Violence against women and girls, in all its forms, has no place in Scottish society. It damages health and wellbeing, limits freedom and potential, and is a fundamental violation of human rights. Our Equally Safe Strategy envisions a strong and flourishing Scotland where women and girls thrive as equal citizens and live free from all forms of violence and abuse. The Scottish Government, COSLA and all our partners remain committed to preventing and eradicating all forms of violence against women and tackling the underpinning attitudes that perpetuate it.
Equally Safe was originally published in 2014 and updated in 2016, and our Equally Safe Delivery Plan was published in 2017. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic which necessitated a focus by all delivery partners on the challenges posed by it, we have achieved so much and have a lot to be proud of. There is increasing awareness of the prevalence and the pernicious effects of violence against women and girls in Scotland; we have strengthened the law in this area; and we have taken forward a great deal of work to ensure those working in the public sector are equipped with the resource and knowledge to confidently and sensitively work with those affected by violence against women and girls. We continue to increase our investment into frontline services: last year the Scottish Government's Delivering Equally Safe Fund committed a record £38 million over two years to 121 projects focusing on providing vital support to survivors, and on essential work to tackle gender-based violence through preventative measures. Furthermore, the Scottish Government recently launched an independent strategic review of funding and commissioning of services tackling violence against women and girls. Our ambition is that this review will allow us to develop a more consistent, coherent, collective and stable funding model that will ensure high quality, accessible specialist services across Scotland for women, children, and young people experiencing any form of gender-based violence.
We know there is still a great deal of work to be done, however, the Scottish Government and COSLA are absolutely committed to maintaining our momentum, and realising our ambitions under the Equally Safe Strategy of a future where gender-based violence is a thing of the past in Scotland.
This short-life delivery plan comprises of 33 actions that will be taken forward over the remainder of this phase of Equally Safe. This plan develops the many achievements of its predecessor, confirms and builds upon our existing priorities and commitments, and considers what needs to be achieved as Scotland recovers from the pandemic in an increasingly digital environment. Our intention is that this will act as a bridge, taking us from where we are now, towards a new phase of Equally Safe which will be refreshed and developed throughout the lifespan of this plan.
As co-chairs of the Equally Safe Joint Strategic Board, we are committed to ensuring that Equally Safe continues to deliver real change for women and children in Scotland. We look forward to working closely with everyone to realise our ambitions under this delivery plan; to build on our many achievements to date and to continue our progressions towards an Equally Safe Scotland through our next phase of Equally Safe.
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