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.

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.

White Ribbon Campaign Scotland

During the 16 Days of Action against Domestic Violence in 2021, the Fearless Edinburgh Partnership came together to pledge support for the White Ribbon Campaign Scotland. White Ribbon is a campaign to involve men in tackling violence against women, providing training to engage men and give them the skills to stand up to violence against women, and help men understand the issues and their role.  

The Fearless Edinburgh Partnership intends to work together to bring White Ribbon Campaign status to Edinburgh by the end of 2022. On 10 December 2021, we started with the leaders from our universities and colleges publicly committing to the White Ribbon Campaign Scotland Pledge:  'I pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women in all its forms.'

We are creating an active network of staff and students tackling violence against women and girls. We are doing this by: 

  • 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.  
  • Collecting pledges.
  • Raising awareness about White Ribbon and gender-based violence through events. 

To get involved, contact


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