Violence against women and girls funding review: analysis of responses
Analysis of the responses to the Strategic Review of Funding and Commissioning of Violence Against Women and Girls Services call for evidence.
Questions 4.6 and 4.7
Are there any other organisations that should provide services for women, children and young people experiencing violence against women and girls? If yes, which organisations? Please explain your answer.
Almost half of all respondents (45%) agreed that there are other organisations that should provide services for women, children and young people experiencing violence against women and girls. Agreement was substantially higher (77%) among organisations than among individuals (35%). While the proportion of those who disagreed with this statement was similar between individuals and organisations (10% and 15% respectively), there were many more individuals (56%) who did not know whether there are other organisations that should provide services for women, children and young people experiencing VAWG than organisations (7%).
The free-text part of this question comprised 126 responses from 68 individuals and 58 organisations. The organisations that answered this question included 7 local authorities/governments, 4 NHS organisations, 30 third sector organisations, and 17 classified as "other" or did not specify. There were four themes emerging from the qualitative analysis of the free-text responses to this question.
Theme 1: Tackling VAWG is everyone's responsibility
Respondents stated that many different organisations, including private, public and third sector, are important in providing support for those experiencing VAWG. Some respondents agreed that everyone has a responsibility to do their part and can provide preventative and/or supportive services. Some respondents also suggested that organisations should receive training to be able to do so.
"[…] all services should consider what they can do to help prevent male violence and support those affected. This may not involve providing services directly, but, for example, including brief information on VAWG in staff induction training, having a poster on display and ensuring that staff members have basic knowledge of specialist services so that they could signpost women, would make a difference." (Third sector organisation)
Conversely, some respondents mentioned specific types of organisations and public sector organisations were the most frequently mentioned. Many respondents did not elaborate on the reasons for their choice; however, social, mental health and emergency services were identified as important for providing support. Third sector organisations were the second most frequently mentioned type of organisation, examples comprised social landlords and housing associations, faith groups, and community centres. Lastly, some respondents also stated that private sector organisations are key, in particular night-time economy organisations such as pubs, clubs and taxis.
"In Scotland we have lots of great services to choose from, and to me just about all should be there from the start to assist and support. Support services and support groups should be first on the agenda, and should be encouraged to be there straight away to make sure they are doing all they can to support these vulnerable victims and to help reassure them that they are now safe and out of harm." (Individual)
"Church based and other religious organisations; these are sometimes the only safe places for some women, this can be the case in rural communities where fear of exposure and retribution can be greater." (Third sector organisation)
Theme 2: Education institutions
Schools, colleges, and universities were seen as important actors in providing services for those experiencing VAWG. According to respondents, such institutions can teach young people the characteristics of healthy relationships, how to recognise signs of abuse and where to get help if and when needed. Moreover, respondents explained that student support services, such as counselling services, need to be in place for young people experiencing abuse since these are important places where cases of abuse can be identified. Finally, some responses highlighted that teachers and other staff should be trained to recognise the signs of abuse and be able to refer them where appropriate.
"We need to educate children from a young age in a stage appropriate way to understand that violence in any form is unacceptable. We need to tell them how and where they can get help. As they go on to develop intimate relationships, we need to educate them on what is a mutually healthy relationship." (Third sector organisation)
"Teachers need a realistic understanding of VAWG, and time and resources to offer support. A dedicated School Counselling Service would be a start." (Individual)
Theme 3: The justice system and legal aid agencies
Some responses related to need for legal and financial advice agencies, as well as the justice system. These respondents suggested that people providing legal and financial advice should be trained to be able to provide support to victims of VAWG, highlight that people working in courts should have specialised training on how to handle VAWG cases and that the stigma surrounding survivors needs to be removed. A few respondents suggest that survivors need to have faith in the court system. Finally, some respondents also mentioned the role of independent legal and financial advice agencies, such as the Citizen's Advice Bureau, which can help inform survivors of their legal rights.
"Judiciary of Scotland – judges receive appropriate training in VAWG matters and issues that arise for victims of VAW." (Multi agency partnership)
"Yes, Independent advocacy services, for survivors scared to engage with statutory bodies." (Third sector organisation)
Theme 4: Single-sex services
Lastly, a few respondents shared the view that services should be single sex. Respondents suggest that some women are self-excluding from support because many services do not guarantee single-sex spaces. Some respondents also highlighted that services should be provided by female staff.
"Any organisation that the women or child is first met with female staff who can then refer to a male counterpart if so desired The default needs to be female first or at request of the person to have an ootion." (Individual)
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