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Publication - Consultation Responses

Equally Safe draft delivery plan 2017-2021 consultation: analysis of responses

Published: 9 Oct 2017
Part of:
Equality and rights, Law and order, Research
ISBN:
9781788513425

Summary of the analysis of responses on the consultation on the draft delivery plan for ‘Equally Safe'.

100 page PDF

838.6kB

100 page PDF

838.6kB

Contents
Equally Safe draft delivery plan 2017-2021 consultation: analysis of responses
Priority 1 - Scottish society embraces equality and mutual respect, and rejects all forms of violence against women and girls

100 page PDF

838.6kB

Priority 1 - Scottish society embraces equality and mutual respect, and rejects all forms of violence against women and girls

Priority 1: Scottish society embraces equality and mutual respect, and rejects all forms of violence against women and girls

Objectives

  • Positive gender roles are promoted
  • People enjoy healthy, positive relationships
  • Children and young people develop an understanding of safe, healthy and positive relationships from an early age
  • Individuals and communities recognise and challenge violent and abusive behaviour

Contributing workstreams: Primary Prevention, Capability and Capacity

Priority 1 listed 10 actions, under the 3 headings of "Raising awareness and changing attitudes", "Childhood" and "Workplace".

Respondents were asked if they agreed that these were the right actions, if there were any that they were particularly supportive of, any that they didn't agree with, and if there were any missing/anything additional that should be added.

Q1. Do you agree or disagree that the actions listed under priority 1 are the right actions to help meet the objectives of priority 1?

Sixty-four respondents answered Q1. Of those nearly two-thirds (64%) agreed, 13% disagreed and around a quarter (23%) neither agreed nor disagreed (see table 2 below)

Table 2: Q1. Do you agree or disagree that the actions listed under priority 1 are the right actions to help meet the objectives of priority 1?

  % No.
Agree 64% 41
Disagree 13% 8
Neither Agree nor Disagree 23% 15
  N = 64

Support for Priority 1 Actions

Q2 Please tell us about any of the priority 1 actions that you are particularly supportive of.

Table A1 in Annex 1, lists all of the priority 1 actions, and shows how many respondents said that they were particularly supportive of those actions, as well as indicating the numbers of other comments provided at question 2. .

Sixty-three respondents provided an answer to this question. Of those, around a third, 20 respondents stated that they were supportive off all the priority 1 actions listed.

Of actions that were singled out by respondents as being ones that they were particularly supportive of, the most popular actions were:

  • Work with the education system and key stakeholders to develop a holistic approach towards addressing gender stereotypes and norms in schools and education settings (17)
  • Support initiatives to raise awareness amongst the wider population of violence against women and girls, including what causes it and how to challenge it (16)
  • Through the Mentors in Violence Prevention programme, ensure that boys and men understand about positive healthy respectful relationships, are encouraged to stand up to violence, challenge attitudes and behaviours and tackle toxic masculinity (11)

Supportive of all actions

A number of respondents were generally supportive of all the actions listed under priority 1. Amongst those respondents, the following comments were made:

"[Our organisation] agrees that the thematic headings under which the actions are located are important in shaping a society in which equality, mutual respect and rejection of violence against women and girls are fundamental. The rationale for inclusion of the specific actions is clear from the preceding narrative and the commitment to ensuring that the wider societal attitudes are addressed. We welcome this focus."

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

"We are fully supportive of the aims outlined in Priority One. As the leading charity for girls and young women in Scotland we are committed to working towards a more equal future for all girls and young women. We strongly believe education and early prevention are key to ensuring all girls and young women can live free from violence and achieve their full potential and are committed to empowering our young members to speak out on the issues that affect their lives."

- Third Sector

"We support all priority 1 actions, but they do not go far enough."

- Third Sector

"[Our organisation] is broadly supportive of all actions identified within priority 1. [Our organisation] welcomes the Scottish Government's commitment to raising awareness and changing attitudes to both gender based violence and the promotion of equality for women and girls.

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

Raising awareness and changing attitudes

The most widely supported action under raising awareness and changing attitudes was "Support initiatives to raise awareness amongst the wider population of violence against women and girls, including what causes it and how to challenge it". Respondents acknowledged that raising awareness of and challenging attitudes to violence against women was vital to tackle it.

"Whilst there are a number of reasons for this violence to occur, all of these stem back to fundamental and deep rooted gender inequalities. Reconstructing the way this should be tackled is clearly at the heart of the Equally Safe programme. Women are supportive of the holistic approach being undertaken in Scotland around VAWG."

- Third Sector

The Mentors in Violence Prevention Programme was also supported by respondents. There were comments that this should be rolled our further and expanded upon, although some respondents also commented on other programmes with similar aims, which should also be supported (see Q3 for more details).

"The Mentors in Violence Prevention Programme is a particularly important project to help young people understand what a healthy relationship looks like and how to challenge abusive behaviour. This programme could be further developed and rolled out in more settings."

- Third Sector

Only a few respondents specifically said that they were particularly supportive of engagement with the newly established Advisory council on women and girls.

"We applaud the creation of the Advisory Council on women and girls and would appreciate an opportunity to contribute directly to its work."

- Third Sector

Childhood

"Work with the education system and key stakeholders to develop a holistic approach towards addressing gender stereotypes and norms in schools and education settings" was the most supported of the childhood actions. Respondents felt that it was important that gender stereotypes were addressed early in life and recognised the key role of schools in supporting this.

"We believe schools have an essential role to play in championing equality and ensuring young people are informed on issues including gender equality, sexism, sexual harassment, consent, and healthy relationships."

- Third Sector

"Women have emphasised the need to change gendered attitudes from early on in life. Not only will this strengthened approach allow both young men and women to understand VAWG, it will also change societal assumptions concerning what is held to be permitted."

- Third Sector

"We welcome renewed focus on tackling gender stereotypes and norms, as these can have dangerous consequences for children and young people, and also for female staff, who are underrepresented in senior management posts in education. In the 'Get it Right for Girls' report we encourage a whole-school approach to addressing these issues, so the proposal to develop a holistic approach aligns with our recommendation."

- Representative Body for Professionals/Trade Union

The action to "publish a refreshed approach to addressing bullying in schools, including bullying based on sexism and gender" also received support from respondents. Some highlighted that pupils with certain protected characteristics, such as those who are from Black and Minority Ethnic ( BME) communities, or who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender ( LGBT) might be more likely to experience bullying than other pupils, and that a new approach to bullying should take these intersections into account.

Respondents were also supportive of the action to work with Further and Higher Education Institutions. It was suggested that this was a sector that had previously been "neglected" when addressing violence against women. It was suggested that FE and HE Institutions should have firm plans in place for what actions to take if a complaint of violence against women is made. There was also a suggestion that FE and HE Institutions have a dual role, both in terms of safeguarding their students from VAW and also as the educators of future professionals in the fields of health, social work, and law etc. and therefore thought should be given to what is taught about violence against women in those courses. There was support for Strathclyde's Equally Safe in Higher Education ( ESHE) Project.

Those who supported a Skills Investment Plan ( SIP) for the early learning and childcare sector did so because they felt that attitudes are shaped at an early age and therefore it was important to support staff in this sector.

"Attitudes to gender stereotypes begin to form at an early age. Developing skills within the early years workforce to help tackle this issue is therefore welcomed."

- Third Sector

Those who were supportive of "providing more support for teachers on equality issues" felt that teachers have an important role to play in delivering education around equality, and also in dealing with any gender-based bullying or harassment that might occur within a school setting, and it was important that pupils feel able to report such incidents to staff. A teaching union cited results from one of their member's surveys around equalities training, and barriers to accessing it, and called on Local Authorities to provide support to enable teachers to participate in this type of training.

"We welcome further support and training for teachers on equality issues and believe this must focus an increasing understanding of unacceptable behaviour and how this can be addressed."

- Third Sector

"We are strongly supportive of the proposal to provide more support for teachers on equality issues. An EIS member survey on equalities training for teachers and lecturers, conducted in 2017, told us that 42% of respondents had not had any equalities training during their teaching career; fewer than half of respondents had had training on the Equality Act 2010 (40%); and the most common barrier to accessing training is workload, with 70% of respondents citing this as a barrier."

- Representative Body for Professionals/Trade Union

Other comments around "Childhood" included comments that were generally supportive of tackling gender inequality and attitudes at an early age in educational settings. A number of respondents stressed the need for a co-ordinated approach drawing on the expertise of organisations who have experience of developing prevention programmes. One respondent also stressed the need to work with parents, as they play a key part in shaping their child's attitudes.

"Targeted VAW/gender work at key development stages for children and young people (early years, primary and secondary schools) also makes strategic sense as this will contribute in a tangible way to the long term plan to end VAW."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

"Whilst we also welcome the fact that the delivery plan includes actions on VAWG work within school settings and with education professionals, we feel it is important that a more coordinated, joined up approach is taken when considering how these will be delivered. This should take account of the knowledge and expertise of specialist VAWG services and ensure that both children and teachers are receiving consistent messages about causes, consequences and appropriate responses to VAWG and what constitutes positive, healthy relationships."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

"Clearly, tackling the causes of violence against women and girls is the key to eradicating it. We would like to stress that this awareness raising needs to begin in the early years. The root cause of violence against women is gender inequality, and children begin to develop gender stereotypical perceptions from a very early age, based on what they see and hear all around them. This action must include work with parents (male and female) to support them to raise their children with positive gender beliefs."

- Representative Body for Professionals/Trade Union

Workplace

Some respondents commented that they were generally pleased to see workplaces included in the strategy, although there were also comments that the actions could be strengthened. There were very few comments relating to the specific workplace actions.

"Workplaces are also a key area for unhelpful and damaging views about VAW to be expressed. We welcome the focus on workplaces as a key area for raising awareness of VAW and promoting prevention."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

"However, the action points on 'workplace' are weak, and do not reflect the Scottish Government's contribution through other Forums, and the ongoing work by other stakeholders, including the trade unions."

- Representative Body for Professionals/Trade Union

"I particularly agree with the point on gathering examples of best practice and developing guidance and incentives for employers. This work should also include the STUC and the CBI in Scotland to ensure strategic drivers for change."

- Third Sector

Priority 1 actions that aren't supported

Q3. Please tell us about any priority 1 actions that you don't agree with

Sixty one respondents answered this question. Twenty-three said that there were none that they disagreed with/they agreed with them all. Table A2 in Annex 1, shows the actions and areas that respondents disagreed with, and the numbers of comments given.

Raising awareness and changing attitudes

The most disagreed with action was the "Mentors in Violence Prevention Programme'. On the whole respondents were supportive of the aims of the Mentors in Violence Programme, however they felt that there was a need to look at other similar programmes, especially ones which had been evaluated and shown to be effective. They questioned why Mentors in Violence Prevention had been specifically singled out over and above these other programmes. One respondent felt that the scope of Mentors in Violence (focusing on boys and men) was too limited, and that such interventions should be targeted at all young people.

Other programmes mentioned which respondents felt should be included in this action were:

  • An Education toolkit developed by the University of the West of England which ESHE (Equally Safe in Higher Education at Strathclyde University) intend to pilot.
  • Sexual assault prevention work carried out by Rape Crisis Centres across the country
  • Fathers Network Scotland
  • The ManKind Project
  • Prevention activities by Zero Tolerance
  • Prevention activities by White Ribbon

"We felt that the action around MVP was too narrow and conflated 'what' with 'how'. MVP, although well received in our authority, is not the only model for undertaking prevention work with children and young people in schools and an integrated whole-school approach is needed that draws on the expertise of specialist services. A range of school-based interventions are needed that align with the priorities set out in GIRFEC and Children's Services Plans."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

"We would stress that any investment in programmes designed to change unhealthy masculinity should be based on robust evidence of effectiveness."

- Representative Body for Professionals/Trade Union

"While the MVP programme undertakes important work in raising awareness of VAWG and helping to change attitudes, the National VAW Network believes it is important to note that there is a wide range of prevention activities and resources being delivered across Scotland beyond the MVP programme, including those being developed/ delivered by Rape Crisis, Zero Tolerance and White Ribbon."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

Some respondents were unsure about the value of an Advisory Council on Women and Girls and wondered what impact it would have. It was deemed important that it should include women with a range of protected characteristics, such as BME women or those with a disability from the start, in order to be meaningful.

Childhood

"Other childhood comments" were critical of the lack of partnership working involved in taking these actions forward, believing that the voluntary sector, school boards, education professionals, and Violence Against Women Partnerships should be involved in these in a more joined up way.

There was a comment relating to the action on bullying based on sexism and gender, which felt that the focus needed to be more on attitude, than behaviour.

"Addressing sexism should be the primary focus of Childhood (box 4), not bullying based on sexism; it is about culture and attitude, not just behaviour."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

Workforce

There were two comments relating to the workforce actions, both of which stated the importance of ensuring that any actions were embedded into existing workforce development strategies and competency frameworks, and that it was important that existing strategies were effectively implemented, rather than creating new strategies.

Actions that are missing/should be added to priority 1

Q4. Are there any actions that you think are missing under priority 1? - Do you have any suggestions for additional actions to focus on?

Sixty-one respondents answered this question. Some said that they could not identify any gaps under priority 1. Others identified a range of actions that they thought were missing and suggestions for additional things to be added in under priority 1, as can be seen in table A3 in Annex 1. These ranged from suggested additional actions under each of the priority 1 headings, and additional actions which did not directly fit under those headings, to wider issues, which are discussed in the "recurring themes" section of this report.

Raising awareness and changing attitudes

A number of comments were made around prevention and the action relating to Mentors in Violence Programme ( MVP). As at question 3, a number of respondents highlighted the range of prevention programmes currently on offer in Scotland and felt that these should be acknowledged within the Delivery Plan. MVP alone was not seen as sufficient as a preventative action. Others were supportive of MVP, but highlighted that it is not available in all local authorities, that its inclusion in a school is dependent on the approval of the head teacher, and that they were uncertain of its long term funding. They therefore called for an integrated approach to prevention, which is consistent across Scotland and is adequately funded. Others felt it was important that such programmes were extended to include girls.

"Two objectives of this priority are about healthy and positive relationships, that people enjoy healthy and positive relationships and that children and young people develop an understanding of healthy and positive relationships from an early age. The only action however that seems specifically focussed on these objectives is the action to continue the Mentors in Violence Prevention ( MVP) programme. While we support the inclusion of an action around MVP, we do not believe that this is enough to address the objectives of this priority relating to healthy relationships."

- Third Sector

"Not all schools have MVP, it should be rolled out to all schools and higher education. It also has to be integrated with wider approaches for wider societal change."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

"It is vital that programmes aimed at increasing understanding of positive and healthy relationships and empowering people to challenge abusive or toxic attitudes and behaviours are not simply restricted to boys and men. Girls and young women should also have access to programmes which promote positive and healthy relationship models and should be empowered to challenge problematic attitudes and behaviours. This should include information about the law around consent and sexual violence as well as looking at domestic abuse."

- Third Sector

Some respondents wanted more information about the role of the Advisory Council on Women and Girls, and what its focus would be.

Childhood

It was suggested that this heading be change from "childhood" to "children and young people" or "children and adolescents" "to reflect the inclusion of actions for schools, universities and colleges." -Third Sector

A number of respondents strongly felt that actions relating to Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood Education ( RSHPE) should be included within the Delivery Plan, as this was seen as being essential to achieving the objectives of "People enjoy healthy, positive relationships" and "Children and young people develop an understanding of safe, healthy and positive relationships from an early age". It was suggested that the Equally Safe priorities should be included within the current review of Personal and Social Education ( PSE),and that teaching around this should be consistent across Scotland, and be available to all young people, both boys and girls, and also those with Learning Disabilities. Respondents made suggestions about the type of learning they wanted included in RSHPE, including education about healthy relationships, consent, the variety of forms gender based violence can take (including online and within same sex relationships) parenting, and mental health and wellbeing.

"In particular, we believe consistent high quality personal and social education covering equality, consent, sexual harassment and abuse, online pornography and abuse, and healthy relationships, combined with a zero tolerance approach to sexual harassment and gender bullying will not only reduce the risk of future violence and abuse but tackle the currently unacceptable levels of harassment and gender-based bullying girls report facing at school, college and in other areas of their daily lives."

- Third Sector

"[We] strongly feel that a specific commitment is needed in the Delivery Plan to ensure that all children and young people have access to high quality, age appropriate interventions on healthy, positive relationships and consent. Without this, it is unlikely that the intended objective of "children and young people develop an understanding of safe, healthy and positive relationships from an early age" will be achieved."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

Whilst respondents were generally supportive of the action around bullying, there were a number of suggestions made for how it could be strengthened and improved. It was noted that LGBTI young people are at greater risk of experiencing bullying and therefore the action should refer to this group specifically. It was also noted that much bullying will take place outside of school, and that the action could be amended to take this into account. The potential links between bullying and stalking were also raised. It was suggested that young people should be involved in designing a new approach to bullying and it was suggested that measures would be required at both a national and a local level, and that it was important that the approach taken was consistent across Scotland.

It was suggested that the focus on the early years could be strengthened, given the importance of the early years in a child's development. Some, respondents commented that there was no mention of a "whole schools" approach to equality and gender, and felt that a whole schools approach was required. It was noted that there was no mention of the SG funded National Sexual Violence Programme, which was seen as "odd" as "this is one of the few evidence based approaches being used in Scotland to change young people's knowledge and attitudes to sexual violence and consent." - Third Sector

It was mentioned that a more "trauma-centred" approach should be taken, and that the impact of trauma and adverse childhood experiences should be taken into account within the Delivery Plan

Some respondents felt that there should be more in the plan about the importance of positive male role models for young men.

Some respondents felt that Higher Education institutions should do more to tackle VAW, and wanted more clarity around the action relating to HE/ FE and would like to see more specific and strengthened actions around this in the plan.

"[Our organisation] also welcomes the work with further and higher education institutions. As part of this, we would recommend that, as with employers, there be clear requirements with regard to the actions an institution are obliged to undertake should an allegation of violence be made. These might include immediate steps to protect the safety of the survivor lead by her needs, information on what investigations must be carried out, and critically the steps institutions should take to support the survivor, for instance moving accommodation, counselling and support and support with the survivor's academic commitments."

- Third Sector

"In terms of Higher Education Institutions ( HEI), women have voiced concern over the lack of a role that these play in terms of tackling VAWG...This problem is particularly pressing as the majority of women attending HEI are young and often away from home and family support networks for the first time. Conversely, male students have grown up in an era in which porn culture and sexualisation has become increasingly tolerated."

- Third Sector

In addition, it was felt that more should be said about the role of HE/ FE institutions as trainers of future teachers, social workers etc., and how teaching around VAW and gender equality is incorporated within training.

Workforce

It was noted that the workforce actions needed to be widened out to include the private sector and a wider range of public sector bodies, such as NHS and Local Authorities.

"In terms of workplace activity, it is disappointing that the only organisations referenced are SG and COSLA. Local Authorities and NHS Boards are amongst the largest employers in Scotland so it would seem, sensible to include them as owners of this action."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

"In terms of looking at workplaces it could be interpreted that the delivery plan is only focusing on the public sector. The delivery plan also needs to be clear about the role of private sector employers in challenging sexism in the workplace."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

There were a range of suggestions (mostly given by only one respondent each) about how the workforce actions could be strengthened. These included: clear actions for how an organisation should respond when a claim of sexual harassment in the workplace is made; saying more about what workplaces could do to support previous victims of abuse who are entering the workforce; the development of an "Equally Safe Kite mark" for employers; and using the SG Workplace Equality Fund to support employers "seeking to improve workplace culture and practice, in better supporting women experiencing violence and harassment."

Other

It was suggested that there should be an action relating to the media, and how the media, including social media and advertising portrays women.

"the public's stereotypical attitudes about gender roles are often perpetuated/reinforced by the media and this has to be addressed."

- Representative Body for Professionals/Trade Union

It was also noted that mention of consent was noticeably absent from the priority 1 objectives and actions. It was felt that including consent, and teaching young people about consent was vital to meeting the priority 1 objectives.

"Despite the one of the objectives of this section being that children and young people develop an understanding of safe, healthy and positive relationships from an early age, there is NO reference to work on consent in the related actions. This is a significant omission. There is a need for a high level commitment to all young people having access to interventions on consent and healthy sexual relationships."

- Third Sector


Contact

Email: Bruce Sutherland

Telephone: Central Enquiries Unit, 0300 244 4000