Violence Against Women and Girls - Strategic Review of Funding and Commissioning of Services: terms of reference

Terms of reference for the Violence Against Women and Girls - Strategic Review of Funding and Commissioning of Services review.


The Review of the Funding and Commissioning of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Services was announced by the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government during the Scottish Parliament debate held on 25 November to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls. It will be chaired by Lesley Irving and will report by March 2023.

Remit and scope

The principal aim of the review is 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 VAWG. Services for children and young people in their own right as victims will be included. The review will also include those services which recognise the vital role of prevention in increasing safety for women, children and young people. The review will take a human-rights approach, including using PANEL principles, be cognisant of the Public Sector Equality Duty, and work to a gendered analysis of VAWG. The review will take account of the fact that many partners are required to provide holistic services. The review will not make recommendations about the provision of services for perpetrators, as the remit is to focus on services for women, children and young people who are victims.

The review will take an intersectional approach, recognising that women, children and young people are members of many linked social groups which are affected by the interconnections of systems and structures of power.  This results in inequality of power or structural inequalities, and therefore differences in relative disadvantage or privilege.  All evidence looked at by the review will therefore be considered in the context of past and present inequalities, and the recommendations will be shaped by this lens.

The review will consider and make recommendations on:

  • the development of a Scotland-wide framework which establishes a definition of the minimum level of trauma informed, specialist service provision, tailored to Scottish demographics and geography, specifying minimum core support provision and essential services, and guided by progressive realisation
  • the method of protection in Scottish law for services for women, children and young people, including domestic abuse refuges, advocacy, counselling, rape crisis centres
  • a definition of specialist services as those provided by organisations that take a human-rights approach, have a commitment to gender competence across the workforce and work to a gendered analysis of VAWG
  • a Scotland-wide mechanism for the oversight and distribution of funding based on need at national and local levels which will explore how Local Authorities and Health and Social Care Partnerships can be supported to develop a strategic and collaborative commissioning and procurement framework, aligned robustly to the delivery of Equally Safe
  • the optimum length of funding periods and streamlining application, monitoring and reporting processes
  • opportunities for involving survivors in commissioning processes/evaluations
  • the role, contribution and resourcing of local violence against women partnerships

Previous and ongoing work around VAWG services

The review will consider previous and ongoing work in this field, including, but not limited to:

  • the Equally Safe Delivery Plan refresh currently being taken forward by the Scottish Government and COSLA
  • Baroness Kennedy’s report Misogyny - a Human Rights Issue
  • relevant UN Conventions including the Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention
  • improving Housing Outcomes for Women and Children Experiencing Domestic Abuse
  • the development of the National Care Service
  • the Gender Pay Gap Action Plan
  • the Fairer Scotland Action Plan and Shifting the Curve
  • Best Start, Bright Futures - the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan
  • work being undertaken by the National Advisory Council on Women and Girls
  • the Gender Equality Taskforce in Education and Learning
  • the recommendations in the National Taskforce for Human Right’s Leadership’s report
  • the recommendations in Lady Dorrian’s review on the management of sexual offences cases
  • the Vision for Justice in Scotland and work being undertaken by the Victims Taskforce and the Women’s Justice Leadership Panel
  • Lived Experience Engagement on experiences of adults involved in prostitution and their interaction with support services
  • work undertaken by wider partners including the third sector to understand examples of best/promising practice being implemented elsewhere
  • Scottish Government COVID-19 recovery policies and strategies

Review process and outcomes

The Chair is independent and will therefore carry out her work without direction from any interested parties, although she will regularly liaise with a wide range of partners and will be supported and guided by the Advisory Group.

The review will produce its report by June 2023, which will make such recommendations as the Chair considers appropriate in relation to developing a funding model in terms of any of the matters listed under Remit, and any other recommendations as the Chair considers appropriate.

The Chair has overall responsibility for the report and will ensure that people with lived experience of using VAWG services are at the centre of the review, and fully involved in proposing recommendations for the final report, together with the views of experts in the third sector, local authorities and local communities. 

Secretariat to the Review:

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