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Action to tackle violence against women

Too many women and men are still being subjected to incidents of violence and abuse and this is unacceptable. More than 60,000 domestic abuse incidents were reported to police forces across Scotland last year.

We are determined to support victims of all forms of abuse and to ensure that perpetrators are brought to account.

We are:

committing £34.5 million until 2015 for services including:

  • funding the Caledonian System, a programme working to change the behaviour of men convicted of domestic abuse and reduce their re-offending
  • supporting the Domestic Abuse Advocacy Service which supports the people who work on cases going through the specialist domestic abuse court in Glasgow
  • training for up to 300 Domestic Abuse Advocates to provide specialist care for high risk victims
  • supporting the work of Rape Crisis Scotland which provides specialist local services and a national helpline

We are also:

  • strengthening the law to protect victims of domestic abuse and rape
  • developing Scotland’s first comprehensive strategy to tackle violence against women which will be published in 2014
  • working with police, voluntary organisations, health professionals, social services and education departments to share best practice and promote awareness for the prevention of female genital mutilation
  • strengthening the law to protect potential victims of forced marriage
  • abolishing the requirement for corroboration in criminal trials which can act as a barrier to obtaining justice for the victims of crimes committed in private or where no-one else was there


In 2009 we published Safer Lives Changed Lives which set out our approach to tackle violence against women including domestic abuse. We are now building on this, developing a new violence against women strategy focusing on prevention and early intervention.

Bills and Legislation

The Criminal Justice and Licensing Act 2010 introduced a new protections for victims of domestic abuse including:

  • the closure of a legal loophole which had caused difficulties in securing prosecutions for incidents occurring in a private place. The law no longer requires any public element for an offence to have been committed
  • a statutory offence of stalking
  • a new offence making the breach of an interdict where domestic abuse is concerned a criminal offence with a power of arrest.

The Sexual Offences Act 2009 introduced new laws on sexual offences including, for the first time, a legal definition of rape.

The Forced Marriage Act 2011 gives greater protection to potential victims by giving courts the power to issue protection orders to those at risk. It also offers greater help for those who have already been forced to marry by strengthening existing powers to annul such unions.

Who we are working with

We work closely with police, councils, health boards and the voluntary sector to ensure that perpetrators are held to account, and that victims and their children have the services they require.

Public Information