Gender Based Violence - #ItsNotOn


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The #ItsNotOn GBV Campaign

We use the term Gender Based Violence (GBV) to refer to many forms of harm, abuse, and harassment. This includes domestic abuse (including coercive control), sexual harassment, rape & sexual assault, non-consensual image sharing, so called 'honour' based abuse, stalking and wider harms relating to someone's gender identity and/or sexual orientation.

We believe staff and students have the right to live and study in a safe and supportive environment.

We are committed to creating an inclusive and welcoming community that is free from harassment.  We want to promote a positive attitude towards sexual consent and respect.

Wherever you may be learning, whether its online or on campus as a student of UHI Inverness we can help you to access the support you might need such as wellbeing & counselling services, study support, accommodation support or financial assistance.  

It is for this reason that UHI Inverness have launched #ItsNotOn - a campaign against gender based violence, and we urge all staff and students to stand together in challenging the behaviour around you.

Our student code of conduct clearly states that Gender Based Violence is unacceptable in any environment.

Our staff take care not to share person-identifiable information on protected characteristics without consent (e.g 'outing' LGBTQ people; disclosing pregnancy status)

GBV is NEVER the fault of the victim / survivor and we will not victim-blame, we will listen and we can help and protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of all staff and students is of paramount importance which is why we have a NDA Position Statement

In instances where students who disclose or report any form of GBV, they will not face disciplinary action for breaching other UHI Inverness policies relating to: drug consumption, underage consumption of alcohol, academic misconduct, any pandemic (lockdown) policies should they be applied.  This applies in cases where any breach relates directly to GBV.  Exceptions to this would be in certain courses where fitness to practice or health and safety implications could put a child, vulnerable adult, other professional or members of the public at risk. 

We respect that you may ask to speak to a specific member of staff instead (or staff of a particular gender, race, religion or sexuality, for example). We are happy to try and locate another staff member of your choosing and accommodate this request where possible.

It's not on

You can view our Gender Based Violence Policy for more information 

We recommend that people look for support and information at Young Scot with their online resources titled 'That's Not Ok'

You can report any issues seen or experienced to the Student Support Team

Stand up - speak out

Consent is as easy as a cup of tea - click on the cup of tea for more info

cup of tea


Learn about Gender Based Violence content

Learn about Gender Based Violence

Learn about Gender Based Violence

REE Student E-Learning Module

We highly encourage all students to participate in this free e-learning module and contribute to a safer campus, at any time. Created by Rape Crisis Scotland, this short and interactive resource will help you to recognise potential GBV happening to you and to others. A range of learning tools are utilised throughout the module such as quizzes, videos and case studies.

There are two options available for this module:

  1. If you would like to receive a certificate for your learning, please send an email from your student account to titled ‘Add to GBV Course’.  We will add you to the course on Brightspace and let you know when it is ready.
  2. Should you need to participate anonymously, you can instead access the module instantly. Instant access will not track your details, so you will be unable to generate a certificate. You can also leave anonymous feedback for the module creators.

More information on why and how we will process your data can be found in the GBV Module Privacy Notice. You should be over 18 and aware that the content may be triggering.

Reporting to the Police content

Reporting to the Police

Reporting to the Police

Reporting to the Police

  • A report can be made through the Police Scotland website by way of a 'Contact Us' online form submission, by contacting 101 to report non-emergency matters and general enquiries or by calling 999 in an emergency.

If you make a report to the Police, you can ask for someone from the University to accompany you. Student Services will support you through this process.

The Police are committed to providing a sensitive service which takes account of the trauma of sexual violence. Learn more about how Police Scotland respond to reports of sexual misconduct here.

If you contact the Police regarding a sexual misconduct report:

  1. An initial report will be taken - you can ask to speak to a female or male officer and can take someone with you for support.
  2. If you report a sexual offence the police may wish to seize clothing and other items relevant to the police investigation.
  3. A Sexual Offences Liaison Officer (SOLO) will be assigned to you.   This is a specialised officer who is trained in discussing sexual incidents and has insight into the impact that trauma can have on a person.
  4. A witness statement will be taken and a medical examination can be arranged where appropriate.  
  5. Police Officers will carry out detailed enquiries with any potential witnesses and interview the person responsible.   On the conclusion of the police investigation;
    1. if there is insufficient evidence, the case will not be reported to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and you will be informed of this.
    2. if there is sufficient evidence, the Police will send a report to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service who will make a preliminary decision on the case.
  6. Police Scotland will ensure you have the opportunity to obtain support from specialist external services, for example Rape Crisis.
  7. Please note: if, at a later date, you do not want to go ahead with a criminal case, your wishes will be taken into account however the police may continue with the investigation.
Active bystander content

Active bystander

Active bystander

We can all be bystanders. Every day events unfold around us. At some point, we will register someone in danger. When this happens, we will decide to do or say something (and become an active bystander), or to simply let it go (and remain a passive bystander).

Be an Active Bystander

When we intervene, we signal to the perpetrator that their behaviour is unacceptable. If such messages are constantly reinforced within our community, we can shift the boundaries of what is considered acceptable and problem behaviour can be stopped.

Learning to recognise when someone is in danger and how you can intervene safely is an essential skill. Safely intervening could mean anything from a disapproving look, interrupting or distracting someone, not laughing at a sexist or a violent joke, talking to a friend about their behaviour in a non-confrontational way to caring for a friend who’s experienced problematic behaviour. Other times, it means asking friends, staff, or the police for help.

How to be an Active Bystander

Sometimes, a situation just does not feel right. It might be comments made by a friend that you feel are inappropriate or you spot someone being harassed at a party or club.

Being an active bystander means being aware of when someone’s behaviour is inappropriate or threatening and choosing to challenge it. If you do not feel comfortable doing this directly, then get someone to help you such as a friend or someone in authority.

Research shows that bystander intervention can be an effective way of stopping harassment or even an assault before it happens, as bystanders play a key role in preventing, discouraging, and/or intervening when an act of violence has the potential to occur.

Before stepping in, try the ABC approach

  • Assess for safety: If you see someone in trouble, ask yourself if you can help safely in any way. Remember, your personal safety is a priority – never put yourself at risk.
  • Be in a group: It’s safer to call out behaviour or intervene in a group. If this is not an option, report it to others who can act.
  • Care for the victim. Talk to the person who you think may need help. Ask them if they are OK.

How You Can Intervene Safely

When it comes to intervening safely, remember the four Ds – direct, distract, delegate, delay.

  • Direct action
    Call out negative behaviour, tell the person to stop or ask the victim if they are OK. Do this as a group if you can. Be polite. Don’t aggravate the situation - remain calm and state why something has offended you. Stick to exactly what has happened, don’t exaggerate.
  • Distract
    Interrupt, start a conversation with the perpetrator to allow their potential target to move away or have friends intervene. Or come up with an idea to get the victim out of the situation – tell them they need to take a call, or you need to speak to them; any excuse to get them away to safety. Alternatively, try distracting, or redirecting the situation.
  • Delegate
    If you are too embarrassed or shy to speak out, or you don’t feel safe to do so, get someone else to step in. Any decent venue has a zero tolerance policy on harassment, so the staff there will act.
  • Delay
    If the situation is too dangerous to challenge then and there (such as there is the threat of violence or you are outnumbered) just walk away. Wait for the situation to pass then ask the victim later if they are OK. Or report it when it’s safe to do so – it’s never too late to act.
What is sexual violence? content

What is sexual violence?

What is sexual violence?

Sexual violence and harassment

Sexual violence is any form of unwanted sexual activity.  There are many different kinds of sexual violence, including but not restricted to: rape, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, sexual harassment, rather with marriage / relationships, forced marriage and sexual exploitation.

Sexual violence can be perpetrated by a complete stranger, or by someone known and even trusted, such as a friend, colleague, family member, partner or ex-partner.  Sexual violence can happen to anyone.  No-one ever deserves or asks for it to happen.

100% of the responsibility for any act of sexual violence lies with its perpetrator.  There is no excuse for sexual violence; it can never be justified, it can never be explained away and there is no context in which it is valid, understandable or acceptable.

If you have been raped or experienced any other kind of sexual violence, no matter where you were, what you were doing, what you were wearing, what you were saying, if you were drunk or under the influence of drugs, it was not your fault, you did not deserve this.

It might help you to know that by law, a person consents to sexual activity if she or he agrees to it by choice, and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice.  If you said 'yes' to something because you were scared for your life, or your safety, or for the life or safety of someone you care about, or if you were asleep or unconscious or incapacitated through alcohol or drugs, for example, then you didn't agree by choice and have the freefom and capacity to make that choice.

If you froze or your body 'flopped' or went limp through fear, if you didn't say the word 'no' or weren't able to speak at all through shock, if you didn't shout or fight or struggle, it doesn't mean you gave consent for what happened to you.

Sexual violence overview

Harassment is a pattern of behaviour that is unwelcome and has the effect of violating a person’s dignity or of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them.

The behaviour is usually persistent and continues over a period of time, although a one-off incident that is particularly serious can also amount to harassment.

Whilst views of ‘acceptable behaviour’ may vary from person to person, the key element of sexual violence and harassment is that the behaviour is unacceptable to the recipient and could ‘reasonably be considered’ to cause harassment.

It is unlawful to harass someone at University on the grounds of their race, sex, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or gender reassignment.

In addition to the students' complaints process there is additional help available on campus.

Experiencing harassment is difficult and you may have many, often conflicting feelings about the events that have led you to feel humiliated, offended or degraded or about the fact that you are in an environment that violates your dignity.

You can feel this way if another person intended to make this happen or not; what matters is how you feel.

Sexual violence and harassment is unlawful and can be reported to the police, your employer or your university who can take you through formal procedures.

You may want to talk to someone about doing this or you may just want to someone to talk to.

At UHI Inverness, we have a number of staff who are able to take time to listen, advise and guide you through your next steps whatever you decide you want them to be.

These staff can be found in the Wellbeing Team and the Student Support Team.

Just pop into the Student Services Centre, the glass office behind reception.

It happened to me content

It happened to me

It happened to me

Sexual violence affects 1 in 3 women and 1 in 8 men. It is about power and control and not about sex. Sexual violence remains taboo in our culture and so survivors are often silenced. You don't have to go through this alone. There are people who care and who can support you. And remember: It's never your fault. Ever.

  • Take care of yourself. Whatever that looks like.
  • Your feelings are real and you are entitled to them.
  • Talk to someone you trust.
  • You have the right to set boundaries for yourself.
I think it's happening to me content

I think it's happening to me

I think it's happening to me

I think I am being harassed or bullied. What options are available to me?

If you are being a victim of sexual violence, or being harassed or bullied you may feel that you are powerless to change the situation.

However, there are a number of informal and formal options open to you (set out below) and any member of staff can help you think though these options. Which is appropriate will depend on your situation. Where possible and appropriate we recommend an informal approach be used first.

Whatever course of action you take, it’s a good idea to keep a written record of the behaviour for your future reference, including:

  • When and where the incident takes place
  • Details of the behaviour
  • Names of any witnesses to the behaviour 

1. Speak to the person concerned

Often speaking with the person about their behaviour can bring the situation to an end. Sometimes people do not realise that their behaviour is upsetting and explaining this to them can be enough to make them rethink their actions.

It is best to approach the person at the earliest opportunity to prevent the behaviour from escalating. Try to:

  • Pick a time and place where you can speak privately (if appropriate)
  • Clearly identify the behaviour that is causing concern to you
  • Make clear it is unwelcome and must stop

2. Seek Third Party intervention

If speaking to the person does not resolve the situation, getting a third party involved may help. Ideally this should be your Personal Academic Tutor or the Guidance/Wellbeing Teams. The third party should try to resolve the situation, for example by speaking to the person concerned about their behaviour, by reaching an agreement between you and them about the way forward.

3. Make a formal complaint

Where other approaches do not succeed, or where they are unsuitable, a formal complaint should be made. The complaint will be addressed under the relevant complaint procedure and will involve an investigation into the allegations. In the course of the investigation the complainant, alleged harasser and any witnesses will be interviewed.

Depending on the outcome of the investigation, a formal complaint can result in disciplinary action being taken against the harasser, a recommendation for mediation, training or counselling or some other measure to address their behaviour.

Formal complaints can be taken to ANY member of staff. They should include your details, an outline of the allegation (including dates, times and places), details of the alleged harasser or bully, details of any witnesses and any attempts to resolve the situation.

The College will investigate the allegation as speedily as possible. Where the allegations are against people you come into regular contact with, arrangements to limit contact during the investigation will be considered.

For further information about making a formal complaint, see ANY member of staff.

I was drinking / on drugs when I was attacked content

I was drinking / on drugs when I was attacked

I was drinking / on drugs when I was attacked

Alcohol is the most common drug used in sexual assaults. It is readily and legally available.  Illegal drugs are acknowledged as a part of student culture. The side-effects of alcohol consumption can include impaired decision making and perceptions, memory loss, loss of consciousness and coordination. These may make a person more vulnerable than when they are sober.

The choice to take advantage of a persons’ vulnerability due to alcohol or drug intoxication is the choice of the perpetrator.

A perpetrator may deliberately target you because you are intoxicated whether through your own voluntary consumption of alcohol or other drugs, or because they have facilitated your intoxication as part of a plan to sexually assault you.

It does not matter whether you were drinking alcohol and/or took the drug/s yourself, or were drugged without knowing it; sex with a person who is seriously impaired or incapacitated due to alcohol or drugs is rape.

Recent Disclosures in relation to Gender-Based Violence content

Recent Disclosures in relation to Gender-Based Violence

Recent Disclosures in relation to Gender-Based Violence

Published Friday 26 January 2024

Recent Disclosures in relation to Gender-Based Violence

This semester we have had between 10 and 20 disclosures of Gender Based Violence and are supporting the individuals involved.

We would like to update our community on the recent disciplinary cases that were considered by UHI Inverness in relation to gender-based violence.

Semester 1

We had <20 cases of general (non-gender-based violence) student misconduct and breaches of our Code of Conduct.

Of those, <5 cases related to instances of students breaching our Code of Conduct in relation to sexual misconduct, gender-based violence, or safeguarding.

The cases led to <5 verbal warnings and <5 written warnings.

We have had no exclusions in relation to our Code of Conduct relating to sexual misconduct, gender-based violence, or safeguarding.

We have had <5 course applications which we have chosen not to progress due to applicants with criminal convictions and or offending which is of a safeguarding nature.

It happened to someone you know content

It happened to someone you know

It happened to someone you know

When someone discloses to us that they have been sexually assaulted, it can be really overwhelming. We are concerned for their wellbeing and want to support them, but often don't know how. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Believe them. Sexual violence affects 1 in 3 women and 1 in 8 men. It is real.
  • Ask them how you can support them. Don't assume you know what they need.
  • Respect confidentiality.
  • Value their boundaries. Don't pry or ask for details.
  • Offer them resources.
  • Understand that everyone deals with trauma differently and that everyone's healing path is different.
  • If the person disclosing to you is under the age of 16, you must report it 
  • If you are struggling with their disclosure, you are entitled to your own support.
Supporting someone content

Supporting someone

Supporting someone

Supporting a survivor of sexual violence can be daunting; many people are afraid of saying or doing 'the wrong thing', or of 'damaging' someone further because they 'don't know enough'. But you don't have to be an expert.

If you are prepared to listen, the survivor who has confided in you will be able to guide you in what they need. Here is some guidance to support you in supporting a survivor:


Signpost: Show them that there is support available and where to find it. 

Listen: Listen, and show that you are listening, to what she or he has to say, even if it's difficult for you to hear. You might have a lot of questions but try not to interrupt.

Let them stay in control: Sexual abuse and rape can make a person feel powerless and out of control. Survivors want and deserve to feel in charge of their lives again. So it's important you resist the temptation to 'take over', for example by arranging and doing things that you think are best. Instead, support her/him to explore their feelings and options and make their own decisions. Respect those decisions, even if you don't agree with them. Doing things for a survivor (like making an appointment on their behalf without checking that it's what they want first) can end up making things worse, even when you were only trying to help.

Be patient: Many survivors find it difficult to trust others because of their experiences and especially if they've not been believed in the past. At the same time, if someone you know has told you that they were abused or raped, they've put trust in you. Try to repay that trust by being patient and don't push for them to tell you anything before they're ready. It might not be easy for them to start talking about experiences they might have stayed silent about for some time. It might be difficult because their abuser told them not to tell or threatened them. They might feel ashamed or responsible or be traumatised.

If it's your partner who has experienced sexual violence of any kind, whether recently or in the past, they might find intimacy and sexual contact difficult. Sometimes they might not even want you physically close, and other times they might seek extra physical comfort from you. Try to remember that this is not a reflection on you or your relationship; it is about your partner's experiences and feelings. Reassure them, respect their wishes and be patient.

Believe: People rarely lie about rape or sexual abuse. Why would they? It is important to believe what they are saying even if it's difficult for you to hear.

Remember it's not their fault: No-one asks to be abused, assaulted or raped. No survivor should ever be blamed for not preventing their own abuse or violence against them. The blame lies with the perpetrator.

Recognise their courage: It takes a great deal of strength and courage both to survive and to talk about experiences of sexual violence; acknowledge that.


Don't ask why they didn't say anything sooner: They might have tried to tell before and been ignored or disbelieved. They might have been threatened or been too frightened to say anything. They might have felt ashamed or blocked out events too painful to think about.

Don't judge: It is important to be accepting of the way they are reacting, even if it's not what you were expecting or not the way you think you'd respond to a similar experience. It is best to get rid of any ideas you have of how a person who has been raped should behave and to accept their reactions as their own.

Don't ask them why they didn't fight back: This will only make them feel judged and even blamed for what happened. Rape and sexual assault are terrifying experiences to which people react in different ways. It's very common to freeze when confronted with a terrifying situation, for example, or for our bodies to 'flop' or go limp.

Remember to take care of yourself as well. Supporting a survivor can be difficult and it's OK to take time and space for yourself sometimes. It's important not to betray a survivor's trust by telling others about their experiences without their permission, but you can talk confidentially to and get specialist support from your nearest Rape Crisis service.

Information taken from

Support Information content

Support Information

Support Information

Other organisations
Rape and Sexual Abuse Service Highland

03330 066909
Inverness Women’s Aid 

01463 220719

Highland Sexual Health
24hr Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline

0800 0271234

Revenge Porn Website 

Helps with intimate image abuse

0345 6000 459

Amina - the Muslim Women's Resource Centre 

0808 801 0301

Scottish Women’s Rights Centre 08088 010789
Rape Crisis Scotland 08088 010302
Scottish Women’s Aid 0800 0271234
Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline 0800 0271234
The Samaritans    08457 909090
Sexual Harassment Legal Service 08088 010789
LGBT Domestic Abuse, Hate Crime, and Sexual Violence Support Services

0800 9995428
Support Services for Men Experiencing Domestic Abuse or Sexual Violence
Men’s Advice Line

0808 8010327
Abused Men In Scotland   0808 8000024
Survivors UK 

020 33221860

Men in Recovery - Supporting sexually abused men on their journey to wholeness


Zero Tolerance 
Scottish charity working to end men's violence against women by promoting gender equality and challenging attitudes.

White Ribbon Scotland
Providing training and information workshops to engage men and give them skills to stand up to violence against women.

Domestic Violence UK

A not-for-profit organisation set up to provide information, support and raise awareness on the issues of domestic and emotional abuse. Includes a free telephone counselling service.

Paladin is the National Stalking Advocacy Service, offering support and advocacy to victims and professionals working with them:

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