Equally Safe: draft delivery plan consultation

Consultation regarding Scottish Government's strategy to eradicate violence against women and girls.

Priority Actions

PRIORITY 1: Scottish society embraces equality and mutual respect, and rejects all forms of violence against women and girls
  • Positive gender roles are promoted
  • People enjoy healthy, positive relationships
  • Children and young people develop an understanding of safe, healthy and positive relationships from an early age
  • Individuals and communities recognise and challenge violent and abusive behaviour
Contributing workstreams: Primary Prevention, Capability and Capacity

Raising awareness and changing attitudes

The Scottish social attitudes module published last year on attitudes to violence against women indicates we still have some way to go in this area. To make progress, we will:

What When Who
Engage with the newly established Advisory Council on women and girls to explore issues around gender inequality and violence against women Advisory Group being established and is expected to meet in Spring 2017 Scottish Government
Support initiatives to raise awareness amongst the wider population of violence against women and girls, including what causes it and how to challenge it Announcement of projects under Equally Safe ( VaWG) Fund by summer 2017 Scottish Government Third sector organisations
Through the Mentors in Violence Prevention programme, ensure that boys and men understand about positive healthy respectful relationships, are encouraged to stand up to violence, challenge attitudes and behaviours and tackle toxic masculinity Funding confirmed until March 2018 Scottish Government Violence Reduction Unit


We know that attitudes are formed in early years, and education settings play a critical role. We will:

What When Who
Work with the education system and key stakeholders to develop a holistic approach towards addressing gender stereotypes and norms in schools and education settings Establish stakeholder working group in summer 2017 Scottish Government
Develop a Skills Investment Plan for the Early Learning and Childcare sector which sets out the broad skills set within the workforce, identifies opportunities to widen the skill set and actions which will help tackle gender stereotypes within the sector. First iteration of the plan to be published in March 2017 Scottish Government
Provide more support for teachers on equality issues, following the outcomes of the General Teaching Council Scotland review Report due April 2017; officials will consider further thereafter. Scottish Government
Publish a refreshed approach to addressing bullying in schools, including bullying based on sexism and gender 2017 Scottish Government
Work with further and higher education institutions to contribute to this agenda both through learning and on campus, using the insights from ongoing work in Scottish Universities tackling gender-based violence on campus, recommendations from the Universities UK Task Force on violence against women, and the University of Strathclyde "Equally Safe in Higher Education" Project Over 2017-19 Scottish Government Higher education institutions


Women continue to experience violence in the workplace, and employers have a key role in supporting victims and tackling perpetrators. We will:

What When Who
Refresh the Scottish Government's corporate policy on violence against women, using the Zero Tolerance PACT Resource as a guide By end 2017 Scottish Government
Gather examples of best practice and develop support, guidance and incentives for employers Take forward through the Capability and Capacity workstream (or relevant group) over 2017 CoSLA
PRIORITY 2: Women and girls thrive as equal citizens: socially, culturally, economically and politically
  • Women and girls are safe, respected and equal in our communities
  • Women and men have equal access to power and resources
Contributing workstreams: Primary Prevention

Understanding gender

Gender inequality is a root cause of violence against women and girls, and despite advances there remain persistent inequalities between women and men. To bring a stronger gender perspective into policy making, we will:

What When Who
Improve strategic consideration of equality implications of spend for gender and other protected characteristics within the annual Equality Budgeting process Over 2017 Scottish Government
Develop a programme of engagement with key parts of Government to improve understanding of gender in policy making Over 2017 and onwards Scottish Government Women's third sector organisations
Promote use of the Equality Impact Assessment tool at the national and local level to tackle inequality and discrimination across Scotland Ongoing Scottish Government

Parenting and childcare

Women continue to provide the bulk of childcare, and issues of cost and provision create barriers to life's other opportunities. We will:

What When Who
Create a new Best Start Grant that provides effective support at key transitions in the early years and ensures qualifying parents or carers receive more joined up support from pregnancy through to children starting school Bill to be introduced by summer 2017 Scottish Government
Take forward a transformative programme to expand free Early Learning and Childcare entitlement to 1,140 hours per year by 2020, including piloting a deposit guarantee scheme for childcare places 2017-20 Scottish Government
Establish a 'Returners' project so that parents who have had a career break can get help updating skills and knowledge 2017-18 Scottish Government

Women's economic inequality

There continues to be a gender pay gap, and women do not enjoy the same opportunities as men within the workforce. To address this, we will:

What When Who
Ensure that the Developing the Young Workforce programme addresses issues of occupational segregation by gender, including addressing significant under representation in the take up of certain college courses and modern apprenticeships by women Ongoing until 2021 Scottish Government
Through the development of a strategy, address gender stereotyping and improve gender balance in science, technology, engineering and maths ( STEM) at school to ensure greater update of courses and apprenticeships by women and girls that are traditionally seen as male-dominated like engineering, construction and digital Ministerial advisory group established; response to consultation currently being evaluated Scottish Government
Develop proposals for delivering split payments under Universal Credit, working with stakeholders to scope out timescales To be confirmed following further stakeholder engagement Scottish Government
Under the Labour Market Strategy, work with key stakeholders to understand issues of occupational segregation and how to ensure greater equality within the labour market Ministerial working group established and work ongoing Scottish Government
Take action to tackle pay inequality, including funding to Close the Gap, and a reduction in the listed threshold of listed public authorities required to report from 150 employees to 20 employees Ongoing Scottish Government
Tackle pregnancy and maternity discrimination in partnership with the Equality and Human Rights Commission by establishing a working group whose remit includes creating guidelines for employers to ensure best practice, as well as improving access to guidance for pregnancy women and new mothers Group has agreed programme of activity to take forward commitments; review in December 2018 Scottish Government
Ensure the successful bidder(s) to deliver devolved employment services demonstrate clearly how they will deliver a service that is gendered in terms of understanding the needs of women seeking employment; and use levers at their disposal to encourage employers to consider flexible working approaches which enable more women to take up a broader range of opportunities April 2018 onwards Scottish Government
Identify and promote practice that works in reducing employment inequality for minority ethnic women, including in career paths, recruitment, progression and retention Minority ethnic women's network established and will organise a roundtable in 2017 focusing on employability Scottish Government

Women's civic and social inequality

Cultural and institutional stereotyping and sexism continues to inhibit women's spaces for action across society. To tackle this, we will:

What When Who
Establish an Equality in Sport and Physical Activity Forum and develop a £300K Gender Equality in Sport fund to address the barriers to women's participation First meeting of forum expected to take place and further details of Sport Equality Fund provided in March 2017. Scottish Government sportScotland
Introduce legislation to redress gender imbalances and improve women's representation on public boards in Scotland, using the new powers transferred to the Scottish Parliament through the Scotland Act 2017 Scottish Government
Champion our Partnership for Change campaign, encouraging private and third sector organisations to work towards gender balance on their boards by 2020 Ongoing Scottish Government
Support the Women 50:50 campaign and the improvement of women's access to public office by encouraging partnership working to break down barriers to participation Ongoing Scottish Government
PRIORITY 3: Interventions are early and effective, preventing violence and maximising the safety and wellbeing of women, children and young people
  • Justice responses are robust, swift, consistent and coordinated
  • Women, children and young people access relevant, effective and integrated services
  • Service providers competently identify violence against women and girls, and respond effectively to women, children and young people affected
Contributing workstreams: Capability and Capacity, Justice

Public services

The broader public service approach to supporting victims and survivors has improved, but there remains much to be done to improve identification, response and redress. We will:

What When Who
Ensure court waiting times for domestic abuse cases and sexual offences cases in solemn proceedings are in line with agreed targets 2017 Scottish Government
Agree with the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service opportunities for managing how domestic abuse cases are progressed within Scotland, including the consideration of Domestic Abuse courts and case management solutions where a Domestic Abuse Court is not considered appropriate 2017-18 Scottish Government Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service
Improve the experience of vulnerable witnesses, initially focusing on child complainers and witnesses through the greater use of pre-recorded evidence 2017-19 Scottish Government
Develop the health service response to preventing and tackling violence against women using the World Health Organisation's resolution on gender based violence as a framework Discussion at Health Integration Network in April 2017 Scottish Government Health Scotland
Expand the Medics Against Violence Ask, Support, Care programme to train more healthcare students, NHS staff and non-health care professions to spot, document and respond to the signs of potential abuse Funding until March 2018 Scottish Government
Improve the provision of services for all victims of sexual assault who require a forensic examination as part of an overall health focussed assessment - including considering the best models for delivery, consistency of approach and workforce planning issues to ensure that victims are provided with the examiner of the gender they prefer. Ongoing Scottish Government Police Scotland NHS Scotland
Work with Health Boards to ensure that they are ready for the implementation of National Standards in this area developed by Healthcare Improvement Scotland National Standards published by end 2017; rollout in 2018/2019 Scottish Government Police Scotland NHS Scotland
Review the way forensic examinations are undertaken (including models of practice, consistency of approach and workforce planning) to ensure they are done appropriately and sensitively, with a view to better implementation of the National Standards in this area Review by end 2017; implementation of findings in 2018 Scottish Government Police Scotland Health Boards
Consider how learning from the National Trauma Training Framework can be incorporated to better inform the development of services, and identify leadership in the justice system to take this forward 2017 Justice Board NHS Education Scotland
Ensure that commissioned training resources of local authority housing and homelessness hubs incorporate domestic abuse competence 2017-2021 Scottish Government
Develop options for funding supported housing, including domestic abuse refuge providers, to ensure that they continue to receive appropriate resources for their work 2017 Scottish Government
Develop draft violence against women quality standards for public services responding to victims and survivors 2017 Scottish Government
Identify and take forward approaches which will strengthen the social work response to domestic abuse 2017 Scottish Government
Reform the anonymous voter registration scheme, making it more accessible to survivors of domestic abuse 2017 Scottish Government
Share lessons from the 'Safe and Together' model of child protection in a domestic abuse setting, encouraging a common understanding that perpetrators of abuse should be assessed and held accountable on their parenting choices which includes the perpetration of domestic abuse 2017 onwards Scottish Government

Specialist Services

The third sector plays a critical role in supporting women and children, with women's aid organisations and rape crisis centres doing vital work across the country. To support them, we will:

What When Who
Initiate an independent review of how national and local specialist services for women and children experiencing gender based violence are commissioned, and how we can ensure quality and sustainability of service 2017 Scottish Government
Commission the development of a sustainable model of training around gender based violence for public and third sector services 2017 Scottish Government
Consider the findings from the National Advocacy Scoping Exercise commissioned to help understand the provision of services in this area with the aim to determine where the provision of services could be extended and improved 2017 Scottish Government
Develop the Scottish Women's Rights Centre as a model for legal services, consider the currently unmet need for victims of gender based violence and the appropriate model of support for women, children and young people experiencing violence Ongoing Scottish Government

Integrated services

Multi-agency working is increasingly valued, with structures in place at a local level to ensure a joined up approach to delivering initiatives, supporting victims and tackling perpetrators. To build on this, we will:

What When Who
Consult on how to embed consistent and effective operation of multi-agency structures to support high risk victims of domestic abuse Autumn 2017 Scottish Government
Support local violence against women partnerships in their improvement journey, and work to ensure that every local authority in Scotland has a high performing partnership linked to other local structures. Ongoing Scottish Government CoSLA Improvement Service
PRIORITY 4: Men desist from all forms of violence against women and girls and perpetrators of such violence receive a robust and effective response
  • Justice responses are robust, swift, consistent and coordinated
  • Men who carry out violence against women and girls are identified early and held to account by the criminal and civil justice system.
  • Relevant links are made between the experience of women, children and young people in the criminal and civil system
Contributing workstreams: Justice

Tackling Perpetrators

Ensuring that men desist from violence and that perpetrators are tackled is critical. To improve our response, we will:

What When Who
Encourage victims of gender based violence to report it to the Police Domestic abuse communications plan around offence in 2017 Scottish Government
Introduce a Domestic Abuse Bill to Parliament which seeks to criminalise coercive control By June 2017 Scottish Government
Review training provided for all professionals within the Justice System to ensure that there is an understanding of the new offence for those investigating domestic abuse cases including trauma informed practice for all people who work with women and children 2017-18 Scottish Government
Work with the Scottish Civil Justice Council on case management in family actions, including in relation to child welfare hearings - recognising that these types of hearings and contact cases require careful consideration to ensure that victims of domestic abuse are protected from further abuse We will send a paper to SCJC for its meeting in May 2017 Scottish Government
Commence the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act April 2017 Scottish Government
Continue to look at perpetrator programmes and consider where further efforts are required to identify and tackle behaviour with a view to rehabilitation and change Ongoing Scottish Government
Develop multi agency domestic homicide reviews with Police Scotland and partners learning from practice in other jurisdictions which have allowed for improvements in practice. 2017/18 Scottish Government
Police Scotland


Email: Leonie Stone

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