Under consideration PE2022: Introduce national safeguarding guidance on how higher education institutions should handle cases of sexual misconduct

Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to introduce national safeguarding guidance for dealing with cases of sexual misconduct in higher education institutions, which includes clearly defined measures to ensure campus safety where a convicted sex offender, or someone awaiting trial for a serious sexual offence, is enrolled at an institution.

Previous action taken

I have raised the issue with Pam Gosal MSP, who raised the issue during First Minister's Questions.

I have also met with the then Higher Education Minister, Jamie Hepburn, and representatives from Universities Scotland to raise the issue of sexual violence on university campuses and lack of safeguarding measures and guidance.

Background information

I was raped while studying at university and my attacker was charged and found guilty at the High Court.

The attacker was suspended from the university when charged, but while awaiting trial started studying at another university, despite this institution being informed of the charges. This enabled my attacker to have a normal student experience before being sent to prison.

This case brought into sharp focus the lack of safeguarding measures in place at Scottish universities for dealing with cases of sexual misconduct like this.

Women at university are more likely to experience sexual violence than the general population, yet there is no national guidance to ensure students and staff are kept safe when sexual misconduct claims arise. Allowing persons convicted of, or charged with, rape on to campuses with no measures in place to ensure safety is irresponsible and gambles with lives.

Guidance should consider:

  • offering online-only classes to individuals awaiting trial;

  • appropriate disciplinary action if sexual misconduct is proven.

  • Created by Ellie Wilson
  • Considered from 13 April 2023
  • Petitions can collect signatures until the petition has been closed

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