Equally safe - challenging men's demand for prostitution: consultation analysis

Analysis of responses to a public consultation seeking views on how best to challenge men’s demand for prostitution in Scotland, reducing the harms associated with prostitution and supporting women involved to exit.

2. About the Consultation

The Scottish Government undertook a public consultation exercise on challenging men's demand for prostitution, working to reduce the harms associated with prostitution and helping women to exit from 11 September 2020 to 10 December 2020.

The consultation consisted of nine main open text questions, with the purpose of gathering views on how to tackle prostitution and violence against women and girls from a multitude of angles. This includes the effectiveness of the Scottish Government's current approach to tackling prostitution, the impacts of the current pandemic on prostitution, the effectiveness of international policy approaches to prostitution to prevent violence against women and girls (VAWG), attitudes, awareness raising and education around consent and healthy relationships, considering the different support needs of women engaged in prostitution, and any other considerations.

This consultation is written "through the lens" of Equally Safe, Scotland's strategy for eradicating violence against women and girls. Equally Safe is a collaborative effort initially developed in 2014 by the Scottish Government, CoSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) and a range of other partners that has since been updated following further engagement with wider stakeholders. The name Equally Safe refers to the vision set out by the Scottish Government that all people be "equally safe and respected", and that only when this is true can Scotland really "flourish" as a country. At its heart is an understanding that this cannot happen in a society in which violence against women and girls occurs and is tolerated, and a recognition that such violence is not inevitable, but stems from systemic gender inequality. Equally Safe is connected to the Scottish Government's wider ambitions, namely for a safer, stronger, healthier, wealthier and fairer nation.

Rocket Science UK Ltd was commissioned to complete the analysis of the consultation responses and produce a report outlining the messages from the consultation. This report presents the key messages from the public consultation and explains the methodology that was used to analyse responses.

2.1 Respondents to the consultation

Public consultation responses were collected in two ways:

  • 1164 public consultation responses were submitted to the Scottish Government's 'Citizen Space' online portal or were uploaded by Scottish Government to Citizen Space, which included responses from individuals and organisations. This number also contained a range of submissions that were informed by campaign text or contained campaign text in parts or in its entirety. In the analysis we are unable to identify how many of those 1164 responses are informed by or contain campaign text. The key messages from the 1164 Citizen Space responses are analysed in Chapter 4.
  • 2839 responses were emailed to the consultation email inbox directly from campaign tools from two specific campaigns by the 10th of December consultation deadline. The key messages from the campaigns are analysed in Chapter 5.

Of the 1164 responses submitted or uploaded to Citizen Space, 1039 were from individuals and 125 were from organisations or organisational partnerships. Organisational responses came from a wide range of organisations working across VAWG and other areas including grassroots peer support led groups, faith organisations, and international human rights organisations. Organisations from within Scotland, organisations from the EU (Romania, Italy, Germany), South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Canada, as well as organisations with international focus provided consultation responses. A complete list of organisations responding to the consultation is available in Appendix B.

Several public campaigns responded to the consultation using both the Citizen Space portal and the VAWG Consultation email inbox. There were 2839 campaign responses received to the VAWG Consultation inbox by the closing date of 10 December 2020. Of those, 930 were from a campaign called 'Nordic Model Now!' and 1909 were received from a campaign hosted by the peer-led organisation SCOT-PEP, hereafter referred to as the SCOT-PEP campaign. We understand that the Nordic Model Now! campaign went live on Thursday 3rd of December 2020 and the SCOT-PEP campaign went live on 17 November 2020. From these dates individuals and organisations were able to submit the standard campaign response as their submission or use it as the basis for their unique submission to the consultation. Responses using these campaigns text were submitted by respondents through both the Citizen Space portal and consultation email inbox. We also identified a third campaign from an unknown source in the Citizen Space responses. The views of these three campaign responses are summarised in Chapter 5.

There were also a range of campaign responses submitted through Citizen Space, however these tended to be individuals or organisations drawing on excerpts of campaign text to supplement their own views and responses. The views of these organisations and individuals that drew on campaign text as part of their response are included in the thematic analysis in Chapter 4, section 4.6.


Email: vawgconsultations@gov.scot

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