Gender-based violence

A guide to the Scotland-wide approach to gender-based violence and where victims of violence can get support.

Equally Safe

Equally Safe is the Scottish Government and COSLA strategy for preventing and eradicating gender-based violence against women and girls.

Equally Safe defines gender-based violence as physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family (including children and young people) within the general community or in institutions, including:

  • domestic abuse
  • rape and incest
  • sexual harassment
  • bullying and intimidation in any public or private space, including work
  • commercial sexual exploitation
  • child sexual abuse, including familial sexual abuse
  • child sexual exploitation and online abuse
  • honour based violence including dowry related violence
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced and child marriages, and honour crimes

The approach acknowledges that men can be victims of most types of violence, including domestic abuse, rape, sexual assault, harassment and childhood sexual abuse. However, statistics demonstrate that women are much more likely to be victims. Police statistics show that the proportion of domestic abuse incidents involving a male victim and a female accused is around 1 in 5 of all incidents.

Read Scotland's Equally Safe strategy

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Supplementary National Violence Against Women Guidance

Multi-agency partnership

Each Scottish local authority will have a gender-based violence (or violence against women) partnership which will develop a local strategy and action plan. No single agency can provide the solution. A community-wide response means that everyone can challenge every aspect of gender based violence.

Read Stirling's gender-based violence strategy

Equally Safe at Work

It's import keep ourselves and colleagues safe at their place of work. Every organisation should have a gender-based violence policy and procedure. The first point of call for this is your HR department. Below is a link to the national accreditation scheme around GBV and the workplace.

Visit the Equally Safe at Work website

Early education and prevention

Equally Safe at School takes place through a number of activities:

White Ribbon campaign

White Ribbon Scotland seeks to end gender-based violence by including men in the solution. The charity provides information and training sessions on how men can help end violence against women within their own organisations and communities. It's understood that most men are not violent towards women but ignoring those who are is a large part of the problem.

White Ribbon awards organisations, educational institutions and geographical areas with a tangible and intangible award that demonstrates their commitment to end violence against women. They also seek trainee speakers, co-ordinators and ambassadors to represent and spread our message.

Visit the White Ribbon Scotland website

Community bystander approach

We want to link in with communities to raise awareness of gender-based violence and to learn how to safely challenge all behaviours which can allow gender-based violence to perpetuate.

If you would like someone to come and speak to a community please get in touch with one of the specialist services through these links.

NHS specialist sexual health and rape services

The Meadows Sexual Assault Response Coordination Service is for anyone who has experienced sexual assault or rape. Referrals are through the police, but individuals can self-refer into the clinic. The clinic is a warm, comfortable bungalow with support on hand.

NHS Forth Valley – The Meadows

Perpetrator programmes

Stirling Council's Justice Social Work Service undertakes supervised contact with perpetrators of gender-based violence and they, or the court, can refer to the Caledonian project.

SACRO Caledonian work programme

16 Days of Activism

16 Days of Activism is an international campaign against gender-based violence.

Every year, from 25 November to 10 December, 16 Days of Activism events are held across the world to:

  • call for an end to gender-based violence
  • highlight the support and resources that are available to women and girls who experience violence

You can find out about this year’s events in Clackmannanshire, Falkirk and Stirling by reading the 16 Days Forth Valley programme.