The Scottish Government’s Equally Safe strategy defines GBV as:
“…a function of gender inequality, and an abuse of male power and privilege.  It takes the form of actions that result in physical, sexual and psychological harm or suffering to women and children, or affront to their human dignity, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.'

The College acknowledges that this type of violence can also be applied to: 
  • the abuse of men
  • same gender-abuse
  • homophobia, biphobia and transphobia
  • trans and non-binary people; female perpetration of abuse
  • be affected by race, which in some cases may compound the vulnerability 

Actions defined as GBV are as follows: 
  • domestic abuse (including coercive control) 
  • stalking
  • harassment or any unwanted conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of an individual, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them, related to their gender, sexual orientation or gender identity
  • rape and sexual assault
  • child and childhood sexual abuse
  • commercial sexual exploitation, including prostitution, pornography and trafficking
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced and child marriages
  • abuse by other family members, so-called ‘honour-based’ and dowry-related violence crimes 
  • threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life 
Any form of GBV is never okay.   If it is happening to you or someone you know, when you feel ready, safe and able, report it.  

Domestic / Relationship Abuse 
Anyone can be a victim of domestic and relationship abuse.  Whilst predominately perpetrated by men and experienced by women, it can also affect men and non-binary people in any relationship, regardless of, for example, religion, age or class.  It can include a range of behaviours and forms of control that can result in physical, sexual and psychological harm or suffering and can be perpetrated by both current and/or previous partners within an intimate relationship as well as family members or carers.  This form of abuse is often referred to as domestic abuse and frequently includes wider forms of controlling behaviours such as isolation from friends and family; emotional and psychological abuse such as threats, verbal abuse, financial control; and threats to wider friends/family/pets/children. The abuse can be committed in the home or elsewhere, including online. 
Domestic abuse can include, but is not limited to: 
  • Coercive control - a pattern of intimidation, degradation, isolation and control with the use or threat of physical or sexual violence
  • Psychological and/or emotional abuse – like threats, humiliation, criticism and name-calling (including racial abuse), undermining your self-confidence, controlling what you do or who you speak to, stalking, isolating you from your friends and family, etc.
  • Physical or sexual abuse - like hitting, punching, kicking or burning; or rape or forcing you to engage in sexual acts
  • Financial or economic abuse - like not letting you work, or withholding money
  • Sexual harassment and stalking – see separate categories
  • Online or digital abuse - threatening to or distributing intimate images
Sexual Harassment 
Sexual harassment is unwanted and unwelcome words, conduct or behaviour of a sexual nature that has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, embarrassing, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the victim. Sexual harassment may be verbal, non-verbal or physical.   It can range from rude remarks about your appearance to violence and assault and can happen in person and/or through digital/online communications (e.g. mobile phones, online platforms and messages). 
Some common forms of sexual harassment are:  
  • sexual innuendoes
  • indecent or offensive remarks or jokes
  • questions or comments about your sex life
  • demands for sexual favours
  • being leered or stared at
  • the display of sexually explicit material (for example, in an office)
  • unwanted physical contact, such as brushing up against you or pinching you
  • 'flashing' - the act of exposing one's nudity to you
  • ‘Upskirting’ - the act of taking a photograph (also known as a “creepshot”) of underneath a person’s skirt without their permission  
Sexual harassment is an abuse of power.  Many people are reluctant to complain about it, because they are afraid of making the situation worse, and possibly losing their job, home or friends as a result.  They may feel that it's just part of life and must be tolerated. It is important to seek help if you can and not face this situation on your own. 

Sexual Violence 
Sexual violence is any unwanted sexual act or activity. There are many different kinds of sexual violence that exist on a continuum. The Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 covers a range of behaviours that constitute sexual violence, such as:
  • Penetration of the vagina or anus by parts of the body (such as a finger) or objects (such as a bottle or a vibrator)
  • Being forcibly touched in a sexual manner
  • Ejaculating semen onto a person 
  • Forcing or coercing someone to have sex with someone else
  • Being forced to look at pornography  
Sexual violence can be perpetrated by a stranger or by someone known and trusted to the victim, including a friend, colleague, family member, partner or ex-partner.   It is normal for reactions to vary when someone has been sexually assaulted.  You may be afraid, angry or have no outward reaction at all. 
Honour Based Violence 
Honour-based violence (HBV) is based on the perception of family members or the community that you have brought shame upon them, or given them a bad name, and they threaten to hurt you because of this. This can include domestic violence, forced marriage, sexual assault, rape and psychological abuse. Many young people experiencing HBV think it’s their fault but it’s important to remember that nobody has the right to hurt you because you have taken decisions or actions that they may not agree with.

Because HBV often happens in families and communities, it is important to get support outside of the family to help keep you safe. 
Stalking is illegal and can include being followed or constantly contacted by another person, like being sent unwanted emails or gifts. It consists of a pattern of persistent and unwanted attention that makes someone feel vulnerable, scared, anxious or harassed. Stalking can therefore happen in a physical environment, online or a mixture of both. This can occur both within and out with a relationship e.g. between work colleagues, neighbours or strangers who have not formed any intimate relationship. 
Someone can be prosecuted if there are at least two instances of stalking behaviour that causes fear or alarm. 
Each stalking situation is unique and whilst stalkers may have different motivations, the tactics and techniques employed by each are often very similar. Examples of stalking behaviours include: 
  • Following someone or someone else who is associated with that person
  • Contacting or attempting to contact a person by any means
  • Publishing material about someone without their consent
  • Monitoring someone’s phone, internet, email or other forms of communication
  • Loitering in a public or private place
  • Interfering with someone’s property
  • Leaving unwanted gifts or notes for someone
  • Watching or spying on someone  
This is by no means an exhaustive list and each instance of stalking may present unique circumstances that are not listed above. 

Helpful information and resources:
National Stalking Helpline | Suzy Lamplugh Trust 

We know it might be hard to know what to do or how to feel right now.  What happened was not your fault.  What you do next is your choice.   We are here to support you the best we can.

There are two ways you can tell us what happened