Equally Safe - short life delivery plan: summer 2022 to autumn 2023

A refresh of the Equally Safe Delivery Plan outlining the joint commitment of the Scottish Government and COSLA to preventing and eradicating all forms of violence against women and girls and tackling the underpinning attitudes that perpetuate it.

3. 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
Objective / Action Timescales Action Owner
10. We will take forward measures to criminalise the practice of virginity testing, and develop education and awareness raising measures to address the beliefs and norms that perpetuate this practice. By Autumn 2022 The Scottish Government
11. We will consider our approach to the issue of hymenoplasty (hymen reconstruction surgery), including assessing whether a new criminal offence is needed in this space. By end of 2022 The Scottish Government
12. We will develop education and awareness raising measures relating to the practice of hymenoplasty; sending a clear message that it is a form of violence against women and girls, and honour-based abuse. By end of 2022 The Scottish Government
13. We will take forward work to fully implement the Female Genital Mutilation (Protection and Guidance) Act 2020. This will include the development of statutory guidance on FGM. By Autumn 2022 The Scottish Government
14. We will take forward a refresh and republication of the Scottish Government's Statutory Guidance on Forced Marriage. By end of 2022 The Scottish Government
15. We will publish a learning report, and take forward any key recommendations, on MARAC. This report has been informed by a series of deep dive sessions with stakeholders. By Autumn 2022 The Scottish Government
16. We will continue to support the investment of £100 million over three years to support frontline services, and focus on prevention of violence against women and girls from school onward. Work on delivering this will be ongoing throughout the lifespan of this plan, and beyond; and will include, among other funding, the Delivering Equally Safe Fund and funded initiatives such as That's Not Ok, Equally Safe in School, Equally Safe in Practice and Equally Safe at Work. Ongoing The Scottish Government
17. We will continue to support the running and management of the Scottish Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline; and the National Rape Crisis Helpline. Ongoing The Scottish Government and Scottish Women's Aid
18. In line with the Local Government Blueprint we will continue to seek to respond to the gendered impacts of the pandemic. By Autumn 2023 and ongoing COSLA
19. Through the Scottish Government's vision for Justice in Scotland, we will continue to dedicate work within the Justice sector to ensuring that women and children get the help they need. Tackling domestic abuse and all forms of gender-based violence remains a key priority. We therefore remain absolutely committed to making improvements to the justice system, which will benefit and empower women throughout the system. Aligned to the Equally Safe Strategy's key ambitions, the core principles of the Vision for Justice will deliver against Equality and Human Rights, acknowledging the key role that justice services can play in eliminating discrimination, advancing equality and taking a rights-based approach. Sitting under the vision will be a focused Women's Leadership Panel to support the development of strategic outcomes which can guide and enhance the scope and update for gender competent policy making and the design of justice policies which can go further for women. Ongoing The Scottish Government
20. We will take forward work to commence the social housing provisions of the Domestic Abuse (Protection) Act to support new powers for the police and the courts to remove domestic abusers from the home; and in particular to change Scottish Secure Tenancies (SSTs) and Short SSTs, and underpinning regulation to give social landlords greater control to transfer tenancies to a victim/survivor. Lay final regulations Summer 2022. Publish final guidance and revised Tenancy agreements by Summer 2022. The Scottish Government
21. We will continue to support the National Gender-based Violence and Health Network to facilitate the implementation of policy and practice locally to improve outcomes for women and girls. We will do this through public health advice and expertise, with a focus on understanding available data, evidence, and best practice. By Autumn 2023 Public Health Scotland
22. We will continue to work in partnership with the Scottish Commission for people with Learning Disabilities, the Scottish Government and COSLA to focus on the needs of people with learning disabilities, and the delivery of the Gender-based Violence and Learning Disability Action Plan. By Autumn 2023 Public Health Scotland
23. We will consider how the intersections of race, class, disability and gender challenge and contribute to our understanding of violence against women. We will use this to develop a programme of work to create inclusive responses to the needs of women in diverse communities. By Autumn 2023 Public Health Scotland
24. We will improve and enhance our processes for managing and supporting those identified as at risk of harm through both crime and non-crime related incidents. Commitment from Annual Policing Plan (Draft) 2022/23 Police Scotland
25. We will drive a co-ordinated approach to engagement and delivery of existing Violence Against Women and Girls Initiatives, to ensure maximum benefits to victims and drive prevention. Ongoing Police Scotland
26. We will, through the National Human Trafficking Unit, work with partners across the Scottish Government Trafficking & Exploitation Strategy, to tackle commercial sexual exploitation and reduce the harm it causes. Ongoing Police Scotland
27. COSLA will continue to engage with the Scottish Government, professional bodies, and other key decision makers within local authorities and community planning organisations on how to support and strengthen local capacity to implement approaches to supporting women engaged in CSE. This will be carried out in line with learning outcomes from COSLA's Short Term Working Group on CSE. It will include working in collaboration with local and national stakeholders to identify what collective leadership and resources are needed to ensure that joined up, multi-agency approaches can be taken to improving outcomes for women engaged in CSE, including supporting women, when they choose to do so, to exit. Ongoing COSLA
28. We will support local multi-agency VAW Partnerships to implement the priorities set out in Equally Safe at a local strategic level, and ensure the safety and wellbeing needs of women, children and young people affected by gender-based violence are prioritised in local strategic responses to COVID-19 recovery, renewal and transformation. By Autumn 2023 Improvement Service
29. We will support local professionals working across a wide range of policy areas to (i) understand the importance of embedding survivor voice and lived experience into system and service design processes; and (ii) implement survivor-created tools and resources to ensure this happens in a high-quality, sustainable and trauma-informed way. By Autumn 2023 Improvement Service and SafeLives
30. We will support local authorities, and other key partners, to measure the progress they are making in implementing domestic abuse-informed systems, services and workforces and the impact this is having on the lives of adult and child survivors of domestic abuse. By Autumn 2023 Improvement Service and Safe & Together Institute


Email: Nel.Whiting@gov.scot

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