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Publication - Consultation Paper

Equally Safe draft delivery plan consultation 2017-2021: response analysis

Published: 1 Nov 2017

Analysis of consultation responses on the draft delivery plan for Equally Safe: Scotland's strategy for preventing and eradicating violence against women and girls.

111 page PDF

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111 page PDF

1.0MB

Contents
Equally Safe draft delivery plan consultation 2017-2021: response analysis
Recurring themes raised throughout the consultation

111 page PDF

1.0MB

Recurring themes raised throughout the consultation

Most respondents who responded to the consultation were generally supportive of the Equally Safe Delivery Plan and what it was trying to achieve (between 59% and 67% agreed with the actions listed under the 4 priorities and the cross cutting actions).

However respondents could see a number of ways to improve the Equally Safe Delivery Plan. When asked what was missing, what could be added, many of the same themes recurred. These themes related to:

  • Who it should cover – more emphasis is required around intersectionality and the additional vulnerabilities faced by women with certain protected characteristics.
  • There needs to be a greater emphasis on children, and more clarity that both boys and girls are covered by the plan.
  • What it should cover – there was a repeated criticism that the plan focussed too much on domestic abuse, rather than covering the full spectrum of violence against women. In particular it was felt that stronger actions were required around commercial sexual exploitation ( CSE), whilst childhood sexual abuse and stalking were not mentioned at all.
  • There is a greater need for engagement and partnership working, too often the SG alone was listed in the "who" column for taking actions forward.
  • There were are a number of comments relating to the delivery of the plan, including the need for sustained funding and resources, the need to link the delivery plan to other SG policies and strategies and UN conventions, and the need for monitoring and evaluation.
  • A number of comments were made about the wording of the plan – often it was commented that actions needed to be stronger and go further, and that more detail and clarity was required, along with comments that more medium and long term actions were required.
  • There were comments relating to the management of the delivery plan and ensuring that action happens at a local level.

Some of the recurring themes relating to who it should cover (all women, all children) and what it should cover (all forms) are discussed in more detail in the cross cutting section of the analysis report.

Generally supportive of Equally Safe

A number of respondents commented that they were supportive of the Equally Safe delivery plan and what it aimed to achieve.

"We believe that Scotland has in many ways led the way internationally in addressing violence against women and girls. We should be ambitious in our vision for Scotland and what we can achieve. We consider that the draft delivery plan forms a base to build on to realise this vision."

- Third Sector

"Overall, the Equally Safe strategy is an extremely positive move by the SG and demonstrates the commitment to tackle and eradicate violence against women and girls ( VAWG)."

– Third Sector

Who it should cover – all women

Some respondents felt that more needed to be said in relation to the intersection between gender and other protected characteristics. Women might be more likely to experience violence or abuse as a result of these characteristics, to face additional barriers and therefore require additional support. It was also mentioned that different interventions might be required across a woman's life course from girls/young woman up to older age.

Particular groups of women where it was felt more focus was required included:

  • Those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex( LGBTI)
  • Those who have a disability or learning disability
  • Those from black and ethnic minority ( BME) communities
  • Those with no recourse to public funds ( NRPF) due to their migration status
  • Those with English as a second language
  • Women in poverty
  • Those who have been looked after
  • Those affected by commercial sexual exploitation ( CSE)
  • Those with caring responsibilities

"Additionally, the injustices experienced by women socially, culturally, economically and politically are inextricably linked to their experiences of race, disability, gender identity and sexuality; this should be kept in mind throughout the strategy and considered with every action detailed."

- Third Sector

"[Our organisation] sees a clear understanding of intersectionality as central to developing actions which fully address the needs of women and girls with learning disabilities, who face multiple barriers as a result of both their gender and learning disability."

- Third Sector

It was suggested that the priority 3 actions should be more inclusive of LGBTI people, minority ethnic women and women with learning disabilities as these groups can face additional barriers to accessing support.

"There are many barriers to accessing services for anyone when experiencing abuse, but for LBT women there are often double barriers. Many LBT women experiencing abuse are apprehensive about approaching a specialist women's only domestic abuse service for support, as they presume the service will only offer support to heterosexual women, and/or fear they will be met with homophobia, biphobia or transphobia and that staff may not understand LBT specific abuse. Fear of being 'outed' and confidentiality issues can also be barriers for LBT women accessing support for abuse."

- Third Sector

"This is underpinned by the recognition that women and girls with learning disabilities experience particular barriers in reporting and escaping violence, and the lack of targeted, accessible information means they are rarely aware of support services available to victims of gender based violence."

- Academic/Research

Who it should cover – all children

As discussed under cross cutting actions, it was felt that children were not integrated enough into the delivery plan. It was also suggested that the language used could make it clearer that children of both genders are included throughout the plan.

At priority 3 it was felt that there should be a stronger focus on children and young people affected by violence and abuse and supporting and protecting them.

"Although children and young people are identified as a priority group in this section there is a lack of actions that relate to providing support for them whether that be through public services or third sector support. If not mentioned specifically there is the potential that the focus may be lost."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

What it should cover – all forms of violence

A recurring criticism was that the delivery plan focussed too much on domestic abuse, and did not mention other forms of violence against women enough, this was particularly the case at priority 4.

"[Our organisation] welcomes the inclusion of actions that will help tackle perpetration of domestic abuse in this section of the Delivery Plan, but we believe that identifying and holding perpetrators to account in relation to other forms of VAWG should be strengthened in this section."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

Some respondents felt that reference to specific forms of violence were missing and called for the inclusion of Commercial Sexual Exploitation ( CSE) (including prostitution and internet pornography), honour based violence, childhood sexual abuse, and stalking. In addition it was noted that gender based violence can be directed at men within a GBT relationship, as well as acknowledging that men can be victims and women perpetrators of violence.

"[Our] members suggested that there are currently actions missing which relate to: - Addressing specific forms of violence - e.g. honour based violence, sexual exploitation, child sexual abuse."

- Third Sector

"Given that one of the objectives for Priority 1 is 'Individuals and communities recognise and challenge violent and abusive behaviour' there could be more specific actions in relation to the different forms of violence against women and girls. For example, the delivery plan would benefit from actions which seek to improve community responses to FGM and other forms of honour-based violence… Specific actions for specific forms of violence against women are necessary to ensure that the delivery plan is effective and meaningful."

- Third Sector

Engagement and partnership working

One of the criticisms of the Delivery Plan was that often the Scottish Government alone is listed in the "Who" column for taking actions forward. A number of respondents stressed the need for collaboration and wider engagement and partnership working in order to successfully achieve the aims of Equally Safe. It was felt that it was important to say how the work of wider partners fits with the Delivery Plan and make it clearer that it is not for the SG alone to drive the Delivery Plan forward.

Groups that respondents felt should be included, and be more involved with Delivery Plan included:

  • The wider public sector, including;
    • Local Authorities
    • Health Boards
    • Community Planning Partnerships
    • Health and Social Care Partnerships
    • Police Scotland
    • Scottish Prison Service
    • Scottish Courts Service
    • Education Scotland
    • Skills Development Scotland
    • Scottish Funding Council
    • Colleges
    • Higher Education Institutions
    • Scottish Children's Reporter Administration ( SCRA)
    • COSLA, Scottish Social Services Council
    • Scottish Qualifications Authority ( SQA)
    • The Care Commission
    • Child Protection Committees
    • The Family Courts
    • The Judiciary
    • Crown Office
  • Violence Against Women partnerships
  • The third sector
  • Parents, families and the wider community
  • Employers, including those in the private sector
  • Trade unions and representative bodies
  • Schools and teachers
  • Young people
  • Faith groups
  • The voices of women and children with lived experience of violence
  • Other Equally Safe work streams sometimes need to be identified and included in the work of other priorities.

"Priority 1 contains a comprehensive list of achievable and worthwhile actions. It is noted, however, that the overwhelming majority of objectives are to be achieved by Scottish Government. This may lead some organisations to underestimate their own role in driving this agenda forward. Consideration may wish to be given to identifying other relevant bodies to include within the 'Who' column"

- Other Public Body, including Executive Agencies, NDPBs, NHS etc.

"recognise the significant contribution VAWPs make to this priority [priority 1] and support their endeavours by working in closer partnership with them"

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

"Approaches to prevention work are multi-faceted; there is no one size fits all. Working in partnership is the only way forward with all partners equally committed and working to their strengths."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

"the importance of public sector agencies, communities, and individuals is diluted and largely absent. We consider that detailing more specifically their contribution would strengthen the delivery plan, and clarify the ways in which we all have to own this issue."

- Other Public Body, including Executive Agencies, NDPBs, NHS etc.

"It is critical that all key partners and stakeholder organisations are engaged in the delivery of the action plan if it is to be successful. Not only because the delivery plan requires engagement with broad range of expertise to succeed, but also because resource allocation and accountability for Equally Safe needs to visible beyond Scottish Government."

- Third Sector

It was felt that parents, families and the wider community have a role to play in influencing the attitudes of children and young people.

"there is no specific action around Childhood linked to parental awareness raising. The impact of actions in the educational setting will be limited if the home environment remains unchanged."

- Third Sector

"Children and young people have many influences on their lives which shape their understanding of safe, healthy and positive relationships. Although the education system has a pivotal role, we believe that this section would be improved by widening its focus to consider the role of families and communities."

- Other Public Body, including Executive Agencies, NDPBs, NHS etc.

In relation to priority 3 it was felt that the third sector have a wealth of experience in supporting women and children affected by VAW, and that this should be utilised, for example when training staff in the public sector on recognising potential signs of abuse.

Local level activity will be required to successfully deliver Equally Safe.

" VAW partnerships coordinate prevention activity, service provision, resources, training, policy and commitment at a local level. As the delivery plan stands at the moment, local areas are not required to do very much. This is a huge missed opportunity."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

Delivery

It was felt that long term sustainable funding and resources, including staff, would be required to effectively deliver Equally Safe. There were concerns of additional pressures caused by public sector spending cuts.

"It is important that VAW continues to be resourced at a time of funding constraints across statutory and 3rd sector organisations. VAW needs early intervention, partnership working and service user involvement. There is the potential to make an enormous difference to women and children's lives if we deliver services better at an earlier stage."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

"To do any plan justice it needs to have resource attached to it. Failure to do this, results in fragmented services that lack cohesion and good outcomes that make a difference to affected women and girls."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

Areas where it was felt that funding was required included: to support actions taking place in schools and colleges and in the community; the rolling out of the "Safe and Together" model; supporting Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences ( MARACs); appropriately supporting and funding organisations and workforces involved in early intervention and prevention work; providing funding for projects across Scotland so that access to services is not a "postcode lottery"; to increase participation; and providing and funding specialist services to support women exiting prostitution.

"It is essential that actions to ensure early and effective interventions recognise the necessity of having the right workforce in the right place, with the right skills at the right time. The provision of adequate sustainable funding for these services should also be reflected within the actions."

- Representative Body for Professionals/Trade Union

"There are currently 11 local authority areas delivering CEDAR across Scotland, funded primarily through the Big Lottery Fund. While this investment is very welcome, there is a need to ensure that these services are embedded and sustained in the longer term. Moreover, there is a need to address the postcode lottery that currently exists in Scotland by ensuring that all children are able to access specialist domestic abuse support through CEDAR regardless of the local authority area that they live in."

- Other

"Concern about the impact of public spending cuts, particularly at local authority level, placing undue pressure on support workers and public services - making it much harder to deliver successfully on cross cutting initiatives."

- Representative Body for Professionals/Trade Union

It was seen as important that the Delivery Plan learned from and drew upon existing strategies, rather than being delivered in isolation. Therefore relevant existing strategies and how they could link with Equally Safe should be referenced in the Delivery Plan. Existing strategies that respondents felt linked with Equally Safe included:

  • The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child ( UNCRC)
  • Getting it Right for Every Child ( GIRFEC)
  • Scottish Government Race Equality Framework for Scotland 2015-2030
  • The National Framework for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse
  • The Sexual Health Framework
  • The Community Empowerment Act
  • UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  • Requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty
  • Fair Work Framework
  • The Pregnancy and Parenthood in Young People strategy
  • The Employability strategy
  • The NHS Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Framework
  • The National Mental Health Strategy
  • Learning Disabilities Strategies
  • A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People
  • The Child Poverty Bill
  • The Social Security Bill
  • NHS Education for Scotland ( NES) Transforming Trauma Knowledge and Skills Framework
  • The Child Protection Improvement Programme

"It was noted that there are already a lot of strategies in place for engaging with/ supporting different groups of people and we should be learning from and utilising these rather than developing new plans."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

"All too often valuable equalities work is done in isolation minimising its impact and often duplicating effort. In particular, we would implore the Scottish Government to ensure that Equally Safe is implemented in line with the commitments and policies set out in the Race Equality Framework for Scotland 2016-2030"

- Third Sector

It was seen as important that action on the Delivery Plan is co-ordinated across government, relevant organisations and VAW partnerships, rather than operating in "silos".

There were suggestions that more evidence, research and data were needed, to look at evidence gaps around preventing violence against women, and service provision, to better understand the risks faced by certain groups, such as women with learning disabilities, and to understand "what works" for women at different stages in their life.

It was felt that there was a need to monitor and evaluate the actions in Equally Safe, so that their impact could be monitored and reported on. It was felt that measurement would be required at both a local and a national level. It was also noted that some actions were considered "vague" which would make it hard to monitor their impact.

"More focus is needed on ensuring that actions are sustainable and are achieving their intended impact. There is a need to ensure that progress in implementing the delivery plan and monitoring the impact actions are having at a local and national level is measured and reported back to VAW Partnerships, CPPs and the Scot Gov."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

Wording of the Delivery Plan

There were a number of comments around the wording of the plan – a number of which called for more detail and clarity around certain actions. There was a feeling that the Delivery Plan should be more ambitious, and that some actions should be strengthened and go further. There was a desire for more medium and long term objectives, many of the actions referenced were short term and did not go beyond 2019. There was also a call for the actions to be more outcomes focussed rather than process focussed and for them to be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound). It was commented in the cross cutting section, that the delivery plan did not make it clear how the SG would meet international obligations under UN conventions.

"The 'actions' included within this section of the plan are a little vague and are not very 'action oriented'. It is not made clear how progress will be made, by when and how it will be measured… The actions included appear to be less about a 'delivery plan' and more about what currently takes place. The focus tends to be on 'considering', 'discussing', and 'looking at' rather than acting. In terms of the timescales - there are very few medium or long-term actions - most of the actions are for 2017-18."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

"We believe that there is a need for the delivery plan to be much more ambitious than it currently is. Equally Safe sets out a long-term vision for preventing and eradicating VAWG so it is disappointing to see that the majority of actions in the delivery plan are either pieces of work that are currently on going or will be completed over the coming 12 months."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

"We support the Government's commitment to holding events, engaging with stakeholders, taking forward programmes and commissioning research, however we are concerned that these are insufficient to affect the required change and - though worthwhile - they are not a commitment to tackle the form of gender based violence they relate to."

- Third Sector

The scope of the plan was questioned by some, who felt that priority 2, which focussed on wider gender inequality, would sit better in a separate strategy. It was felt that the focus and the actions in priority 2 were too broad, and would not, in the short term, tackle the violence against women that women are experiencing now. It was commented that there might be a need to prioritise certain actions.

"By overemphasising the bigger picture of women's equality this priority becomes too broad and the strategy fails to create and develop achievable and measurable objectives that address violence against women and improve women and girls safety in Scotland today."

- Third Sector

There was also a request for a broader definition of gender based violence to be used that would better include all children and young people, as well as acknowledging the gender based violence that young gay, bisexual or transgender men face. There were calls for better consistency of language to make it clear that children are included.

"We have commented in other answers that we are not always clear whether actions in individual priority areas apply across all forms of gender based violence and include consideration of children. This concern is sometimes exacerbated by inconsistent use of language – in places the delivery plan refers to women, in places to women and girls and in places to women and children and it is not always clear whether these differences are deliberate choices due to the focus of a particular action. While the delivery plan does state at the beginning that the definition of violence against women and girls does include children or all genders, it would still perhaps be clearer to use "women and children" as the default form throughout the delivery plan unless actions are specifically focused on a particular group within this."

- Third Sector

Management and accountability

There was a feeling that there needed to be some sort of mechanism in place for ensuring that high level actions were delivered locally, and that partners were held accountable. It was felt that guidance of what was expected at a local level was required. It was felt that local partners should be required to report annually on their progress.

"We would caution that this plan does not get lost in its implementation. To facilitate this we would recommend all publicly funded organisations receive directives from key public sector agencies and/or Ministers that highlights how they are expected to implement Equally Safe and that this be built into the Performance Monitoring framework."

- Third Sector

"From a public health perspective we support Equally Safe at all levels, and particularly in relation to promoting equality and prevention. However, although we recognize that this is a strategy, which is rightly tackling these issues at a governmental level, we would appreciate guidance on how the actions can be supported and/or delivered at a local level."

- Other Public Body, including Executive Agencies, NDPBs, NHS etc.


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