A strategy to prevent and eradicate violence against women and girls is to be expanded and backed by more than £1 million of additional funding the Scottish Government has announced.
The Equally Safe delivery plan includes measures to teach school children the importance of consent and healthy relationships and will see Rape Crisis Scotland’s sexual violence prevention programme rolled out across a further 11 local authorities.
The plan, which contains 118 actions, also includes an ‘Equally Safe’ accreditation scheme which will be developed for employers to promote best practice in tackling gender based violence in the workforce, including sexual harassment.
Equalities Secretary Angela Constance said: “The work carried out by schools is vital if we are to change attitudes and behaviour for the future and the additional funding to expand Rape Crisis’s sexual violence prevention programme is a key part of this.
“It’s also important that there is a focus on the workplace – we know that while there are pockets of good practice, employers can do more to protect their staff from harassment and violence and deliver supportive services to victims of violence. The development of an accreditation scheme will help drive change in this area.”
Sandy Brindley of Rape Crisis Scotland said:
“In the past few years, overall levels of crime in Scotland have gone down, so it should be of concern to us all that sexual crimes – much of which is directed at girls and young women – have continued to rise to record levels.
“Over the past four years we’ve worked with over 36,000 young people, providing space for discussions around consent and healthy relationships to support young people to navigate these situations in their own lives. If we are serious about ending sexual violence and harassment in Scotland then prevention work, especially with young people, is key.”
Councilor Kelly Parry of COSLA, who jointly published the delivery plan with the Scottish Government said:
“COSLA welcomes the publication of this implementation plan and we are particularly encouraged by the preventative nature of many of the actions – including the valuable work to expand Rape Crisis Scotland’s Sexual Violence prevention programme.
“The Equally Safe strategy is the cornerstone of Scotland’s efforts to eradicate violence against women and girls and this delivery plan shows the ambition and commitment of councils and the Scottish Government.”
Equalities Secretary Angela Constance joined pupils and staff at St John Ogilvie High School in Hamilton to mark the publication of the Equally Safe Delivery Plan. St John Ogilvie is the first school to pilot the Whole Schools Approach to preventing gender based violence, delivered by Rape Crisis Scotland (RSC).
The Equally Safe Delivery Plan sets out the actions the government will take between now and 2021 to prevent and eradicate violence against women and girls.
Over 2017 to 2020, the Scottish Government is providing £594,000 to support Rape Crisis Scotland’s Sexual Violence Prevention work and £128,500 to Close the Gap to develop an Equally Safe accreditation scheme for employers. Other funding includes £250,000 for a national campaign on sexual harassment and sexism, £120,000 to develop a sustainable model of capacity building for services in relation to gender based violence and £72,000 to create a coordinator post situated within COSLA to embed Equally Safe at a local level.
RCS has delivered its sexual violence prevention programme to 150 schools and over 36,000 young people. RCS, working in partnership with Zero Tolerance, has developed a pilot project to develop, test, refine and evaluate a Whole School Approach (WSA) to preventing gender based violence and promoting gender equality.
The Equally Safe delivery plan comes ahead of the UN’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and sets out a far reaching agenda that the Scottish Government and its partners will take forward to eradicate violence against women and girls.