Violence Against Women and Girls - Independent Strategic Review of Funding and Commissioning of Services minutes: November 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group held on 23 November 2022

Attendees and apologies


  • Lesley Irving

Advisory Group attendees

  • Dr Claire Houghton  
  • Katie Cosgrove
  • Katie Kelly
  • Malcolm Chisholm
  • Mukami McCrum
  • Professor Philomena De Lima


  • Jane McAteer
  • Rhona Gowans 


  • Professor Angela O’Hagan

Items and actions


The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting, followed by a review of the minutes from the previous meeting. The advisory group (AG)  accepted these as an accurate record of Meeting 5.


  • Secretariat to upload minutes to the review’s webpage.

Chair update: extension of timescales/governance

The Chair thanked the AG for their agreement in extending the timescales for reporting the review’s findings and recommendations. The extension has been agreed by the Minister for Equalities and stakeholders will now be informed of the change.

Variance of appointment letters to account for the extension will be issued to the AG members in the coming days.

The Chair flagged the review’s capacity to procure its own legal advice. It was agreed that there is no urgency in sourcing this. The Chair highlighted the revised milestone dates for the report. A final draft will be required by the publication service by the beginning of May 2023. The AG reflected on modes of communication over the past few months and considered the most appropriate methods to use to enable useful collaboration out with meetings.


  • Secretariat to investigate possible other modes of communication.

Call For Evidence final report: presentation from Alma Economics

There was a presentation by the external contractor, Alma Economics, on the Call For Evidence report, followed by a Q & A session. The presenters provided an overview of the process of analysing and presenting the data gathered from the responses to the Call for Evidence, which were submitted through the Citizen Space online portal and by email, and the key themes which emerged from 7 roundtable events conducted by the review.

Alma Economics’ outlined their methodology for analysing the findings which included data cleaning, quantitative frequency and segmentation analysis on closed-ended questions, and qualitative analysis through manual reading of open-text responses and thematic analysis. The presenters also took the AG through the reasoning behind the report’s format and summarised the key findings.

The Chair thanked the presenters and noted the usefulness of the slide deck. A discussion of the report’s findings followed.


  • Secretariat to request the slide deck from Alma Economic

 Participation/engagement strategy

The Chair shared details of recent engagement events with the AG. The Chair noted that the review is continuing to keep its engagement under advisement and called upon the AG to consider how best to address any gaps. An AG member highlighted that there is an issue of unmet demand that we do not know anything about so a thorough piece of work on mapping communities which is VAWG focused might be needed at some point. 

The  AG requested a summary of the engagement to date,  so the Chair discussed some emerging themes. It has been communicated that minority ethnic women have a reluctance to use services and was suggested that community support is important in this case. Another emerging theme from engagement with rape survivors was delays in the criminal justice service causing major problems. The majority of organisations have noted they prefer longer funding cycles and more stability in funding. Smaller organisation called for a less onerous applications processes due to the current iteration diverting vital resource away from service delivery where it is required.

The Chair reflected on a recent  engagement with older minority ethnic women in Glasgow which had taken place the week prior to the sixth AG meeting. The notes from the event will be collated by the secretariat in the coming weeks. There is another event planned in the next week with children and young people and their mothers who have been affected by VAWG. Further lived experience engagement is planned in the new year. The Chair highlighted the UN special rapporteur on VAWG letter to the UK government regarding the Gender Recognition Act Reform bill and the group noted the continuing importance of lived experience engagement.

The Chair flagged that the suggestion from the previous meeting of doing a deep dive exercise on gender budgeting across policy areas will be taken forward by the Equality and Human Rights Budget Advisory Group. The group hope to complete this work by September 2023.


  • the AG will take a look at the engagement tracker and make suggestions to fill any identified gaps.

Intersectionality and place

The Chair welcomed suggestions from AG members on what form discussions on intersectionality should take at future AG meetings. An AG member suggested that intersectionality does not need to be a standing agenda item but noted that it will be valuable to consider how the AG and the Chair frame the conversation on the review’s recommendations around intersectionality when the time comes. One AG member suggested focusing on the areas and groups which the AG members have expertise in to start to structure the review’s considerations of intersectionality. The group noted that services were also grappling with these issues whilst considering multiple needs and balancing different issues. The group will have to consider the level of support that can be provided and how it is applied to best serve different needs.

A discussion ensued between the AG and the Chair regarding the key considerations required to enable the review to frame its recommendations around intersectionality. This included the practical implications of working with an ethos of intersectionality, the landscape of challenges for inclusion and equality, community power, community mapping, public health needs assessments, the power of storytelling and anecdotal evidence in reporting, and a need to marry-up intersectional and gendered approaches.

Planning: themes for future meetings

The Chair outlined the planned agenda items for the January and February meetings and sought views from the AG on items they thought would be useful. The AG were in agreement that December’s session will include time to strategically consider the scope of, and approach to, the recommendations. The AG also agreed that March’s session will be in person in East Ayrshire and will be dedicated to working out the review’s recommendations.

An AG member suggested that each member reflects on their learning from previous AG meetings and uses this to direct the themes for December’s meeting to ensure that the learning informs the work of the review in a meaningful way going forward.  


  • the AG will consider key points which they have taken from previous AG meetings and send these to the secretariat to inform December’s agenda.

Agenda for next meeting

The future meeting dates confirmed by the AG are Friday 16 December (Online) 11:00 to 14:00 January to June meeting dates TBC. January’s meeting will be held in Glasgow, and Edinburgh in February.


  • Secretariat to send doodle poll to the AG with dates for meetings in January- June.

Any other business

An AG member highlighted the forthcoming Cosla landscape report and the potential of short videos to help supplement local council input to the review. Another AG member asked whether the AG should seek advice regarding what can be included in law. The member also flagged the Domestic Abuse Court Experience research which they believe will be a useful source of information for the review. This is due to be published on 14 December 2022. The Chair noted the right to services for victims of human trafficking which is enshrined in law.


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