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Mum campaigning to end gender-based violence visits EK college

The mum of a student who took her own life visited an East Kilbride-based college as part of a campaign to end gender-based violence (GBV).

South Lanarkshire College recently welcomed Fiona Drouet MBE, mother of Emily Drouet, to speak to college staff about the EmilyTest charity and her daughter’s story.

Emily Test is a Scottish charity working to improve prevention, intervention and support concerning gender-based violence in further and higher education.

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The charity was created in 2016 following the death of undergraduate student, Emily Drouet in Aberdeen, who took her own life after being subjected to a campaign of gender based violence from a fellow student.

EmilyTest is being funded by the Scottish Government to develop the first GBV Charter for colleges and universities.

The charter is a flexible framework, based on evidence, student and survivor voices and co-creation with staff, to help institutions start or improve their work in tackling GBV.

It aims to set out both minimum standards and excellence in preventing GBV, responding effectively when it happens, and supporting everyone it affects.

Mum campaigning to end gender-based violence visits EK college
The charity founder spoke to the senior leadership team, curriculum managers, lecturers and support staff

South Lanarkshire College is proud to be one of the pilot institutions for the new EmilyTest gender based violence charter.

The college’s head of student services, Rose Harkness, said: “We operate a zero-tolerance approach to all instances of gender-based violence.

“To date we have been incredibly proactive in undertaking work in this area to create a safe college environment for all our staff and students.

“We are delighted to be a pilot institution for the EmilyTest charter and are in awe of the ground-breaking work of Fiona and her team.

“We absolutely share Fiona and EmilyTest’s passion to ensure every student thrives on their college journey, without fear of gender-based violence.”

Fiona, who is CEO and founder of the EmilyTest charity, attended the college along with Erin Ross, the EmilyTest gender-based violence charter development manager to share Emily’s story and discuss the charter’s progress at the college.

Staff including members of the senior leadership team, curriculum managers, lecturers and support staff listened as Fiona told Emily’s story.

She gave details of the abuse Emily suffered prior to her death including coercive control, stalking and a hybrid of sexual, psychological, physical, verbal and digital violence.

Fiona said: “Emily tried to get help, but her abuser remained in the same halls of residence where he was able to see her room from his window.

“Her room is where she should have felt safe. On March 17, 2016 Emily took her own life just minutes after her abuser visited her room unannounced.”

Fiona added: “The EmilyTest Charter was set up in Emily’s memory to lobby and campaign on GBV in student populations, to ensure Emily’s story is never repeated.

“We at EmilyTest are delighted to see the ongoing work at South Lanarkshire College in Gender Based Violence prevention, intervention and support and were delighted to chat with staff and discover that everyone is finding the charter a useful aid in mapping out and progressing with the EmilyTest aims.

“We will work in collaboration with the South Lanarkshire College community and, in turn, lead the sector by example.”

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