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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 4: Men desist from all forms of violence against women and girls and perpetrators of such violence receive a robust and effective response

100 page PDF

838.6kB

Priority 4: Men desist from all forms of violence against women and girls and perpetrators of such violence receive a robust and effective response

Priority 4: Men desist from all forms of violence against women and girls and perpetrators of such violence receive a robust and effective response

Objectives

- Justice responses are robust, swift, consistent and coordinated

- Men who carry out violence against women and girls are identified early and held to account by the criminal and civil justice system.

- Relevant links are made between the experience of women, children and young people in the criminal and civil system

Contributing workstreams: Justice

Priority 4 listed 7 actions, under the heading of "Tackling Perpetrators".

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.

Q13. Do you agree or disagree that the actions listed under priority 4 are the right actions to help meet the objectives of priority 4?

Sixty-two respondents answered this question. Over half (58%) agreed that these were the right actions, 16% disagreed and around a quarter (26%) neither agreed nor disagreed (see table 5 below).

Table 5: Q13. Do you agree or disagree that the actions listed under priority 4 are the right actions to help meet the objectives of priority 4?

  % No.
Agree 58% 36
Disagree 16% 10
Neither Agree nor Disagree 26% 16
  N = 62

Support for Priority 4 Actions

Q14. Please tell us about any of the priority 4 actions that you are particularly supportive of.

Table A10 in Annex 1 lists all of the priority 4 actions, and shows how many respondents said that they were particularly supportive of those actions..

Fifty-three respondents provided an answer to this question. Of those, 17 respondents stated that they were supportive off all the priority 4 actions listed.

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

  • Continue to look at perpetrator programmes and consider where further efforts are required to identify and tackle behaviour with a view to rehabilitation and change (13)
  • Review training provided for all professionals within the Justice System to ensure that there is an understanding of the new offence for those investigating domestic abuse cases including trauma informed practice for all people who work with women and children (12)
  • Introduce a Domestic Abuse Bill to Parliament which seeks to criminalise coercive control (11)

Tackling Perpetrators

The action that was most widely supported was the action to "continue to look at perpetrator programmes and consider where further efforts are required to identify and tackle behaviour with a view to rehabilitation and change". However, amongst those that supported this action, a number felt that the action needed to be strengthened and go further. In particular it was noted that provision of such programmes was inconsistent across Scotland and that there was a need for earlier intervention through voluntary programmes, rather than only on court-mandated ones.

"Although it is important to consider the most effective approaches to working with perpetrators - the action 'continue to look at perpetrator programmes' needs to be much stronger with a clear commitment to how the Government would support local areas to introduce and embed such programmes. At the moment we still have a situation where in some areas there are no programmes for working with perpetrators - and more generally there are very few (if any) programmes that are not linked to the criminal justice process, that engage with and challenge perpetrator at an early stage ( e.g. voluntary programmes)."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

There was also support for the actions to "introduce a Domestic Abuse Bill to Parliament which seeks to criminalise coercive control", to "commence the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act" and to "review training provided for all professionals within the Justice System to ensure that there is an understanding of the new offence for those investigating domestic abuse cases including trauma informed practice for all people who work with women and children".

The criminalisation of coercive control was seen as positive.

"[We] welcome the introduction of the Domestic Abuse Bill as an opportunity to bridge the gulf between women's experiences of domestic abuse and coercive control and the tools the Scottish Criminal Justice System has to deal with it."

- Third Sector

An additional comment was made that women needed to be protected from coercive control committed by anyone in their household, e.g. in cases where women live within a wider family unit coercive control might be perpetrated by other family members, such as parents-in-law.

It was felt that training professionals involved with it, was required to ensure the success of the implementation of the Domestic Abuse Bill. The trauma informed approach was also praised by some respondents.

"The success of the new offence will be determined by how it is implemented and interpreted. Training is crucial in equipping police, prosecutors and the judiciary with the necessary knowledge of how coercive control manifests, particularly in relation to diverse identities e.g. LGBT people."

- Third Sector

There was also support for the action "work with the Scottish Civil Justice Council on case management in family actions, including in relation to child welfare hearings - recognising that these types of hearings and contact cases require careful consideration to ensure that victims of domestic abuse are protected from further abuse". It was felt that within this action, it was essential that a children's rights approach was taken and that the child's voice was heard. It was also noted that this should link with Safe and Together principles.

"We welcome the intention to work with the Scottish Civic Justice Council [sic] on case management in family action. It is noted that careful consideration is required to ensure victims are protected from further abuse, and as part of this we would strongly suggest that all children and young people who are involved are aware of their rights and that their rights are respected throughout such cases as part of this protection."

- Third Sector

There was support for the action "Encourage victims of gender based violence to report it to the Police". Although it was noted that women might need to support to identify and be aware that what they are experiencing is violence, e.g. in cases of coercive control, and that certain groups, such as those with learning disabilities or who are LGBTI might face additional barriers to reporting, and be unable or unwilling to report violence. It was also felt that there should be an exploration of alternative ways of reporting violence, e.g. the use of third party reporting, as used in reporting hate crime, or reporting through other services such as health services, which might feel safe for women.

"[Our] members noted that women who are victims of abuse sometimes also require support to understand and recognise abusive behaviours (particularly non-physical abuse and coercive control)."

- Third Sector

"[Our organisation] agrees that victims of gender based violence should be encouraged to report to the police. [Our organisation] sees a potential role for Third Party Reporting Centres in this. However, [our] (2017) 'Hate Crime and Third Party Reporting Centres: A mapping and scoping exercise' highlighted that there were low levels of activity from Third Party Reporting Centres and low levels of public knowledge regarding, what Third Party Reporting ( TPR) is, and their function. Although TPRC's could possibly play a role in supporting victims of domestic violence or abuse to report, the challenges in reporting through these mechanisms would need to be addressed."

- Third Sector

"We welcome the goal of encouraging victims to report violence to the police. We would like to know what engagement, if any, would take place with partners working in communities and in local health services which may offer alternative means of supporting victims to disclose their experiences in a safe environment. A public health approach, with a focus on prevention, in collaboration with victim support and crime reduction, could offer a new means of identifying perpetrators of violence."

- Third Sector

Priority 4 actions that aren't supported

Q15. Please tell us about any priority 4 actions that you don't agree with.

Thirty-six respondents answered this question. Of those 21 respondents said that there were none that they disagreed with/that they agreed with them all.

There were very few actions under priority 4 that respondents disagreed with (see table A11 in Annex 1) . Where there was disagreement it was most commonly expressed as a feeling that actions needed to be clearer, go further, be more strongly worded or required more details on how they will be achieved, as opposed to actually disagreeing with the intention of the action.

There was some disagreement around the action to "encourage victims of gender based violence to report it to the Police", as this was linked to a "domestic abuse communications plan". Whilst respondents were generally supportive of the principle of encouraging women to report violence, it was felt that this action needed to be wider than reporting domestic abuse and extend to other forms of violence against women and gender based violence.

"While we are supportive of the action to 'encourage victims of gender based violence to report it to the Police' we are unclear how this will be achieved by a communication plan focused on the DA bill. We suggest the plan needs to expand beyond domestic abuse to ensure that all forms of VAWG are recognised when aiming to encourage survivors to disclose."

- Third Sector

There were also some suggestions that this action should be reworded, from "encouraging victims to report" to make it about reducing barriers to reporting, and another suggestion to change it from "encouraging" to "supporting" women to report violence, as it was emphasised that it needs to be the woman's choice to report violence when she is ready and able to do so.

"While we recognise and support the need to encourage victims of gender-based violence to report it to the Police, the wording of the first action could be improved reflect the need to identify, understand and mitigate the barriers which some victims face when reporting acts of GBV thus removing the onus from the victim, which the action in its current form implies."

- Third Sector

"The wording in the first action feels as though it is urging agencies to facilitate reporting. [We] would like to see this action use alternative terminology such as 'support victims of GBV to report it to the police when they choose to do so' . [We] wish for all individuals affected by GBV to have full information available to them in relation to reporting and the process of the Justice system. We fully support activities which offer survivors improved experiences of the reporting process. However, we do not feel that 'encouraging' is the correct terminology in this instance. It is crucial that reporting remains the survivor's choice entirely."

- Third Sector

As with other priorities, there was a request for more details and clarity and for certain actions to go further. These included:

  • More detail need on the action "Continue to look at perpetrator programmes"
  • More clarity around how victims of gender based violence will be encouraged to report it to the police
  • More clarity around what is meant by "trauma informed practice"

"[We] agree with the objectives however we feel that the actions are limited in scope and consequentially impact;"

- Third Sector

"[Our organisation] welcomes actions aimed at ensuring men desist from all forms of violence against women and girls and perpetrators of such violence receive a robust and effective response, but we believe that overall in this section there are too few actions; those stated require strengthening; and whilst not wishing for the actions focused on the response to perpetrators to be reduced, there is a need for more actions to ensure all men desist from all forms of violence."

- Third Sector

Actions that are missing/should be added to priority 4

Q16. Are there any actions that you think are missing under priority 4?

Fifty-nine respondents answered this question. Some said that they could not identify any gaps under priority 4. Others identified a range of actions that they thought were missing and suggestions for additional things to be added in under priority 4, as can be seen in table A12 in Annex 1. Some of the gaps related to identified actions, but where respondents felt that these actions could go further or that more clarity was required around them.

Tackling Perpetrators suggestions

A number of respondents felt that there were gaps around the action to "continue to look at perpetrator programmes". It was suggested that there was a need for such programmes to be extended beyond those that are court mandated, allowing for an early intervention approach, before perpetrators are "high risk" and their actions have become ingrained. It was also felt that there is a need to increase provision of and funding for perpetrator programmes, so that there are enough of them to meet demand across Scotland. Some respondents specifically mentioned the "Caledonian system" and that it is not currently available in all local authorities. Some felt that the action needed more detail, and there were suggestions that there should be a review of current provision and that there should be indicators relating to this action - "( e.g. do we have sufficient availability of programmes? Are waiting times reasonable?)" - Third Sector

"There is a need to ensure that effective perpetrator programmes are put in place (and resourced) that engage with the people they need to. In particular, there is a need to ensure that non-court mandated perpetrator interventions are in place to ensure that people don't need to be 'high risk' perpetrators before we begin to engage with them and change their behaviours. At that stage it is often too late and considerable harm has already been caused. Additionally, these programmes are only accessible to a tiny group of people, with the vast majority falling through the cracks."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

"An affordable national programme is required to avoid the current postcode lottery of access to interventions."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

Some respondents had suggestions for things they would like to see included in such programmes: e.g. reducing the demand for buying sex; use of pornography; education about equality and rights of women and children, and alternative ways of communicating without violence. It was also queried whether the perpetrator programmes were specifically about domestic abuse or if they were wider and would cover issues, such as child abuse, FGM, rent for sex & sexual exploitation issues.

There were also suggestions that programmes needed to targeted in a way that made them accessible to certain specific groups who may be perpetrators, including: children and young people; women; perpetrators who may themselves have been victims and/or have complex additional needs, such as mental health issues or substance misuse issues; BME men, LGBT people, where violence occurs within a same sex partnership; and people with learning disabilities.

"In terms of interventions with perpetrators of other forms of gender based violence, we note that children and young people can also be perpetrators of child sexual abuse, and that these children require specialist responses."

- Third Sector

"We would suggest a greater emphasis on children and young people is required in this section, for example considering whether young men would benefit more from specific, targeted programmes rather than those more generally available... A 'one size fits all' approach is unlikely to succeed here, which is why many third sector services are able to meet the individual needs more effectively."

- Third Sector

"While [our organisation] fully understands the particular need to protect women and girls from male violence, in only focusing on men as perpetrators we are concerned that there is a risk of obscuring equally harmful violence against women and girls that is enacted by other women By only and repeatedly referring to men as perpetrators of violence against women, the strategy becomes overwhelmingly heteronormative and does not seek to represent and protect the interests of women who may be victims of violence within same sex relationships."

- Representative Body for Professionals/Trade Union

It was felt that the training for professionals around the new offence of domestic abuse, needed to wider than the Domestic Abuse Bill. It was also felt that specific training around the effects of domestic abuse on children and young people was required, and that children's services should receive this as well as justice professionals.

"We welcome the commitment to provide training for professionals working within the Justice System, but believe the focus of this training should be extended to increasing their understanding of all forms of VAWG rather than only domestic abuse."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

"We would also note the importance in relation to this action of justice professionals understanding that children experience domestic abuse with the non-abusing parent and that this should be a crucial element for training for justice professionals."

- Third Sector

It was felt that more was required within the Delivery Plan about the early identification of and early intervention with perpetrators.

It was felt that a specific children and young people approach, prioritising the rights of the child was required in relation to the action around case management in family actions, including in relation to child welfare hearings.

In relation to the action around encouraging victims of gender based violence to report it to the police, it was suggested that more needed to be done to build women's confidence in the police, to ensure that the police will respond appropriately and take appropriate action, including keeping women informed about what is happening and explaining the reasons why action is or isn't being taken.

Other suggestions

A number of additional actions were suggested relating to the justice/courts/prison system. These included suggestions that training was required for juries involved in domestic abuse or violence against women cases; integration between civil and criminal processes where domestic abuse is a factor; survivors of violence being provided with reliable and up-to date information about the justice process; identifying perpetrators of violence against women at an earlier stage, e.g. by all perpetrators going through a screening process to identify any signs of VAWG behaviour, that this information is shared with relevant professionals and the offender then receives appropriate interventions; a review of sentencing and impact on prison programmes / parole conditions; and work within the prison system, including taking a holistic approach.

Again the need for early education to tackle attitudes and violence against women was mentioned, along with a zero-tolerance approach to gender-based bullying from a young age.

There were suggestions that more support was required for young people affected by domestic abuse and violence against women. Again the need for strong multi-agency interventions to tackle violence against women was mentioned. It was suggested that the priority 4 actions could be linked with policies in the workplace, around workplace culture and disciplinary proceedings, so that there were responses available at levels other than the criminal justice level.


Contact

Email: Bruce Sutherland

Telephone: Central Enquiries Unit, 0300 244 4000