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National Group Minutes May 2009

National Group to Address Violence Against Women

10.30 am - 1 pm, 19 May 2009

Conference Room 2, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh



Alex Neil

Minister for Housing and Communities (CHAIR)

Jon Harris


DCI Peter McPike


Lily Greenan

Scottish Women's Aid

Heather Coady

Scottish Women's Aid

Janette de Haan

Women's Support Project

Sheriff Kathrine Mackie

Edinburgh Sheriff Court

Andrew McIntyre

Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service

Mukami McCrum

Central Scotland Race Equality Council

Lesley Irving

Violence Against Women Team

Jillian Gilchrist

Violence Against Women Team

Eileen Flanagan

Violence Against Women Team

Artemis Pana

Violence Against Women Team

Trudi Scott

Violence Against Women Team (MINUTES)

Ruth Whatling

Equalities Research

Claire McDermott

Family Law (presentation only)

Sheila Reid

Reid Howie Associates


Yvonne Strachan

Equality Unit

Alistair Pringle

Patient Focus & International Issues

Sandy Brindley

Rape Crisis Scotland

Katie Cosgrove

Patient Focus & International Issues

Welcome and Apologies

The Minister welcomed everyone to the meeting. Trudi Scott was introduced to the National Group. She has taken up the Policy Officer post in the Violence Against Women Team and will be the main point of contact for funding and National Group issues.

1. Minutes from the Previous Meeting

The Minister invited everyone to give comments on the previous minutes. No comments were made and the minutes were approved as an accurate record.

2. Matters Arising

3.1 Domestic Abuse Court Toolkit - A letter was issued to all Sheriff Principals about how the Domestic Abuse Court Toolkit was implemented within their area. A report was tabled detailing the responses. This report was welcomed.

3.2 Adult Entertainment - At the last meeting concern was expressed about an error in the status report around adult entertainment. This was followed up after the meeting and an e-mail exchange on the legislative framework around adult entertainment was tabled at the meeting. This e-mail exchange clarified the situation.

3.3 Gender Based Crime Research - The group was informed that the interim findings on the Gender Based Crime research carried out by the Scottish Crime and Justice Research Centre at Glasgow University are not available yet but will be available for the next meeting.

3.4 Data Collection - will be a main item on the Agenda at the next meeting. The Minister has raised the issue of data collection with the Permanent Secretary and these discussions will be ongoing.

3.5 The Delivery Plan Analytical Plan - Internal discussions still need to take place and a more detailed plan will be available in the Autumn.

4. Specific Issues Arising

4.1 No Recourse to Public Funds - The Home Office scheme is expected to start on the 9 June 2009 [NB. This scheme did not start on 9 June as expected.]. The main points of the new scheme were discussed.

  • Victims of domestic abuse who were admitted to, or granted an extension to stay in, the UK as a spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same sex partner and are able to qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) (under the Domestic Abuse Rule) will be eligible to apply or funding;
  • Applications to be processed in 20 working days by the UK Borders Agency;
  • Guidance has been developed;
  • The application fee for ILR to be waived, under the destitution rule, if eligible;
  • Payments up to £1000, will be made for a maximum of 5 weeks if the application for ILR is successful.

The scheme will be monitored and reviewed every 3 months to assess how this is working.

Scottish Women's Aid expressed concerns regarding the scheme. They are continuing to lobby the Home Office with other service delivery agencies about aspects of the scheme which they regard as unworkable. A meeting is due to take place on 21 May with the Home Office and service delivery agencies. Assurances were given that the monitoring process will review how the scheme is working as it develops.

Action - The Minister agreed to consider the concerns raised and to feed these into the Home Office. Feedback on the implementation of the scheme will be fed back at the next meeting.

4.2 Multi-Agency Partnership/Training Consortia Conference - This will take place on 21 July 2009. A draft agenda for the day was tabled for discussion. Further development of the agenda will take place over the following weeks. Ideas were welcomed from the National Group.

It was suggested that:

  • Scottish Women's Aid's Promote to Protect DVD could be included, if time permitted;
  • Focus should be geared towards how local government policy is integrated;
  • The conference should be pitched at the right level e.g. more towards policy colleagues and less personal input;
  • Routine enquiry could be included.

Action - redraft conference programme taking on board comments provided.

4.3 Raising the Standards - several members of the National Group attended the conference held in Jersey on 11 & 12 May 2009. The conference was found useful and enjoyable by those who attended and is considered a valuable way of making contacts.

There was a discussion on the ways forward for Scotland's involvement with the main group. It was highlighted that the sharing of information at meetings and presentations on local work were somewhat useful but quite often had little impact on the work being done in Scotland.

It was suggested attending 1 meeting a year, to maintain contacts and ensuring meetings were more dynamic would be a good way forward. The situation will be reviewed after the next meeting in October when a new chair person will be appointed and the conference report will be available.

Action - Feedback to National Group's December meeting on the outcome of the October Raising the Standards meeting.

5. Forced Marriage Consultation - Presentation

Sheila Reid from Reid Howie Associates gave a presentation on the findings of the Forced Marriage Consultation. The majority of the responses suggested civil legislation should be implemented. The responses in full will be made available on the internet and the report will be finalised and published in June.

Action - An update on how the Scottish Government is taking this forward will be given at the next meeting.

6. Safer Lived: Changed Lives

The final draft document was circulated around the National Group and an update on the progress was given. The launch is on Monday 1 June 2009 at 9 am at the Rape Crisis Scotland office. The final document will be available on the web and no hard copies will be printed. Any final changes were requested by 28 May 2009.

7. Update from the Cross Governmental Group (CGG) on 1 May 2009

The focus on the last meeting was Commercial Sexual Exploitation with Linda Thompson from Women's Support Project giving a presentation. An update on the Sexual Offenses Bill was circulated at the CGG meeting and this document was also circulated to the National Group.

The membership of the CGG was felt to be weighted strongly towards Justice and it was agreed that others will be invited as required.

Training and Prevention will be the focus of the next meeting which will be held on 20 August 2009.

Action - VAW Team to invite relevant officials to join the CGG.

8. Violence Against Women Media Campaign 2009/2010

Old Firm Matches - The National Group was informed that the advertising which was supposed to be shown in the ground was cancelled at the last minute by Rangers Football Club. Various reasons were given as to why this decision was made and efforts will be made to establish the actual reason behind the decision.

The Violence Against Women Team are considering using football as a vehicle for delivering messages to a male audience in the future.

Violence Reduction Unit - Plans for the VRU's media campaign were circulated to the meeting. The main focus of this campaign is to build awareness through the police force and there will be public advertising around November/December.

It was suggested that a small working group is set up to look at the next phase of the media campaign, and members of the National Group were invited to express an interest.

Action - Strathclyde Police will look into why the advertising in the football ground was cancelled.

The Violence Against Women Team will gather a small campaign working group and report back at the next meeting.

9. Status Report

Apologies were given for not circulating this earlier. Points of clarification should be submitted to the Violence Against Women Team following the meeting and will be included in the next report. This will enable the draft to be prepared and circulated 3 weeks ahead of the next meeting.

10. Discussion and Focus for next meeting

The issue of domestic abuse against men is raised often with both Scottish Women's Aid and the Scottish Government and consideration should be given to this issue. The National Group were advised that the latest Scottish Crime and Justice Survey will provide more detailed evidence of the prevalence of partner and sexual violence in November. However it was agreed that this was quite a way away and that a scoping paper should be developed, by the Violence Against Team for the next meeting.

It had been suggested that a presentation by the Domestic Abuse Task Force with Strathclyde Police could be put on the next agenda. However the next meeting is fairly full so may be considered for the following meeting.

Action - consider presentation from the Domestic Abuse Task Force for the agenda for the next meeting or the following meeting.

11. AOB

It was suggested that the National Group minutes are published on the Scottish Government website. This was agreed.