Heriot-Watt host Fearless Edinburgh

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A new multi-agency approach to tackle sexual violence has launched in Edinburgh.

Universities from across the Capital as well as Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) and Police Scotland have signed up to an innovative working group named, Fearless Edinburgh. The partnership also includes organisations from charities and the public sector that have a role to play in preventing and addressing sexual assault.

This cooperative approach aims to address sexual violence within the Higher Education sector.

Professor Gill Hogg, Deputy Principal Deputy Principal Staff Development and Engagement said: “I'm pleased that the Fearless Edinburgh initiative is bringing together a range of agencies involved in addressing issues relating to sexual violence. I'm looking forward to identifying how we work together to make our communities safer."

Heriot-Watt University held the first joint event of Fearless Edinburgh on Thursday 3rd May which included, among others, representatives from Rape Crisis, Police Scotland's Violence Reduction Unit, NHS Lothian and Edinburgh City Council.

Professor Hogg continues: “The purpose of this event was to engage senior leaders of partner agencies in this work, and to come to an agreement for a common purpose which will lay the ground work for further joined-up activity in the near future.”

Fearless Edinburgh was established following a Scottish Government project named, Equally Safe in Higher Education, which resulted in the creation of a toolkit providing advice on gender-based violence across Scotland's university campuses.

Minister for Further and Higher Education Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “Universities and colleges have a responsibility to ensure that their campuses are a safe place for their students to live, work and study.  This includes fostering a culture that is clear in its condemnation of gender-based violence and gives staff and students the confidence to report unacceptable behaviour.

“The collaborative approach taken by the Fearless Edinburgh Partnership to tackle gender based violence is to be commended and is an example of how the Toolkit, launched last week, can bring together effective partnerships to prevent violence, harassment and abuse happening on and off campus.”