Gender-based violence

Heriot-Watt is taking action to address gender-based violence – GBV.

Gender based violence takes many forms. We recognise that alongside a spectrum of violence people of all genders can be subjected to GBV. Our approach is informed by the Scottish Government Equally Safe national strategy and the Equally Safe in Higher Education Project which was funded by the Scottish Government and developed a toolkit to challenge gender-based violence across Scotland’s university campuses.

Our work is overseen by our Equally Safe in Higher Education Working Group. The group brings together representatives from across the University community so that we can take steps to effectively tackle GBV.

White Ribbon Campaign Scotland

What is the White Ribbon Campaign?

White Ribbon is a campaign to involve men in tackling violence against women. White Ribbon Scotland provide training to help men understand the issues and their role, giving them the skills to stand up to violence against women. 

White Ribbon at Heriot-Watt

During the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence in 2021, Heriot-Watt (as part of the Fearless Edinburgh Partnership) pledged our support for the campaign. In 2023, we became the first university in Scotland to be awarded White Ribbon Campaign Status in recognition of our work in addressing gender-based violence. 

What we're doing

  • Speaker training: We're bringing speaker training to staff and students. The training supports spreading ownership and involvement in the campaign through building knowledge and confidence in addressing gender-based violence.  
  • Awareness raising: We are raising awareness about White Ribbon and gender-based violence through social media, staff and student newsletters, and at events all over campus: new colleagues induction events, the Watt Welcome Fair for students, during Celebration Week and more. 
  • Pledges: As we spread the word about White Ribbon, we are collecting pledges from the Heriot-Watt community 'never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women in all its forms.' 
  • Speaker network: We are growing our active speaker network of staff and students to drive our White Ribbon work. 
  • Leadership: At the University Executive meeting in November 2022, all members present committed to the White Ribbon pledge. 

Make your own White Ribbon pledge here.

To get involved, contact

Fearless Edinburgh

We are proud to be active members of the Fearless Edinburgh Partnership, a regional partnership across Edinburgh. Our common purpose is outlined below:

'We are a multiagency partnership tackling and preventing gender-based violence in all its forms through joint strategic and operational actions. Primarily focusing on further and higher education settings we are committed to ending sexual violence by challenging harmful behaviours and attitudes alongside supporting those impacted and building confidence. Informed by Equally Safe, our common purpose is to deliver safer communities and culture change; a Fearless Edinburgh.'

As a partnership we recognise that our student community in particular has shared spaces where we can better support our communities by working together.


We work with the #EMILYTEST campaign, supporting students affected by GBV, making sure that our staff and students are fully aware of where to find support.

Contacts and support

If you are in immediate danger call 999 and ask for the police. If it is not safe to speak, use the Silent Solution system; call 999 then press 55 when prompted.

Call 101 for non-emergency police support.

We want to make sure that anyone can access support at any time and in any circumstances. Staff, students and visitors at Heriot-Watt can use:

Help during COVID-19 

Home is not always a safe place. If you feel uncomfortable, or know that your behaviour is making life uncomfortable for others, then please reach out for help.  You may be a student, or a member of staff, but regardless of your connection to the Heriot Watt community, your safety and wellbeing are important. Available support is outlined below.

If you are a BSL user you can use ContactScotland to contact Heriot-Watt University.

Key information

National Rape Crisis Helpline

Safer Families Edinburgh - for Men worried about their abusive behaviour

  • +44 131 469 4325

Scotland’s Domestic Abuse & Forced Marriage Helpline

  • 0800 027 1234

Student Wellbeing