Violence against women and girls, in any form, has no place in our vision for a safe, strong, successful Scotland. It damages health and wellbeing, limits freedom and potential, and is a fundamental violation of human rights. The Scottish Government, COSLA and key partners are committed to preventing and eradicating it once and for all. Equally Safe, our Strategy to prevent and eradicate all forms of violence against women and girls, is our mechanism for achieving this ambition. This strategy, which was originally published in 2014 and updated in 2016, provides a framework to help us do that. It was developed by the Scottish Government and COSLA in association with a wide range of partners from public and third sector organisations.
Over the past few years, we have made progress. There is increasing awareness of the prevalence and the pernicious effects of gendered violence within our society. We have strengthened the law in this area. The work of our partners and a wide range of organisations over many years has placed violence against women and girls firmly on the agenda. Significant investment in services and provision has been made by consecutive Scottish Governments and local authorities. The issue is a priority for Police Scotland and of key importance to statutory agencies who are serious in supporting victims and tackling perpetrators. And there is increased consensus that the roots of violence against women and girls lie in the attitudes and inequalities that continue to permeate society, and that we will only make progress if we tackle outdated gender stereotypes and we tackle women’s inequality.
Whilst the Strategy provides an overarching framework for change, it is imperative that we take forward tangible action to realise our ambitions. This Delivery Plan sets out the actions the Scottish Government, COSLA and partners will take. It sets out clearly how we intend to move forward with implementation in a truly cross-cutting, inclusive and participative way. It includes a total of 118 actions under 4 priority areas – ensuring that Scottish society embraces equality and mutual respect, and rejects violence; that women and girls thrive as equal citizens; that interventions are early, effective and maximise the safety of women, children and young people; and that men desist from violence and perpetrators receive a robust and effective response. And it contains a clear outcomes framework with indicators to demonstrate progress nationally and locally towards preventing and reducing this violence and tackling the pervasive inequalities that create the conditions for it.
As co-Chairs of the Equally Safe Joint Strategic Board, we are committed to ensuring that Equally Safe delivers real change for women and children in Scotland. We look forward to working with everyone in ensuring that we all live in a strong and flourishing Scotland where individuals are equally safe and respected, and where women and girls live free from all forms of violence and abuse – and the attitudes that help perpetuate it.
Angela Constance MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities
Cllr Kelly Parry
COSLA Spokesperson for Community Wellbeing