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National Group Minutes - Feb 2010

National Group to Address violence Against Women

10:30 am - 1:30 pm, 10 February 2010

Conference room 12, Victoria Quay Building

Minutes

Attendees

Alex Neil (chair)

Minister for Housing and Communities

Lesley Irving

Gender Equality and Violence Against Women Team

Artemis Pana

Gender Equality and Violence Against Women Team

Jillian Gilchrist

Gender Equality and Violence Against Women Team

Mukami McCrum

Gender Equality and Violence Against Women Team

Shirley Henderson

Gender Equality and Violence Against Women Team

Alan Bannon (minutes)

Gender Equality and Violence Against Women Team

Katie Cosgrove

GBV Team: Patient Focus and International Issues

Janette De Haan

Women's Support Project

Jon Harris

CoSLA

DCI Peter McPike

ACPOS

Lily Greenan

Scottish Women's Aid

Linda Thompson

Women's Support Project

Louise Gallacher

Victims and Diversity Team, Crown Office

Sheriff Kathrine Mackie

Edinburgh Sherriff Court

Heather Coady

Scottish Women's Aid

Apologies

Sandy Brindley

Rape Crisis Scotland

Action to be taken

By whom

By date

Circulate figures from the No Recourse to Public Funds pilot, once they have been finalised.

Jillian Gilchrist

ASAP

Circulate the Minister's letter to Alan Campbell on No Recourse to Public Funds to the National Group members and Mr Campbell's response once received.

Jillian Gilchrist

ASAP

Circulate a link to the local Government finance distribution review officer group final report

Jillian Gilchrist

With minutes

Data Collection working group to be re-established and to provide another update at the next meeting. Include a progress report as a regular item at these meetings.

Jillian Gilchrist

April

NG members to email JG with comments on the data collection action plan.

All National Group members

By next meeting

A meeting involving GE & VAWT, Jon Harris, Scottish Women's Aid and Public Sector Reform team to be arranged to develop a paper which will go to Mr Neil and Cllrs Harry McGuigan and Barbara Grant with options as to how CPPs can be more robust on violence against women. Feedback from this meeting to be provided at the next National Group meeting.

Lesley Irving

Initial meeting set for 25 February 2010

Invite Linda Thompson back to report to the National Group on her progress in tackling commercial sexual exploitation.

Jillian Gilchrist

In 6 months

Linda Thompson to circulate interim report.

Jillian Gilchrist

Oct/Nov 2010

Follow up on the SG solicitor's response to the Counsel's Opinion on no recourse to public funds.

Jillian Gilchrist

Report at next meeting

Arrange meeting on lap dancing licensing between WSP, GCC and Justice colleagues as follow up to initial meeting planned for 12 March.

Lesley Irving

April

Circulate information about services for male victims in Wales.

Jillian Gilchrist

With minutes

Services for men to be standing agenda item.

Jillian Gilchrist

Ongoing

Members to provide comments on National Group structure paper in writing.

All National Group members

By next meeting

GE&VAWT to request Minister's office to keep his diary free for NG meetings.

Lesley Irving

March

Ms Sturgeon's letter to Yvette Cooper on advertising job in the sex industry in Job centres, and the subsequent response are to be circulated to the group

Jillian Gilchrist

With minutes

1. Welcome and apologies

AN welcomed members to the meeting and all introduced themselves. Apologies noted from Sandy Brindley.

2. Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes of the last meeting were agreed as an accurate record.

3. Matters arising

AN explained that the status report is not included as an agenda item and any questions should be referred directly to the team. Any major issues will be listed under 'matters arising'.

3.1 No Recourse to Public Funds - Minister's letter to Home Office and update on pilot

JG informed the group that the Home Office had established a pilot project to provide support for women with no recourse to public funds which was launched on 30 November 2009. The pilot will run for three months across the whole of the UK. Women on spousal visas will receive accommodation and living costs. JG to circulate figures from the pilot once they have been published.

The Home Office held a stakeholder meeting on 18/01/10, at which Lydia Okroj of SWA represented Scotland's interests.

AN has written a letter to the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State to the Home Office, Alan Campbell, regarding the no recourse to public funds pilot, and has raised a number of concerns. AN explained that his letter was primarily concerned with the pilot's lack of scope, lack of adequate funding and the pilot being too short. A copy of the Minister's letter and the response will be circulated with the minutes.

AN suggested that members of the National Group may want to write to the Home Office personally to make the same points, if they share these concerns.

Counsel's Opinion

AN explained to the group that the Scottish Government's solicitors are currently considering the Counsel's Opinion on alternative routes the Minister could consider, regarding setting up a hardship fund. Efforts to do so thus far have been restricted under the terms of the Scotland Act 1998.

The Minister asked that a response from the Solicitors' Directorate be pursued.

3.2 Review of rolled-up funding

The final report of this review was published in September 2009 and can be found on the SG Website under the local government finance section. Link provided below

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Government/local-government/17999/CoreRevenueFunding/Revenue-Funding-Streams/Distribution-Review

In addition, the Third Sector Team is currently carrying out some research in this area. Further details are:

The Opportunities and Challenges of the Changing Public Services Landscape for Third Sector Organisations in Scotland: A Longitudinal Study.

This study aims to track the opportunities and challenges facing the Third Sector in a changing public services landscape (in light of contextual changes including the Concordat, Single Outcome Agreements, Crerar Review, Best Value 2, the Enterprising Third Sector Action Plan and the economic downturn).

A qualitative longitudinal methodology will be used and 20 case study organisations will be the focus of the work. Case studies will include a number of social enterprises and a mental health practitioner.

Time-table: Case-study fieldwork begins March 2010 with first report of findings Oct 2010 and then annually in 2nd and 3rd waves in 2011 and 2012.

LI reminded the group that the EHRC is also carrying out research currently on the spending decisions for VAW work post Concordat.

3.3 Lap dancing

A meeting has been arranged with Jan MacLeod from Women's Support Project and Ann Hamilton from Glasgow City Council, in order to try to move this issue forward. GE&VAW Team will then facilitate a meeting between WSP and GCC and Justice colleagues to try to resolve the outstanding difference of views.

3.4 Data collection

A draft action plan was created using the report which was issued at the last meeting in September 2009.

The National Group agreed that the timescales have to be reconsidered: at the moment they are too ambitious.

JdeH noted that there were a few additions required and a few inaccuracies have to be corrected.

JG invited the National Group to email the VAW team with any comments on the plan.

The National Group agreed that the Data Collection working group should be reconvened and the membership reviewed.

4. Scottish Women's Aid report on Single Outcome Agreements

HC explained to the group that SWA had identified concerns about Single Outcome Agreements in relation to VAW. A number had not identified VAW or domestic abuse as a priority. LG also stated that there was an issue with statements in SOAs not being translated into practice and a lack of clarity about accountability. JH explained that CoSLA's Executive Group had recently re-affirmed their commitment to VAW.

AN offered to meet Cllrs McGuigan and Grant to take this matter forward. JH suggested that as an initial step there should be a meeting between CoSLA, SWA, GE&VAW Team and Public Sector Reform to develop a paper for the Minister and Cllrs McGuigan and Grant. Feedback on this meeting will be provided at next National Group meeting.

5. SJCS Partner Abuse Statistics and Services for men

AN explained that the recent publication of the SCJS statistics, and the fact that they reveal an increase in male victims of domestic abuse, has led to a recent increase in public pressure on the Scottish Government to introduce services for male victims of domestic abuse.

The GE & VAW team considered the work funded by the Welsh Assembly Government and developed proposals for a helpline for male victims in Scotland.

The Minister has agreed to fund the UK domestic abuse charity 'Respect' to provide a helpline service, specifically for male victims and one for perpetrators of abuse in Scotland. These help lines will be funded for a year.

The National Group acknowledged that men currently have access to all the services available to women through mainstream organisations, with the exception of dedicated women's services. There are no male-specific services in Scotland. The helpline will refer the male victims to mainstream services, as well as providing telephone support to the callers.

As well as helping male victims the helpline should provide a means to capture valuable data about men's service needs, in an area where currently little is known, and inform future decisions on men's services. KC pointed out that the issue was about equity and that there was not a need for the same services. It was agreed that services for men would be a standing item on the agenda.

The National Group asked for the information on men's services in Wales to be circulated

6. Presentation on commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) by Linda Thomson of the Women's Support Project's Challenging Demand project (available on request)

LI took over the chair at this point, AN had to leave due to a prior engagement.

7. Role of the National Group in taking forward Safer Lives: Changed Lives

There was a brief discussion on a number of points, covering issues such as group accountability and governance, communications strategies, and the feasibility of using UN indicators as a reference point. It was agreed that the paper is just the first stage of a process which will take some time.

Members were asked to submit their comments in writing.

8. Presentation by DCI Peter McPike on the work of the Strathclyde Police Domestic Abuse Task Force (available on request)

Following the presentation, KM commented that she would like to see a report published on the work being conducted by the Strathclyde Domestic Abuse Task Force, including the methodology employed and the results gained.

9. AOB

In response to a query at the SWA national conference regarding the advertisement of 'adult entertainment' jobs in Jobcentre Plus, Nicola Sturgeon has written to the Department for Work and Pensions, highlighting the links with commercial sexual exploitation and Violence Against Women, and urging a change in policy. No response had been received at the time of meeting but the letter, along with the response will be circulated to the group in due course.

KM affirmed the importance of the Minister attending the National Group meetings and respectfully requested that his diary be kept clear to enable him to attend the meetings for the entire duration.

Suggestions were invited for a presentation/s at the next National Group meeting. Suggestions to be emailed to jillian.gilchrist@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

Acknowledgement

The National Group members would like to thank Andrew McIntyre, of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, for all his hard work and support during his time in the Group.

Dates of next meeting

Next 4 dates of National Group meetings are: 21 April, 30 June, 18 October, 24 January 2011.