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.
What is the single most important thing that can be done to reduce/mitigate the impact of violence against women and girls?
This question comprised 237 responses, consisting of 164 responses by individuals and 73 by organisations. The organisations that answered this question included 8 local authorities/governments, 4 NHS organisations, 43 third sector organisations, and 18 classified as "other" or did not specify. There were six themes emerging from the qualitative analysis of the free-text responses to this question
Theme 1: Early education
The most commonly mentioned theme in this question was the need for early education. Respondents in this theme emphasised the importance of educating men, as young as possible, on the rights of women, the concept of consent, the importance of boundaries, and how to treat other people respectfully.
"Education has a strong part to play in reducing the impact of VAWG. Educating people around issues relating to VAWG will bring home the profound effects such violence has on the lives of victims and survivors and help to make it socially unacceptable in Scottish society." (Third sector organisation)
Theme 2: Awareness raising and societal change
The second most frequent theme was the need for societal change through awareness raising. In particular, respondents in this theme believed that there needs to be a broader change in society around gender roles and stereotypes, the place of women in society, and public perception of VAWG. Specifically, respondents wished a change in society and public perception under which VAWG would be deemed completely unacceptable. This theme was often combined with the need for early education, as education was believed to be one of the main drivers of cultural change.
"This is a complex issue to boil down to a single component but tackling the issue at source should be a focus. In other words, ensuring that men don't perpetrate the violence in the first place by challenging patriarchal societal hegemony. This is a matter of combatting deep rooted inequality and misogynistic mentalities. On a wider level, continuing to increase women's participation and influence in all areas of society is important to overcome systemic misogyny." (individual)
Theme 3: Single-sex spaces
The third most frequently mentioned theme was the need for single-sex spaces. Respondents in this theme believed that the most important thing that can be done to mitigate the impact of VAWG is to ensure the provision of single-sex spaces, thus making victims feel safe.
"Remove and exclude men from female spaces across the board. Single sex spaces will ensure higher uptake of services by females." (Individual)
Theme 4: Funding
The next factor most commonly cited was funding. Specifically, that the current level of service provision could be significantly increased with the appropriate level of funding.
"Adequately fund services to ensure the delivery of meaningful services to women children and young people, to work within our communities, to challenge damaging patriarchal norms, to raise awareness, to work with all ages in schools and in communities, to work within professional equitable working environments, to provide safe specialist support for all women, children and young people." (Organisation)
Theme 5: Early intervention and prevention
The next most common theme was the importance of early intervention and prevention. In particular, answers in this theme indicated that the most impactful change that could be made in VAWG would be prevention and early interventions. These actions were believed to address the problem early and thus minimise its impact.
"We recognise that domestic abuse is preventable. The Scottish Government must invest in the specialist services who have expertise to deliver prevention work. This must include early years, primary/secondary schools, higher education and wider community settings. Investment in primary prevention as well as the systems that protect women from further harm is crucial, and we believe the Scottish Government has an opportunity to create a model to address this within the funding review." (Third sector organisation)
Theme 6: Punish perpetrators
The last prevalent theme in this question was the need for timely and proportionate punishment of perpetrators. In particular, it was believed that appropriate punishment (such as tougher sentences or increasing imprisonment time) would discourage future offences and also help in the recovery of the victims.
"Perpetrator Intervention - it is their violence and negative choices that has created the harm and trauma women and girls experience and it is them who need to change their behaviour. […]. Perpetrators who don't accept responsibility for their behaviour or recognise the impact of their harm and violence always continue to perpetrate harm - whether that is on the immediate non-violent partner and children or future partners and children; if their behaviour is not addressed they continue to cause a ripple effect of harm." (Third sector organisation)
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