VAWG team update

National standards for victims of rape, sexual assault or child sexual abuse

On 20 December we were pleased to see the publication of national standards which provide health boards with clarity on best practice so that anyone who has experienced rape, sexual assault or child sexual abuse, can receive the same high level of person-centred care. Ensuring a consistency in approach to the quality of forensic medical and healthcare services will also help to improve victims’ wellbeing, reduce the likelihood of further trauma and ensure the timely collection of evidence to support any criminal justice proceedings.

The new HIS standards are backed by £0.25m of government funding in the current financial year. In 2018/19, additional capital funding of £2.0m will be provided to improve facilities for victims of rape and sexual assault, including improving the provision of forensic medical examinations. This demonstrates the Scottish Government’s commitment to supporting health boards to make immediate improvements in the provision of trauma-informed healthcare, which they will be expected to deliver under the new standards.

As set out in the taskforce’s five-year work plan, a key priority is to support health boards to deliver services in person-centred surroundings, including, over time, moving any forensic medical examination facilities from police settings to health and social care settings.

These are important steps towards improving outcomes for people who have experienced rape and sexual assault. If you have any queries about the standards contact

See the
Equally Safe Blog and follow us on twitter @ScotGovEquality.

National VAW network update

Network meetings and more information

VAW organisations interested in the work of the network are invited to join its KHub Group. There is also a monthly network newsletter which highlights new content on the KHub and other network news. More information:


Understanding violence against women: myths and realities

When the University of Strathclyde launched this course in September 2017, it attracted nearly 5,000 global learners. It starts its second run on 5 February.

Enrolment is now open for this free ‘massive open online course’ (MOOC). The six-week course, ‘Understanding violence against women: myths and realities’, is offered through the digital education platform Future Learn. Developed with the help of funding from the Scottish Government, the course is part of its Equally Safe strategy to prevent and eradicate violence against women and girls.

The course aims to raise awareness and prompt discussion on how violence against women might be tackled holistically – for example in communities, through schools, universities and workplaces. It looks at violence against women in its entirety – from physical violence to psychological abuse and coercive behaviour and financial control. While drawing on Scottish policies, it encompasses research and good practice from around the world. Sign up at Future Learn
More information:

Equally safe in further and higher education working group

The Equally Safe delivery plan includes the intention to ‘work with higher and further education institutions to ensure the provision of a safe environment for students and staff through learning and on campus action, learning from existing practice, relevant recommendations for improvement and learning from the University of Strathclyde Equally Safe in Higher Education’ project.’

This project, funded by the Scottish Government, has developed an Equally Safe toolkit. It offers a practical way for universities to look at their own policies and practices, identify where gaps exist, offer practical solutions to tackle ‘lad culture’, look at the reporting of incidents and how to support students whilst keeping them engaged at university. It has the potential to be rolled out across all universities and colleges. The Equally Safe in Further and Higher Education Working Group will meet regularly to keep the work active, including how to use freshers’ weeks to raise awareness and provide information. Group members include the Scottish Government, Universities Scotland, Colleges Scotland, University of Strathclyde, Police Scotland, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, Scottish Funding Council, NUS Scotland, Rape Crisis Scotland, Rape Crisis Glasgow and ASSIST Glasgow. The group will also engage with other stakeholders. Watch this space for updates. Contact:;;

Woman to woman grants

The third round of Rosa’s Woman to Woman fund is now open with a particular interest in funding work that increases women’s representation, skills building and civic engagement.

Grants of up to £25k are available for groups with an income of under £100,000 a year to support charitable work that benefits women: from building confidence and leadership skills, tackling harassment and violence, to training in financial literacy and increasing engagement in decision-making – and more.

Rosa is also interested in increasing the impact and sustainability of women’s groups. So, grants can pay for core costs such as financial management, business planning, staff salaries, office rent, leadership development and staff training; as well as project costs such as drop-in support services, mobilising volunteers and outreach. It especially wants to support groups that work with disadvantaged communities or in disadvantaged areas. As well as grants, Rosa will provide additional support if needed, including mentoring, training and networking opportunities. More information about applying.

Police Scotland update


Police Scotland marked each day of the recent ‘16 days of action’, and reached over one million people, by sharing social media posts about its work with partners to tackle GBV. It also ran its annual domestic abuse campaign over the festive period, in recognition of the 25% increase in reports of domestic abuse between Christmas and New Year. The campaign, centred on cinema, radio and online advertising, focused on perpetrators, and also signposted victims to sources of support. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with the social media element similarly reaching over a million people. Police Scotland thanks partners for publicising both campaigns.

National mobile alarms

Police Scotland is procuring 400 mobile alarms in order to enhance the protection available for high-risk victims of domestic abuse. It has sent information on these directly to main partners. For more information please contact the Police Scotland Domestic Abuse Coordination Unit.

Training for police officers

In advance of the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill being enacted, Police Scotland and the Scottish Government are ensuring that around 14,000 officers and staff receive training on how perpetrators use controlling behaviour in the context of domestic abuse. A tendering process will select a training service provider with a view to training starting in the summer.

Domestic Abuse Coordination Unit: change of leadership

On 5 February, DI Steve Ellis takes over from DI Deborah Barton who is moving to the Professional Standards Department. DI Ellis currently runs the Edinburgh Division Domestic Abuse Investigation Unit. He transferred to Police Scotland from England and Wales, and has significant investigative experience, including of domestic homicides. He will primarily be based at Dalmarnock but will work across Scotland. Police Scotland thanks Deborah for her years of work in helping to professionalise the service approach greatly, and asks partners to welcome DI Ellis.

NUJ safe space

NUJ Scotland has launched a safe space so journalists and members of the public can call out cases of sexism at work and in the media, confidentially and anonymously. Journalists and the public can complete a response at to highlight incidences of sexual harassment and other sexism issues. There’s also a dedicated email address at to report concerns and a Twitter account @stopmediasexism to follow further details of the ongoing #stopmediasexism campaign.

NUJ has launched this anonymous and confidential reporting space as part of the Stronger Voice for Women in the Media project for women to raise concerns about sexism who are freelance, feel they have no one to contact in their workplace, or are uncomfortable doing so for various reasons. All information will be treated in confidence. More information from Fiona Davidson, women’s project worker at or 07775 795084.

#WWW – what women want

Do you want a say in how women are represented in the media and by the media? Why not join a female focus group organised by NUJ Scotland to discuss what women want from the media? Discuss what’s good and what could be better and draw up a wish list to create a media that respects women and girls for their abilities and achievements rather than focusing on their appearances and outfits. Hold a focus group at your workplace or join journalists and other media workers for a more diverse mix at a more neutral venue. Contact women’s project worker Fiona Davidson, or 07775 795084 to arrange a focus group at your workplace or elsewhere.

Highland educational framework on VAW

Highland Council is updating its educational framework on VAW. The framework highlights experience and outcomes relating to equality, gender and violence against women at all levels from early to senior phase with ideas for activities that staff can use. There’s also a resources section, and Highland would be interested to hear about resources recommended by other VAWPs that could be incorporated into the updated framework. In particular, resources addressing issues such as sexualisation and pornography would be gratefully received.

Contact or for more information or to recommend resources.

Glasgow VAWP: training facilitators

GVAWP recently launched good practice guidance for youth workers on GBV, and is now recruiting to train facilitators to support the implementation of the guidelines in local area. The opportunity to train as a facilitator is available to Glasgow staff but the partnership is happy to work with other VAWPs and to share its learning and development processes if there is interest from others. If you are in Glasgow and are interested in the training, or want to know more about the initiative contact: or 0141 276 7711.

Women with learning disabilities: survey closing 2 February

NHS Health Scotland and national partners are committed to enhancing the organisational and practitioner response to women with learning disabilities who experience gender-based violence. They are currently undertaking surveys in the learning disability and violence against women sectors about working with women with learning disabilities who have experienced domestic/sexual abuse. The surveys are aimed at people working directly with service users and those involved in the management and design of services. The surveys should take no longer than 15 minutes to complete:

For organisations/services supporting people with learning disabilities

For organisations/services supporting women who have experienced gender-based violence
More information:

Domestic Abuse Bill briefing

Zero Tolerance has produced a briefing for journalists who are reporting on the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill as it goes through the Scottish Parliament. It was produced in consultation with Scottish Women’s Aid and ASSIST. Download the briefing.

One thousand words

Zero Tolerance and Scottish Women’s Aid have created free stock images to use when talking about domestic abuse, as an alternative to current images which only depict physical violence, and are not representative of the reality of domestic abuse. You can find these on the Zero Tolerance website and at Scottish Women’s Aid.

Write to End Violence Against Women Awards 2017

The fifth annual Write to End Violence Against Women Awards took place on 7 December at the Scottish Parliament, with Monica Lennon MSP as sponsor. Read the winning articles and listen to interviews from the night at ‘On The Engender’, Engender’s feminist policy podcast.

Encompass: Inside Outside

The Inside Outside project of the Encompass Network continues on as follows:  

15 January to end February: Pathfoot Gallery, Stirling University

More information:
Linda Thompson, Women’s Support Project:

Improving the criminal justice response to victims of sexual crime

Scotland’s prosecution service is joining with Rape Crisis Scotland to obtain feedback from victims of sexual crime about their experience of the justice system. A memorandum of understanding has been signed between the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) and RCS. Under the new agreement RCS will share anonymous feedback on victims’ experiences of the criminal justice system and their views of the COPFS service. This information, only provided with the victim’s consent, will be used to identify ways in which COPFS can improve the service provided to victims of sexual crime.

RCS: board recruitment: deadline 22 January

RCS is particularly keen to recruit:  

Young women under 30

Disabled women

Black and minority ethnic women

Women who identify as trans or as having a trans history

Women who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual

Although meetings are in Glasgow some participation could be remote so those from further afield could be involved. Information about applying.

RCS helpline recruitment

RCS is looking for self-identified women to volunteer on the national helpline which supports survivors of sexual violence. Information evening: Wednesday, 7 February 6.30-8.30pm at Blythswood Hall, Renfield Centre, 260 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4JP. To book a place or for more information, contact Mridul Wadhwa: 0141 3314188 or Register to attend on RCS actively encourages disabled, BME, older and trans women to volunteer on the helpline.

Research and resources

SWA blog

Check out the SWA blog for interesting comment and updates. Recent blogs include Solicitor General Alison Di Rollo on prosecuting domestic abuse in Scotland; why survivors need the Istanbul Convention; and ending domestic abuse: are we getting anywhere?

Real women: unheard stories

Shakti Women`s Aid’s publication, ‘Real women: unheard stories’, is an oral history collection, compiled by Anila Mirza. An essential read for anyone who cares about humanity, justice and ending domestic abuse. Order a copy at or on 0131 475 2399. All proceeds from the book go toward helping women with ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ status. Join the Facebook promotion page and help Shakti sell more copies and spread the word.

OSCR guidance

OSCR has released new guidance about trustee annual reports.

Training on VAW

Updated information about resources to support training and public education on violence against women now available on the Women’s Support Project website.

NHS Lanarkshire resources

Hard copy disks of ‘Never too late to tell’, and also for ‘Trauma and the Brain’ are available. Please contact: for training notes and/or a DVD copies: and more info:

SCASE bulletin

The latest issue of the Scottish Coalition Against Sexual Exploitation Bulletin is out. It contains links to articles, reports and resources about sexual exploitation. More on Facebook or SCASE site or email.

Walby, Sylvia and Towers, Jude (2018) ‘Untangling the concept of coercive control: theorizing domestic violent crime’ Criminology & Criminal Justice

The article assesses three approaches to domestic violence: two that use the concept of ‘coercive control’ and one that uses ‘domestic violent crime’. These are: Stark’s concept of coercive control; Johnson’s distinction between situational couple violence and intimate terrorism, in which coercive control is confined to the latter; and that of domestic violent crime, in which all physical violence is conceptualised as coercive and controlling. The article assesses these three approaches on seven issues. It offers original analysis of data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales concerning variations in repetition and seriousness in domestic violent crime. It links escalation in domestic violent crime to variations in the economic resources of the victim. It concludes that the concept of domestic violent crime is preferable to that of coercive control when seeking to explain variations in domestic violence. Available free at:

Books and resources

Check out Engender’s helpful page of books, resources and where to get them.

Training and events

Scottish Women’s Convention: conference on sexual harassment

20 January, Glasgow

Angela Constance MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Equalities, and Kezia Dugdale MSP, as well as comedian Susan Morrison and trade union activist Pauline Rourke, will speak at the event. The event is free and lunch will be provided:

Scottish Women’s Aid learning and development

Domestic abuse as an employment and HR issue: 25 January

Domestic abuse and child contact: 31 January

Understanding the dynamics of domestic abuse: 14 February 

Supporting those affected by forced marriage: 21 February

Centring children’s voices: listening to children experiencing domestic abuse: 16 March

Understanding the dynamics of domestic abuse: 28 MarchSWA learning and development information and booking

Scottish Women’s Convention roadshow

Stirling: 7 February
Kilmarnock:26 April
More information:

Victim Support Scotland training

Training for those who come into contact with victims and witnesses.  

Impact of crime: 5 March 2018

Domestic abuse: 7 March 2018

Victims of sexual crime: 9 March 2018

More information

The social work role in domestic abuse

13 February, Glasgow

Partnership event organised by the Scottish Association of Social Work and Scottish Women’s Aid, with support from Equally Safe in Higher Education at Strathclyde University. Reserve your place at:

Responding safely to young people experiencing domestic abuse

28 February, Glasgow

SafeLives one-day interactive training event for practitioners on how best to respond safely and effectively to young people experiencing (or who have previously experienced) domestic abuse from a partner. Practitioners can expect to develop understanding of the attitudes of young people (late teens) and how to broach the subject of possible domestic abuse in their relationships. The course will run through how to use the risk assessment tool SafeLives Young Person’s Dash. Cost: £95 statutory orgs, £75 voluntary sector. More information and booking

Legal Services Agency training

LSA seminar programme.