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S6W-05840: Alexander Burnett (Aberdeenshire West)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 21 January 2022

To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to run educational sessions for men in order to try and stop violence towards women.

Answered by: Christina McKelvie 2 February 2022

We are clear that there is no place for harassment or abuse of any form, whether in the workplace, schools, in the home, or in society. That is why Equally Safe, Scotland’s strategy to prevent and eradicate violence against women and girls, challenges the notion that violence is inevitable or acceptable and prioritises primary prevention.

Education settings have an important role in preventing violence against women before it occurs through teaching children and young adults about healthy relationships and consent. In August 2021, we launched our ‘Equally Safe at School’ initiative which was developed with Rape Crisis Scotland, Zero Tolerance, and the University of Glasgow. Our Mentors in Violence Prevention peer education programme delivered in schools throughout Scotland seeks to enable young people to recognise and speak up against gender based violence, bullying, abusive and violent behaviour, as well as the negative societal attitudes and assumptions which underpin this behaviour.

Over the next two years, the Delivering Equally Safe Fund will invest £817,350 in the continued delivery of the national sexual violence prevention programme and the implementation of the ESAS whole school approach to preventing GBV. Furthermore, the Delivering Equally Safe funds White Ribbon Scotland £150,000 to maintain and develop projects and events which engage with men and boys to end violence against women, particularly in seeking to prevent violence before it happens.

Additionally, all higher education institutions in Scotland are expected to adopt and adapt the trauma informed Equally Safe in Higher Education Tool Kit and factor a gendered analysis into their approach to this issue. We are taking action to improve gender equality in workplaces and improve the attitudes that create the societal conditions for gender based violence to perpetuate through the employer accreditation programme Equally Safe at Work.

In Autumn 2021, Police Scotland launched the 'That Guy' sexual violence campaign across various forms of social media and TV advertisements which urged men to take responsibility and to address their behaviour as well as challenging those of their peers. The campaign stimulated conversations and turned the narrative away from preventative advice to women, towards focusing on men’s behaviour.

The Scottish Government has committed within the Programme for Government to expand the availability of the Caledonian System and increase our investment to £10 million over the next two years. The innovative and internationally recognised Caledonian System programme provides male perpetrators of domestic abuse with specific rehabilitation services to address and challenge their harmful behaviours.