I requested this meeting to speak to people in key roles that can play a significant part in changing the culture on campus. They took all my points on board and showed a clear will to engage in change. I am meeting them again on the 3rd May. In the meantime they set up a working group to progress and further develop my idea of staff support cards. These are not intended as a solution, simply an interim measure to leave staff and students less vulnerable when receiving a disclosure. A tool to offer immediate support with 24 hour helpline numbers for Women’s Aid, Rape Crisis etc and also look at providing a number to support other mental health issues. These are an instant tool for staff until qualified training is rolled out. The ESHE training is recommended for all staff, not just academic. Security staff, residence support, librarians, cleaners etc. All staff who come into contact with students and may detect a problem or receive a disclosure. As part of that training there is a Bystanders section which is very interesting to read. The aim is to empower students and staff to speak out if they witness anything they feel uncomfortable with.
When we entered Emily’s room in the halls the thing that stood out was the back of her door, it was blank. There were no signposts to any support, only fire escape instructions. Along with the support cards we are looking to develop stickers for the back of every door in student accommodation. There is a follow up meeting on this in a couple of weeks. These should be available for the new term in August/September and will be issued across all Scottish Universities and Colleges. There is also a working group to discuss a national campaign, various key partners are involved in these ongoing discussions.