Women’s inequality is both a cause and consequence of violence against women, and therefore eradicating violence against women in Scotland will require us to tackle entrenched gender inequalities.
In the last twenty years of devolution, we have seen representatives from the violence against women movements making change happen in the Parliament, in Scottish Government, and in our public bodies. We have seen decision-makers who share our values, and our sense of outrage that so many women have their space for action reduced by men’s violence, advocating hard for violence against women prevention and services. But yet we still see endemic levels of violence against women in Scotland.
Equally Safe, Scotland’s violence against women strategy, entrenches a feminist analysis of men’s violence. It is one of few such strategies around the world to link women’s equality and violence against women, and along with Scotland's Domestic Abuse Act, has rightly been hailed as world-leading for its boldness of analysis. That boldness must now be matched with boldness of action, and that's one of the reasons we are so pleased to be undertaking this key research around primary prevention.
One of the critical gaps evident to Engender, and other organisations working on violence against women, has been the lack of clarity on how primary prevention should feature in policy development and how that should then manifest in programme and service design and delivery. Policymakers and public bodies developing and delivering programmes have seemed uncertain about how to move beyond the principle of primary prevention to operationalise it in their work.
For example, housing strategy developed by Scottish Government in recent years does not include any action on commercial sexual exploitation, despite homelessness being a driver of this gendered form of exploitation. Similarly, neither employability programmes nor social security entitlements adequately meet the needs of women victim-survivors of domestic abuse, despite our understanding that women’s experience of poverty and financial insecurity can be exploited by perpetrators to continue or begin coercive control.
This project will involve working with a consultant to undertake primary research with women with lived experience of men's violence, as well as hiring a staff member in 2022 to identify and analyse policies that enable men's violence. We'll be working closely with Scottish Women's Aid and Rape Crisis Scotland, and are excited to work together to translate primary prevention from a worthy ambition into meaningful and specific change in non-justice policy domains.
Delivering Equally Safe - how can we prevent violence against women? Engender have been awarded funding from the Delivering Equally Safe fund of the Scottish Government, for work on primary prevention of violence against women. In this blog, we explain why this is so vital, and how those interested can complete our Invitation to Tender. Women’s inequality is both a cause and consequence of violence against women, and therefore eradicating violence against women in Scotland will require us to tackle entrenched gender inequalities.
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