On June 25th 2014 the Scottish Government launched its Violence Against Women and Girls strategy without fanfare and with little recognition. This assertion may be entirely as a result of my inability and impatience to spend hours searching the world’s web as thus missing the hullabaloo, alternatively it may be a reflection of the strategy’s societal importance.
Equally Safe comes in a year where much has populated the news within our field. Whilst there is much debate regarding any connection between welfare cuts and austerity to this media recognition and considered increase in incidents, I would contest it’s a safe bet to draw connecting lines.
Where then does the strategy sit in helping us call to task the government and our local authorities in addressing daily, the fall out of domestic abuse? It is a starting point we can book our 40 years working experience to.
Equally Safe sets out 4 key priorities:
1. Scottish society embraces equality and mutual respect, and rejects all forms of violence against women and girls.
2. Women and girls thrive as equal citizens: socially, culturally, economically and politically.
3. Interventions are early and effective, preventing violence and maximising safety and wellbeing of women and girls.
4. Men desist from all forms of violence against women and girls and perpetrators of such violence receive a robust and effective response.
This strategy can be our tool kit and whilst it is perhaps not the sharpest tool-set to work with, we as dedicated staff, as feminists and as an organisation will make it work. Where it is regressive we can drag it to our specialised understanding of domestic abuse complexities.
It is the first strategy of its kind in Scotland (yes you are in 2014) and ‘identifies the need to eliminate systemic gender inequality’, holding the ‘perpetrator firmly to account’. It therefore aspires to apply Evan Starks pivot approach in practice (a simple but gear shifting approach in address of domestic abuse), and commits to address patriarchy………………………… all without a fanfare.
Heather Russell – CEO
For information and a copy of the strategy please click here: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Making-Scotland-Equally-Safe-e2f.aspx
For a fanfare accompaniment please click here: