Violence prevention framework

This Framework sets out our vision to prevent violence across Scotland, and when it does occur, to reduce its harm. It is supported by an evidence supplement, spotlights some cross government work and includes priority aims and an action plan, outlining the initial activities going forward.

Ministerial Foreword

Violence of any kind will not be tolerated within our society. All violence is highly gendered, with men perpetrating the majority of violent crime, and is caused by social factors, including gender inequality and harmful norms about masculinity; and is thus preventable and not inevitable. Violence can affect anyone, anywhere – but it does not affect people and communities equally. People living in communities with high levels of poverty are more likely to both perpetrate and be victims of violent crime, while women and marginalised groups are more likely to be victims of some forms of violence.[1]

The fear of violence is also experienced differently and unequally and can have a highly negative impact on people's lives.[2]

This Government is committed to ensuring everyone lives free from violence, in communities that are inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe.[3]

Our Vision for Justice in Scotland[4] sets out our roadmap for the future justice system for Scotland, with a focus on creating safer communities and addressing the attitudes and behaviours which lie behind crime and harm.

We support justice partners to keep the public safe and deal with offenders where necessary, through a variety of disposals including community justice and prison, prioritising effective rehabilitation and recovery to prevent reoffending and re-victimisation.

Over the last decade or so, Scotland has made significant progress in reducing violence.[5] Scotland's homicide rate is down; the number of admissions to hospitals due to assault is down; knife crime has decreased; as have levels of violent crime.[6]

Yet, there have been increases in some forms of violence and we know that violence can be very much a part of life for some people and groups within our communities.[7] Sexual crimes recorded by the police have been on an upward

trend since 1974. Men's violence against women and girls is abhorrent and unacceptable which is why we will continue to take robust action to tackle sexual offending and domestic abuse through Scotland's Equally Safe Strategy for preventing and eradicating violence against women and girls - focussing on prevention, improving support, and modernising the law. It is also essential that perpetrators of sexual violence are held to account and the onus for change and action is focused on the perpetrator and not the victim. We also know that some forms of violence are increasingly becoming concentrated on a small group of people who are repeat victims of violence.[8]

Our vision is to prevent violence from happening in the first instance – and, when it does occur, in reducing further harm. Across all our public services, we must do more to address the deep-rooted inequalities which can give rise to violence in our communities. We must target interventions towards those most at risk of experiencing violence.

There is no easy solution to these complex challenges, and it is important that this Government leads collaboration and partnership working between many organisations to collectively achieve this vision.

We are committed to addressing all forms of violence. This Framework recognises there are many different forms of violence and these are often related and require different approaches. Therefore, this overarching Framework will strengthen our response to tackling gender-based violence in line with Equally Safe[9], Scotland's strategy for preventing and eradicating men's violence against women and girls. The Framework will also support the more targeted work to tackle hate crime, youth offending, poverty and inequalities such as those related to gender and race.

Alongside these wider activities being taken forward across government, implementation of this Framework identifies four main aims to be achieved through a variety of activities within an Action Plan to address some specific areas of violence.

Implementation of this Framework will be undertaken through the public health approach[10], which has been championed so successfully by the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit[11] and Medics Against Violence[12]. One of the strengths of the approach, is that it recognises that violence comes in many forms, from self-directed harm and suicide through to interpersonal violence and collective violence; and that its effects can be physical, emotional, psychological and economic.

Everyone has a part to play to prevent violence in Scotland, and, by working alongside our partners, we will ensure there will continue to be a focus on prevention and in intervening early to help more people and communities to live safer lives free from violence.

Siobhian Brown

Minister for Victims and Community Safety

Violence Prevention Framework for Scotland



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