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Scottish Young People Create Change

We Need To Talk: Young People’s Views on Gender Based Violence, and What Needs to Change


Scottish Young People Create Change is a network of Scottish third sector organisations working with young people in the area of Gender-Based Violence (GBV). Established in Edinburgh in 2015, the network currently consists of Shakti Women’s Aid, Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre, Edinburgh Women’s Aid, and LGBT Youth Scotland. The purpose of the network is to work with young people in Scotland on the subject of gender-based violence, providing education and equipping Scotland’s young people with the tools to create change. Today, on International Women’s Day, we launch We Need to Talk, a report detailing our first focus group work with young people on GBV.


Above images: Young People’s pledges on what they can do to create change, from SYPCC Edinburgh 2015.

The report was produced following SYPCC’s premier event in Edinburgh on September 10th 2015, where we brought together young people from across Edinburgh to talk about the subject of GBV and consider what we can all do to change it. Currently 1 in 5 women in Britain have experienced unwanted sexual contact in or around school as girls (Plan UK, 2016), and nearly 90% of LGBT young people feel that homophobia is a significant problem in Scotland (LGBT Youth Scotland 2012). The SYPCC network is crucially aware of these dynamics, and believes that we can help influence and alter them by supporting, educating and empowering young people to make a difference.

Above: Feedback from young person attending SYPCC Edinburgh 2015.

We believe in working with young people on the issues that affect them, and our report is our first step in amplifying young people’s voices and concerns amongst professionals, public and service providers.

We Need to Talk – Key Findings

1. Young people want better education, and they need us to ensure they receive it

Sex and Relationships education is not currently compulsory in the UK, and yet young people taking part in SYPCC focus groups consistently highlighted the need for more education as a key concern, as well as asking for improvements to what is already offered. They want their education to be inclusive of different gender identities and sexualities, to teach them about gender and gender-based violence, and to be relevant to them. Further, young people asked that education doesn’t start and end at school – believing instead that everybody, from parents to the general public, should be educated about GBV. Young people need professionals, practitioners and policy makers to help ensure they get access to this education, and lay the foundations of knowledge for young people to build on and share.

2. Young people want to be at the core of creating change, and they need us to help them get there

Young people want to take part in bringing an end to gender-based violence. They want to be involved. Throughout feedback and in focus groups young people reported that they don’t just want to stand by and let things happen – however they recognised that they also need to be given the skills and space to feel able to stand up and make a difference in the first place. They are looking to professionals, services, and their school communities to help them provide this.

3. Young people are living with gender-based discrimination, and they need everyone to take action on it

Gender-based violence is more than physical acts alone; young people repeatedly raised the issue of gender-based discrimination and forms of verbal and emotional abuse such as name calling. Young people want to be able to have the discussions which challenge this, but they need a supportive peer group and safe environment to help them get there – seeking changes which stretch from ending the objectification of women in the media, to promoting positive role models and a greater awareness at school and in the wider community. It is the responsibility of all of us to work towards changing harmful attitudes, and creating safe spaces in which young people can thrive.

You can read the full report, ‘We Need to Talk’, here.

For more information on SYPCC, or to arrange a SYPCC event with your young people, visit www.sypcc.org. Tweet us @SYPCreateChange, #BeBrave.

For questions relating directly to the report please contact Nadine.Jassat@ERCC.Scot.