Victims of sexual assault at the University of St Andrews have been urged to contact the police immediately by Nicola Sturgeon’s government following a Telegraph investigation.
At least a dozen claims of rape and sexual assault have been levelled against members of a US-style fraternity at the university, and the group has suspended a number of its members.
More allegations have been made against other students at Prince William and Kate Middleton’s alma mater, with an Instagram page for survivors to share their stories receiving more than 100 submissions in less than a week.
After the Telegraph’s report, St Andrews responded by introducing a compulsory module on consent and sexual assault which all 9,000 students will be required to take before they are allowed to start the forthcoming academic year.
Now, appalled by the shocking allegations of rape and violent assault, the Scottish Government has said that “anyone who has been the victim of any such crime, or has information relating to any allegations,” should contact the police immediately as these are criminal matters.
A Scottish Government spokesperson told the Telegraph: “University and college campuses should be places where students can live, study and research free from sexual harassment and gender based violence.
“This includes fostering a culture that is clear in its condemnation of gender-based violence and gives staff and students the confidence to report unacceptable behaviour.
“We would encourage anyone who has been the victim of any such crime, or has information relating to any allegations, to contact the police immediately as these are criminal matters.
“The Scottish Government recognises the devastating impact that all sexual assaults can have, and we are committed to working with justice and third sector partners to ensure that complainers are supported to help them effectively engage with the justice system.”
At least nine allegations of rape have been made against students in the St Andrew’s branch of Alpha Epsilon Pi - a global fraternity with more than 170 groups in seven countries.
One female student told the Telegraph that she was raped by a fraternity “brother” in February after he offered to walk her home from a party.
She was put to bed but woke up to find him raping her. The young woman locked herself in a bathroom in floods of tears. She has not yet reported the incident to the police but says she would like to take the matter forwards with the authorities.
The fraternity, who are not recognised as an official society by the university, responded to the widespread claims saying: “We find the contents of these allegations abhorrent, and are taking them extremely seriously.”
They said they “immediately suspended members who acknowledged any role in the alleged incidents and entered them into Alpha Epsilon Pi's expulsion process.”
A spokesperson for St Andrews said: “The University will always act when incidents are formally reported, and is committed to working collaboratively with students to promote a culture of responsibility and respect, in which everyone can trust in our procedures and that our community is intolerant of all forms of sexual misconduct.”
Yvonne Stenhouse, Police Scotland’s Community Inspector for North East Fife, told the Telegraph: “We are committed to bringing sexual offenders before the courts and treat all reports of sexual crime with the utmost seriousness.”