Violence Against Women and Girls - Strategic Review of Funding and Commissioning of Services minutes: 22 June 2022

Minutes and agenda items from the second meeting of the group, held on 22 June 2022.

Attendees and apologies

  • Lesley Irving, Chair
  • Professor Angela O’Hagan, Advisory Group
  • Dr Claire Houghton, Advisory Group
  • Katie Cosgrove, Advisory Group
  • Katie Kelly, Advisory Group
  • Malcolm Chisholm, Advisory Group
  • Mukami McCrum, Advisory Group
  • Professor Philomena De Lima, Advisory Group
  • Jane McAteer, Secretariat
  • Eleanor Horne, Secretariat
  • Beth Busby, Secretariat

Items and actions

  • welcome
  • minutes of last meeting
  • Call for Evidence (CfE): next steps and wider engagement
  • current funding arrangements (Paper) – Presentation by SG analysts
  • cross-government policy trawl
  • the Delivering Equally Safe (DES) fund (Paper) – presentation by Inspiring Scotland
  • agenda for next meeting and future meeting dates (Wednesday 27 July, 10:00 – 13:00 and Wednesday 24 August 13:00 – 16:00)
  • A.O.B.


Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.

Minutes of last meeting

AG agreed that format, level of detail etc is suitable and accepted these as an accurate record of Meeting 1.


  • Secretariat to upload minutes to review webpage

Call for Evidence: next steps and wider engagement

The Chair thanked AG for their input into the Call for Evidence (CfE). 22 responses have been received on Citizen Space online portal.

Several responses to the call for evidence have focussed on how the Scottish Government (SG) defines women.

It was noted by the group that the review is Trans-inclusive. However, the review’s remit is to ensure women, children and young people have fair access to Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) services rather than defining women or single sex spaces which is a matter for the Scottish Government.

The Chair outlined that a procurement exercise is being undertaken to commission external analysis of call for evidence responses. An interim report is expected in September and final report in November.

The Chair explained the planned engagement activity in order to ensure a broad range of responses from women, children and young people. This engagement includes social media outreach and events.

It was noted that it would be difficult to engage children and young people during their holiday time and that there are gaps when considering 20-25 year olds whose views are not always captured in research. There are groups and networks that currently engage with children and young people that the review will be tapping into, with an eye to geographical and demographic spreads. It was further noted that an effective engagement strategy would take time and may need a phased approach. The review may recommend that further engagement is needed.

There is a literature review pending on previous work on engagement with VAWG services using SG analysts. This will help to provide the review with a clear understanding of previous data and analysis on VAWG services. The literature review will give the AG a good sense of the solutions as well as the barriers. In many respects the barriers are known, the review must be solutions focussed. This may mean adopting an asset based approach which is embedded in a recognition of systemic and structural inequalities.

There are known challenges baked into systems that the review must address, the review needs to be brave about dismantling systems and approaches where necessary. Are there defunct approaches that the review could reinvigorate? The review must seek the great work that is happening under the radar and in silos and be proactive about sharing and celebrating it, avoiding duplication of work and research. The review must think about process and systems gaps that can be analysed using the evidence received from the CfE and the Literature Review. The review must ask, what do the communities it serves need, rather than simply how good or bad is the current provision?

The review should consider whether the VAWG services should receive mainstreamed funding, rather than the existing tapestry of funding.

It was noted that not all women experiencing VAWG access services and the review will aim to capture the responses of those women, children and young people as well. It should also be borne in mind that groups are not ‘hard to reach’, but instead government and the review need to do more to reach them. The review will also have work to do to ensure that it speaks to people not within the mainstream and no-one is left behind.

With this in mind community groups are to be included where possible as a focus of the review engagement strategy. The review must consider what needs to be done differently and where it can seek fresh evidence.

Using the lens of intersectionality and recognising the diversity of groups the review must consider that the starting line in terms of need and access is different for every individual, the review should ensure that regardless of starting line, the access to VAWG services is equal.

There was discussion also about how the review can be mindful of those who are not currently accessing support groups, for example young people at universities. There is work to address VAWG underway in universities under the implementation of Equally Safe , however this will not reach everyone. Timeline, capacity and spread were flagged as risks. Safeguarding issues must stay front and centre. The review will draw upon the AG members’ expertise in order to strategise on engagement that is diverse and conscious of safeguarding. A focus on ethics must always sit at the centre of all research and engagement. Additionally, there is a continuing experience of lack of adequate support for women across geographical areas - e.g. rural areas. This is exacerbated for particular groups of women - disabled, minority ethnic groups, etc .


  •  chair to consider strategy for engagement with advice from the AG

Current funding arrangements – presentation by SG analysts

There was a short presentation followed by a Q & A session.

The AG observed that there are parts of the funding currently provided that aren’t in the public domain and there is a cluttered landscape that does not always follow a clear strategy. The review must seek to discover where success lies within this landscape. The review should also try to establish a ball park figure of how much money is already within the system. Is there a way to align criteria for funding awards across the variety of donors? Can the review encourage alignment on funding criteria, assessment and reporting within the sector?

Issues were flagged with overuse of innovation funding criteria. Sometimes, these mean that those developing proposals are left unable to fund programmes that work, without adding some kind of innovation to their proposals. Another issue is that there is no national needs assessment, it has been attempted through multiple models but does not exist in any formalised way.

The paper speaks to issues with strategic alignment of services, which is essential to address with the review. Can the review bring alignment between government funding and other sector funders, and how can the review make it easier for funding partners to see value in VAWG sector investments? 


  • analysts to provide ballpark total figure of funding for VAWG organisations, across the various funding sources
  • chair to aim to get an update on activities of the ‘Funders Forum’
  • analysts to provide the funding application forms from the sector funders, to enable the Advisory Group to understand the stipulations that are being applied to applicants

Cross-government policy trawl – information required

The Chair introduced the draft questions for consideration.

There was discussion on the clarity of specific questions as well as whether or not the planned recipient teams were broad enough. The AG suggested going broader than the current planned cross-government trawl as VAWG and gender analysis should be embedded in all SG work. It was suggested that the Equality and Budget Advisory Group (EBAG) should also be added to the list and it would input accordingly. The AG asked whether questions could be extended to sector funders, particularly if some of these departments engage in partnership work.

The AG advised that SG must be clear on a definition of VAWG. Questions should include children and young people and it would be useful to obtain information relating to the interactions between Equality, Inclusion and Human Rights Directorate and other policy areas; the extent of gender quality analysis/impact assessments undertaken and how lived experience is embedded within policy. The AG suggested it would be helpful to know how many Parliamentary Questions (PQs) were asked about VAWG and how often funding was a focus.

Whilst recognising Gender Equality should be embedded across the SG, some initial areas to include in Cross Govt Trawl:

  • Equality and Human Rights Directorate
  • Human Rights Bill Team
  • Economy
  • Agriculture and Rural Economy Directorate
  • Strategy and Performance
  • Equality Budget Advisory Group
  • Children and Families
  • Child Protection
  • Child Rights
  • Health directorates


  • AG to feed in their amendments and additions to the questions
  • secretariat to research frequency and nature of PQs focusing on VAWG and funding

The Delivering Equally Safe fund – presentation by Inspiring Scotland

Inspiring Scotland delivered a short presentation on the Delivering Equally Safe Fund.


  • AG to feed in any questions they have, in consideration of the disruption at the close of the meeting due to the building being evacuated
  • secretariat to invite IS to share the interim report with the AG
  • IS to confirm what proportion of the funding allocated to 43 organisations was specialist support to children and young people

Agenda for next meeting

Future meeting dates:

  • Wednesday 27 July, 10:00 - 13:00
  • Wednesday 24 August, 13:00 - 16:00

Dates confirmed by the group.

Any other business (AOB)

AG member had AOB regarding new research project on ‘Young women facing abuse in their relationships’ and will meet with the chair to discuss.

Related papers

Read the papers related to this meeting.

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