Officers in Ayrshire, as part of the North Ayrshire Violence Against Women Partnership, are to encourage 100 young people to talk about gender based violence at an event being held today, Friday 7 December 2018.
The Expect Respect conference, which is to take place at Fullarton Connexions in Irvine, is part of the 16 days of action White Ribbon Campaign and will bring 16 and 17 year-olds together to raise awareness and highlight the support that is available to young people.
Inspired by Scotland's Year of Young People, the event aims to put terms such as ‘domestic abuse’ and ‘coercion’ into language that is relevant in a bid to tackle the issue.
The young people will get the opportunity to hear from Fiona Drouet who has been influential in ensuring support is in place in further education for people suffering domestic based violence, she also now consults with the Scottish Government to address raising awareness of gender based violence in schools. Fiona’s 18 year-old daughter Emily took her own life in 2016 after suffering months of domestic abuse whilst at university.
Neil Clark, a board member of White Ribbon Scotland will also be in attendance to speak with the young people.
Chloe Robertson, who is the local member of the Scottish Young Parliament will be speaking about some of the issues facing young people before hosting a ‘conversation café’ to encourage the attendees to participate.
A short film, to be premiered to the young people, has also been created by local group Funky Films, who worked with actors from Glasgow Acting Academy and City of Glasgow College, to get the key themes across. An artist from "Listen Think Draw" will also be there to capture some of the key discussion points to record them on a live graffiti display.
Chief Superintendent Paul Main, Local Police Commander for Ayrshire said:
"This event will bring one hundred 16 and 17 year olds, from schools and colleges, together to listen and discuss the issues around gender based violence.
"Police Scotland work with partners to tackle this issue, but to do this we need to make sure we are engaging with all groups, including young people.
"Gender based violence can affect anyone, anywhere and it is important that young people know that support is available for them. Those attending the event are at an age where they may be planning to leave home to attend further education, away from the comfort of their family.
"They need to know where they can receive information and support, and also to understand when a crime is being committed or when someone may be in crisis or distress. We hope that today will help them become more informed."