Aberdeenshire partners set out plan to tackle Violence Against Women

The partnership is part of a national drive preventing and eradicating violence against women and girls at a local strategic level.
The partnership is part of a national drive preventing and eradicating violence against women and girls at a local strategic level.

Aberdeenshire’s Violence Against Women and Girls Partnership has launched a strategy and action plan shaped by the voice of survivors.

The partnership is part of a national drive, embedding a multi-agency mechanism to deliver on Equally Safe: Scotland’s strategy for preventing and eradicating violence against women and girls, at a local strategic level.

It brings together Aberdeenshire Council, Grampian Women’s Aid, Police Scotland, Rape Crisis Grampian, Aberdeenshire Alcohol and Drugs Partnership, Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership, NHS Grampian, Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA), Scottish Fire Service and Alcohol and Drugs Action.

Partners have listened to those who have experienced abuse and used that insight to shape the new strategy. The partnership’s aim is to improve agency responses to women, children and young people who have experienced abuse.

Equally Safe has four key priorities:

*Scottish society embraces equality and mutual respect and rejects all forms of violence against women and girls.

*Women and girls thrive as equal citizens: socially, culturally, economically and politically.

* Interventions are early and effective, preventing violence and maximising the safety and wellbeing of women, children and young people.

* Men desist from all forms of violence against women and girls and perpetrators of such violence receive a robust and effective response.

Councillor Alison Evison, President of COSLA who plays a key role in the Aberdeenshire Violence Against Women Partnership commented: “Violence against women and girls, in any form, has no place in our vision for a safe, strong, successful Scotland. It damages health and wellbeing, limits freedom and potential, and is a violation of the most fundamental human rights. The Scottish Government, COSLA and key partners are committed to preventing and eradicating it once and for all.”

Colleagues from the organisations involved are working together on a number of actions to support the strategy, including the development of training for the multi-agency workforce, awareness raising of key campaigns and access to support, research and engagement, work with young people and targeted work with perpetrators.

Across Aberdeenshire Council alone, it pulls together colleagues across Housing Services, Children’s Services Social Work, Criminal justice, Adult Protection Services, Community Safety, Education and Mental Health.

Leigh Jolly, interim head of children’s services at Aberdeenshire Council who is also chair of the partnership added: “The idea is that we build on a shared understanding of the causes, risk factors and scale of the problem.

"Violence against women and girls is underpinned by gender inequality, and in order to prevent and eradicate it we are working to deliver greater gender equality, tackle perpetrators, and intervene early and effectively to prevent violence.

“The voice of survivors is vital to getting this right. We are grateful to all those who have bravely shared their story to highlight the issue and ensure lived experience informs every aspect of planning, support and service design.”

Violence against women and girls includes domestic abuse (inc coercive control), sexual assault, sexual harassment, prostitution, pornography, trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation, dowry related violence and harmful practices including female genital mutilation and forced marriage.

Alison Hay, development lead from Grampian Women’s Aid says: “Domestic abuse violates human rights under international law because it denies women their rights including the right not to be treated in an inhuman and degrading way and the right to respect for private and family life (including the right to physical and psychological integrity).

"Domestic abuse and associated forms of violence against women such as rape and sexual violence and forced marriage deny these basic rights in themselves. Partnership working is vital in tackling all forms of violence against women.”

View the new strategy online at: http://bit.ly/VAWPStrategy

For support and advice about any of these issues, please call 999 in an emergency or 101 in a non-emergency. You can also visit:

http://www.aberdeenshirecommunitysafety.org.uk/avawp for contact details of all the agencies available to help you.