Publication - Impact assessment

Equally Safe strategy: draft EQIA

Published: 7 Jan 2019

Draft equality impact assessment (EQIA) of Scotland's strategy for preventing and eradicating violence against women and girls.

35 page PDF

455.0 kB

35 page PDF

455.0 kB

Equally Safe strategy: draft EQIA
Stage 2: Data and evidence gathering, involvement and consultation

35 page PDF

455.0 kB

Stage 2: Data and evidence gathering, involvement and consultation

Include here the results of your evidence gathering (including framing exercise), including qualitative and quantitative data and the source of that information, whether national statistics, surveys or consultations with relevant equality groups.


Evidence gathered and Strength/quality of evidence


Data gaps identified and action taken


Domestic Abuse

There are no official statistics on the number of children living with domestic abuse. The NSPCC estimate that around 1 in 5 children have been exposed to domestic abuse, and a third of children witnessing domestic violence also experienced another form of abuse.

In 2017-18, the 26-30 years old age group had the highest incident rate for both victims (272 incidents recorded per 10,000 population) and those accused (246 incidents recorded per 10,000 population).

The number of incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the police generally declined with age.
Although the police figures showed a decline in incidents of domestic abuse recorded for older women, Safelives 'spotlight' research indicates that victims ages 61 and above are more likely to experience abuse from an adult family member or current intimate partner than those aged 60 and under.

Older victims were also more likely to have a disability.

Honour based crimes

Research carried out by UNICEF shows that FGM can be carried out on girls of any age but is most commonly carried out between the ages of 5 - 14 years old.

In 2012 there were 363 girls born in Scotland to mothers born in an FGM-practising country.

According to the SG commissioned study 'Understanding forced marriage in Scotland' between 2011 and 2014, there were 191 cases of forced marriage reported by survey respondents, with a fairly even spread across the years. Age was unknown for around a quarter of cases. Of the cases where age was known, the majority of victims were aged 18-25, with under 18s representing around a quarter of cases and under 16s around 1 in 10 of cases. The interviews with the eight survivors of forced marriage echo the survey findings.

The age range of when the forced marriage occurred was from 14-25. This indicates that young people are most likely to be affected by Forced Marriage.

In 2018, the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) gave advice or support related to a possible forced marriage in 1,196 cases. These figures include contact that has been made to the FMU through the public helpline or by email in relation to a new case.

Of the cases, that FMU provided support to:

  • 355 cases (29.7%) involved victims below 18 years of age; and 353 cases (29.5%) involved victims aged 18-25.

In 2017, the majority of cases 930 (77.8%) involved women; 256 cases (21.4%) involved males.

Sexual Crime

While the specific age of the victims cannot generally be determined from the date supplied by Police Scotland, many of the crime codes used indicate that victim was under 18. It is estimated that at least 40% of the 12,487 sexual crimes recorded in 2017-2018 related to a victim under the age of 18.


In 2017-18, the median age of a person accused of homicide was 35 years old, which is older than in 2016-17 when the median age was 30 years old. Between 2008-09 and 2016-17, the median age of a person accused of homicide was fairly stable before rising to 35 in 2017-18. Of the 59 victims, 45 were male and 14 were female.

NSPCC, Domestic Abuse , Facts and Statistics, 2018

Domestic Abuse recorded by the Police, 2017-2018

Safelives Spotlight Report #Hidden Victims. Safe Later Lives: Older people and domestic abuse, October 2016.[1]


Scotland's population 2011 & Scottish Refugee Council (SRC) Report: Tackling Female Genital Mutilation in Scotland; A Scottish model of Intervention[3]

Understanding forced marriage in Scotland (2017)

Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) Statistics (2018)

Recorded Crime in Scotland 2017-2018

Homicide in Scotland 2017-18

Data on age is strong although it is generally focussed on younger age groups.


A Report by Wise Women based on a survey of disabled women shows that:

  • almost three-quarters (73%) of disabled women surveyed had experienced domestic abuse;
  • 23% of disabled woman had been raped;
  • 43% of disabled women reported sexual assault;

Disabled people experience higher rates of domestic abuse than nondisabled people. In the year to March 2015 the Crime Survey for England and Wales reported that women and men with a long standing illness or disability were more than twice as likely to experience some form of domestic abuse than women and men with no long standing illness or disability.

Safelives research has found that disabled victims of domestic abuse also suffer more severe and frequent abuse over longer periods of time than non-disabled victims. SafeLives' data reveals that disabled victims typically endure abuse for an average of 3.3 years before accessing support, compared to 2.3 years for non-disabled victims. Even after receiving support, disabled victims were 8% more likely than non-disabled victims to continue to experience abuse. For one in five (20%) this ongoing abuse was physical and for 7% it was sexual.

Disability and forced marriage are linked- the definition of forced marriage explicitly states a forced Marriage is a marriage in which one or both parties do not (or, in the case of some adults with learning or physical disabilities, cannot) consent to the marriage and duress is involved. In 2017, 125 cases (12.1%) involved victims who had a learning disability. 47.2% of victims with a disability who called contact the FMU were women.

Violence Against Disabled Women Survey, The Daisie Project, (2015) [4]

Public Health England

'Disability and domestic abuse: Risks, impact and response'

Safelives Spotlight Report #Hidden Victims. Disabled Survivors Too: Disabled people and domestic abuse, November 2017.[5]

Home Office Forced Marriage Statistics, 2017.

NHS Health Scotland and VAW organisations are working to develop Scotland specific data on disabilities and learning disabilities


In 2011, 52% of Scotland's population were female and 48% were male. This proportion has not changed much since 1947.

In 2017-18 there were 59,541 incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the police in Scotland, an increase of 1% from the previous year. Levels of domestic abuse recorded by the police have remained relatively stable since 2011-12 at around 58,000 to 60,000 incidents a year (and up by 20% since 48,884 in 2006-07). Where gender information was recorded, around four out of every five incidents of domestic abuse in 2017-18 had a female victim and a male accused. This proportion has remained very stable since 2011-12.

Sexual crimes account for 5% of all crimes recorded in Scotland in 2017-18. The number of Sexual crimes recorded by the police in Scotland increased by 13% from 11,092 in 2016-17 to 12,487 in 2017-18.

  • Where identifiable, the vast majority of victims of rape, attempted rape, and other sexual crime were female.
  • There has been a significant increase in the proportion of 'Other sexual crimes' that were cyber enabled (i.e. the internet was used as a means to commit the crime) - increasing from 38% in 2013-14 to 51% in 2016-17.
  • According to statistics on crimes of homicide recorded by the police in Scotland in 2017-18 81 persons were accused of homicide. 77 of them were male and 4 were female.
  • Most female victims were killed by a partner or ex-partner

2011 Scotland Census

Domestic Abuse recorded by the Police 2017-2018

Recorded Crime in Scotland 2017-2018

Homicide in Scotland 2017-18

Data on sex is strong.

Pregnancy and Maternity

Gender-based violence seriously affects the physical, emotional and mental health of its victims, and can be both chronic and acute in impact. For some women, abuse begins or escalates during pregnancy. This abuse can carry on after the birth, constituting a risk to both mother and child.

There is limited evidence concerning the extent to which pregnant women and new mother experience domestic abuse in Scotland. However, research quoted in the 2013 publication Scottish Government Equality Outcomes: Pregnancy and Maternity Evidence Review found that "research highlights that pregnant women face an "increased risk" of domestic abuse, with domestic abuse 'estimated to occur in 5% to 21% of pre-birth cases and in 13% to 21% of post-birth cases'" and that "evidence from Scotland and across the UK indicates that 'abuse often starts in pregnancy and gets worse when the first child is new-born."

According to the WHO partner violence during pregnancy is widespread and has significant consequences for maternal health.

Abused women have higher rates of unintended pregnancies, abortions, adverse pregnancy and neonatal and infant outcomes, sexually transmitted infections (including HIV) and mental disorders (such as depression, anxiety disorders, sleep disorders and eating disorders) compared to their non-abused peers.

FGM is an extreme form of gender based violence and is linked to complications in pregnancy.

Women may experience recurrent sexual, psychological and physiological problems. They are likely to require specialist surgical and psychological interventions during pregnancy and childbirth. WHO data shows that, compared to women who have not undergone FGM, those subjected to any type of FGM have increased complications in childbirth.
Routine enquiry of FGM is carried out during pregnancy.

NHS Health Scotland, (2017)[6]

Scottish Government Equality Outcomes: pregnancy and maternity evidence review.

WHO, Gender Based Violence, (2017)[7]

WHO, Female genital mutilation Factsheet, (2017)[8]

Data availability around pregnancy and maternity is limited

Gender Reassignment

Research carried out by LGBT Domestic Abuse Project and Scottish Transgender Alliance 'Out of sight, out of mind?' specifically looks at transgender people's experiences of domestic abuse.

80% of respondents stated that they had experienced emotionally, sexually, or physically abusive behaviour by a partner or ex-partner.

  • The type of domestic abuse most frequently experienced by the respondents was transphobic emotional abuse, with 73% of the respondents experiencing at least one type of transphobic emotionally abusive behaviour from a partner or ex-partner.
  • 60% of respondents had experienced controlling behaviour from a partner or ex-partner.
  • 45% of respondents had experienced physically abusive behaviour from a partner or ex-partner.
  • 47% of respondents had experienced some form of sexual abuse from a partner or ex-partner.
  • 37% of respondents said that someone had forced, or tried to force them to have
  • sex when they were under the age of 16.
  • 46% of respondents said that someone had forced, or tried to force them to
  • engage in some other form of sexual activity when under the age of 16.
  • 10% of respondents stated that someone had forced, or tried to force them to engage in sexual activity for money.

According to Stonewall Lesbian, gay, bi and trans people can experience forced marriage. For example, they may experience emotional pressure to get married by being made to feel that their sexual orientation or gender identity brings shame on the family.

LGBT Domestic Abuse Project, LGBT Youth Scotland and the Equality Network, 'Out of sight, out of mind?: Transgender People's Experiences of Domestic Abuse' (2010) [9]

Stonewall – Forced Marriage

Date on Gender reassignment is limited

Sexual Orientation

Statistics published in Scotland's People Annual Report, 2017 shows that the number of people who self-identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual in Scotland was around 2%. A comparison by gender showed that 97.8% of men and 98% of women identified themselves as heterosexual/straight.

Stonewall emphasises that domestic abuse doesn't just happen to straight women - it affects gay men, lesbians, bisexual and trans people.

Stonewall Scotland reports that one in four lesbian and bisexual women have experienced domestic abuse from a partner, which is the same as the general female population, while half of gay and bisexual men have experienced domestic abuse, and a third have experienced domestic abuse from a partner.

According to Stonewall Lesbian, gay, bi and trans people can experience forced marriage. For example, they may experience emotional pressure to get married by being made to feel that their sexual orientation or gender identity brings shame on the family.

Scotland's People; Annual Report, 2017

Stonewall Scotland, (2017) [10]

Stonewall – Forced Marriage

Data on Sexual orientation is limited


The size of the minority ethnic population in 2011 was just over 200,000 or 4% of the total population of Scotland (based on the 2011 ethnicity classification); this has doubled since 2001 when just over 100,000 or 2% of the total population of Scotland (based on the 2001 ethnicity classification) were from a minority ethnic group.[11]

The Asian population was the largest minority ethnic group (3% of the total population or 141,000 people) and has seen an increase of one percentage point (69,000) since 2001.

Gender based violence can impact women and children from any racial background. However, according to NHS Health Scotland discrimination in relation to ethnicity, migrant or refugee status can increase and intensify the risk of abuse.

Female Genital Mutilation as a form of gender based violence is not fixed on any particular race. While the exact number is unknown, at least 200 million girls and women in 30 countries have undergone female genital mutilation. Since certain groups and diaspora communities continue the practice in other countries as well, the total number of girls and women worldwide who have undergone FGM is likely to be higher. The actual figure is not known because there are little reliable data on prevalence in these population groups.

Whilst survivors of FGM are found in some communities in Scotland, not all women and girls born in countries or communities where it is practised are affected or at risk. There is no concrete evidence that FGM is actually being practised in Scotland, but neither is there clear evidence that it is not. Prevalence rates vary dramatically both within countries of origin and between them, so it is important not to make any assumptions about women or girls from a particular background or community.

Scotland's population (2011)

NHS Health Scotland (2017) [12]


Responding to Female Genital Mutilation in Scotland, Multi agency guidance, 2017

Data on race is limited.

Religion or Belief

In 2011 over half (54%) of the population of Scotland stated their religion as Christian - a decrease of 11 percentage points since 2001, whilst 37 per cent of people stated that they had no religion.

After Christianity, Islam was the most common faith with 77,000 people in Scotland describing their religion as Muslim. This is followed by Hindus (16,000), people from Other religions (15,000), Buddhists (13,000), Sikhs (9,000) and Jews (6,000). Even with these groups added together they still accounted for less than 3% of the overall population.[14]

Some people practice FGM as part of their religion and there can be huge pressures to make girls have it done. However FGM is not recommended by any religion or in any religious texts. It is not religious but might have become symbolic in some communities as a demonstration of faith.

Similarly Forced Marriage is not recommended by any religion or in any religious texts. The freely given consent of both parties is a prerequisite of Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh Marriages.

It is not religious but might have become symbolic in some communities as a demonstration of faith.

Scotland's Population 2011

Data on religion/belief is limited

Marriage and Civil Partnership

(the Scottish Government does not require assessment against this protected characteristic unless the policy or practice relates to work, for example HR policies and practices - refer to Definitions of Protected Characteristics document for details)


Email: Kirstin McPhee