Find out the latest guidance and information about the impact of COVID-19 on the University.


Gender Based Violence and the role of the First Responder

Fiona Hall
Fiona Hall is a project coordinator within the Student Life team. She reflects on her additional role as one of a network of Gender Based Violence (GBV) First Responders, who are still there to support staff and student during the crisis.

The Covid-19 crisis has meant that there has been an increasing focus within my role on promoting wellbeing within our community.

Myself, and the rest of RGU’s network of 30 Gender Based Violence (GBV) First Responders across the university are continuing to work remotely to support anyone wishing to make an initial disclosure of GBV. We have all undertaken specialised training by Rape Crisis, enabling us to speak with anyone wishing to make a disclosure. We are able to make sure you are safe, listen without judgement, support you, and signpost to additional services, both within and out with the University.

Sadly, we are aware that Scotland is preparing for a rise in relationship abuse and intimate partner violence cases due to the current obligations for us all to stay at home. For many people the home is not a neutral place free of threats of harm and abuse and domestic and Intimate partner violence can have serious and fatal consequences. It also makes it harder to get away to calmer, friendlier and more respectful places, where those affected can feel safer, more supported and better able to seek help.

Thankfully, It remains a Scottish Government priority to ensure that anyone who is a victim of domestic abuse gets access to the support services they need during these unprecedented times, and they recently launched its new domestic abuse campaign. RGU shares this commitment to continue to support anyone within our community who may be affected by relationship abuse, or any other form of Gender Based Violence, and alongside the existing detailed support information already on Report and Support, have uploaded additional information on Staying Safe while staying home during Covid-19.

During the crisis, we have continued to deliver our complete portfolio of support services. We are providing counselling and wellbeing support remotely via telephone or video call, as is our Inclusion team. The student Help Point operates a remote reactive service to our students and RGU Sport launched the “Stay home, stay safe, stay well” initiative, which focuses on providing home workouts, tips and challenges. The Res Life has continued to support students in halls providing out of hours reactive support, and our online services, Silvercloud and Report and Support, remain online providing 24-7 support to those in need.

I am really passionate about raising awareness and being able to support anyone who has been a victim of Gender Based Violence. In my other guise as designer at Camban Studio, I’ve teamed up with three of my Aberdeen based designers/makers friends - Rachel of Hackley, Mhairi of Paper Houses Design, and Helen of Helen Ruth Scarves to launch an online ‘Indie Raffle’ to raise funds for Grampian Women’s Aid.

The fundraiser will take place as an online raffle, with the proceeds of all ticket sales going to the charity.  All prizes have been generously donated by over 40 local independent businesses, designers and makers from the local area and further afield in Scotland. 

It has been incredible to see so many people willing to help raise, not only money but awareness, for such a worthwhile cause during a time of such uncertainty.  We are really passionate about being able to do something to help, and this has really been echoed by the support from all those participating in the raffle. To enter the raffle head to the Just Giving page and purchase as many tickets (£2 per entry) as you like.

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