Meet Vicky Glover, Scotland’s first ever female Commonwealth Games boxer

Vicky Glover is 18 years old and the first woman selected to represent Scotland in boxing at a Commonwealth Games. Since her selection, she has received a great deal of media attention, with CNN, BBC and a range of newspapers all seeking to speak with her, something that she seems to be taking in her stride. As part of CYCJ’s promotion of the Year of Young People, I was able to meet with Vicky to look back at her experiences of being subject to a Community Payback Order, and to look forward to the forthcoming competition.

Having been involved in what she describes as “hassle”, Vicky’s father thought that the rigours and routine of the boxing club would help. At ten she visited her local club and “took to it straight away”. Although she had time away from boxing in her mid-teens, it’s clear that Vicky is now utterly committed to pursuing her lofty ambitions of wining gold in Australia, gold in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, then turning professional. “The Commonwealth Games is right up there with the Olympics and the Worlds. If I do really well in Australia, I might go pro sooner.” In every practical sense, Vicky is a now a full time athlete, often undertaking two or more gym sessions each day in addition to sparring and technical training.

April 2017 saw Vicky claim the Scottish and British adult women’s Amateur Champion title at the 54kg category. Later that year she reached the quarter finals of the World Amateur Championships, narrowly losing via split decision. She now reflects on the need to focus on each bout as it comes, rather than looking too far ahead.

Vicky speaks of her respect for the men’s World Heavyweight Champion, Anthony Joshua, due to the way he applies himself to his sport and the way in which he has overcome difficulties with the law. In 2009 he spent time on remand following an incident which he later described as “fighting and crazy stuff” before being found not guilty. He was convicted of being in possession with intent to supply cannabis in 2011, leading to him being made subject to Probation and Community Service.

Like Anthony, Vicky has had her own issues with offending. She is currently subject to a Community Payback Order incorporating an Offender Supervision Requirement and Unpaid Work. The offence leading to the Order followed family bereavement, alcohol use and conflict with others. Vicky is pretty sanguine about the outcome of court: “I’ve definitely learned a lesson. That’s not for me – or for anyone I suppose.”

Vicky reflects that there is no single reason for her behaviours, but rather “one thing on top of another.” The difficulties she encountered were fairly typical of most young people I worked with during my time as a social worker. “I wasn’t a troublemaker as a kid. Where I come from, it’s sometimes the situations you end up in. It just happens, you know how it is. Sometimes you don’t have a choice. Don’t get me wrong, there have been times when I should have walked away and when I have been the instigator, but I wouldn’t go out looking for trouble. I suppose it was just kind of situations.”

Limited social activities, alcohol, the influence of older peers and limited school attendance all played a part in Vicky’s lifestyle. Of her friends, she admits that “a lot of them didn’t care if they were getting into trouble or getting the jail, that’s the sort of company I was keeping… I always remember this saying: ‘I’ll never forget where I’ve come from, but staying isn’t the plan.’”

Vicky is honest enough to admit that she didn’t attend school as often as she could have, and although her school tried to keep her engaged, she acknowledges that she lacked interest. “You’re maybe dogging schools with your pals and walking about the streets. There’s a lot happening and you bump into a group of young people from another area. The thing about young people is they’ve got their pride. With a lot of young people, if you look at someone the wrong way and they’re like ‘Why’s she looking at me like that?’ and you don’t even know you‘ve done something wrong.”

Whilst she no longer drinks alcohol, “Back then I didn’t really care, I was young and daft. I was more interested in having a good time rather than thinking ahead. I’m a lot more mature now… I’ve got a focus now. If someone tries to start something, I can walk away. Cos I know: ‘Is it worth it?’”

Vicky’s issues eventually led to the involvement of social workers and the Children’s Hearings System. “I do believe they want to help, but most of them have led a sheltered life. I’ve found them judgemental. It can be a bit intimidating when you’re young and you feel ‘Everyone’s against me’, and you feel like they’re judging you. The one to one time really helped and I think they tried their best, but I wasn’t ready to listen at that point.” Vicky feels that the adult system is different, treating her less patronisingly and understanding the circumstances that she found herself in. She describes her current social worker Leslie as “really friendly… I’m comfortable speaking to her, and she is trying to help me.”

I wondered if Vicky had any advice for anyone trying to assist a young person to make positive choices. “Police and social work need to look at each person individually, and look at their situation rather than thinking ‘but you shouldn’t do this, or shouldn’t do that.’ Dig into why and how you can help that. Rather than thinking of youth as a group, as a whole and thinking they are all wee thugs, look at each and everyone’s situation.”

If you are a young person with experience of the youth justice system and you are interested in speaking to CYCJ about your experiences, please contact me at

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