily Drouet’s case and on testimony-led research undertaken in institutions across Scotland, the Charter provides a ‘toolbox’ alongside guided coaching for Universities and Colleges to effectively prevent, intervene and respond to GBV in line with best practice, while cementing an ‘outwards’ celebration of progress.
Background to the Charter
Fiona Drouet said: “We are absolutely delighted and encouraged by the level of engagement Scottish Universities and Colleges are showing with the Charter. Applying for the Charter reflects their strong commitment to GBV prevention, intervention and support and we firmly believe the evidence-based framework we have created and developed over the last two years will bring much needed change.
“The Charter should act as a measure and mark for current students and staff of their institutions. It will both celebrate institutional achievements while identifying areas for improvement. We want to harness successes and create a community of good practice for our Charter institutions, ensuring students are as safe as they possibly can be.”
An NUS study of students across Higher Education found:
- 75% of respondents had at least one unwanted sexual experience
- 12% experienced rape
- 14% experienced attempted rape
- 17% experienced stalking
These concerning statistics show that there is still much work to be done to ensure all university and college campuses are safe and responsible places for students to thrive.
Fiona hopes the Charter will allow students, as well as parents and guardians, to make informed decisions on their place of study with wellbeing in mind.
How the Charter Developed
The Charter was created between March 2020 and March 2021 after extensive research and co-creation across Scotland and the United Kingdom (UK) with hundreds of students, graduates, further education (FE) and higher education (HE) staff, Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) professionals and third sector professionals working with ‘marginalised’ groups such as ethnic minority women, disabled students, and LGBTQIA* youth.
The Charter has been continually evaluated since its creation, ensuring that the Charter is receptive to the changing needs of the FE and HE sector while keeping it aligned with evolving National Policy such as Equally Safe to ensure that the EmilyTest vision of eradicating GBV in the FE and HE sector is realised.