It is unacceptable that in the second decade of the 21st century, there is still so much to do to tackle violence against women and girls. We remain committed to eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls.
We have introduced Equally Safe, our strategy to combat all forms of violence against women and girls. We will establish a new multi-year £100 million funding stream over the next three years to support frontline services and focus on prevention of violence against women and girls from school onwards.
We will ring fence part of these funds for frontline support services, to add to those provided by local authorities, so that no survivor of abuse or violence is forced to wait to get the help they need, at the time they need it, in their local area.
We will invest a further £5 million this year to support frontline organisations to deal with outstanding demand that has built up during the pandemic.
We will ensure access for all young people to evidence-based prevention education on consent and healthy relationships and fund work in our schools, colleges and universities.
We will also increase the work undertaken to change attitudes of offenders, for example by ensuring that the Caledonian Project is available nationwide.
To help women and girls be safe on the streets we will work with stakeholders on how to better educate men about the impact of their behaviour. We will explore ways to improve the design of communities, such as Space Safety Audits, to make women not just feel safer, but be safer.
Protecting the anonymity of all people who report sexual crimes is of critical importance and we believe this protection must be strengthened in Scotland. We will enshrine the right to lifelong anonymity for complainers of sexual crimes in Scots law and consider where we have to go further, including giving serious consideration to the recommendations from Lady Dorrian’s review to deliver a justice system that survivors of sexual crimes can have confidence in.
We have set up a Working Group on Misogyny and Criminal Justice to independently consider how the Scottish criminal justice system can better deal with misogyny, and if the group recommends a stand-alone criminal offence of misogynistic harassment we will act swiftly on its advice.
We took forward Scotland’s first national consultation on prostitution. We will develop a model for Scotland to tackle this form of violence against women and girls, and consider how aspects of international approaches which seek to challenge men’s demand for prostitution would best be applied in Scotland. In addition to a focus on challenging men’s attitudes towards the purchase of sex, we will engage with those with direct or lived experience to shape services and design measures which will protect them from harm and provide the support they need, including helping them exit prostitution.