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28/03/15 15:55

Support for victims of violence

£20m additional funding to tackle abuse against women and girls.

An additional £20 million will be invested in a range of measures to tackle all forms of violence against women and girls in Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

The First Minister confirmed that the funding would be put in place over the next three years to better support victims of violence and sexual assault by:

• Increasing court capacity to reduce delays, inconvenience and stress for victims and their families.

• Widening access to specialist advocacy and support services for the victims of crime, including domestic abuse and sexual offences.

• Expanding access to specialist legal advice to victims of rape and other sexual offences.

• Exploring an expansion to innovative initiatives such as the Caledonian System, which work with men convicted of domestic abuse related offences to address the underlying causes of their behaviour and further protect women.

• Improving education and information resources to help increase public understanding of these crimes and reinforce a zero-tolerance approach to domestic abuse and sexual crimes.

The funding announced today is in addition to the £11.8 million to tackle violence against women announced last week as part of the Scottish Government’s equality budget for 2015-16. It also comes days after the First Minister launched a consultation on proposals for a specific domestic abuse offence that would reflect fully the devastating experience of the victims and enforce a zero-tolerance approach on the perpetrators.

The First Minister said:

“Domestic abuse is a crime that affects 1 in 6 women in our society.

“Earlier this week, I announced plans to strengthen the law against domestic abuse. Subject to consultation, we will introduce legislation this year. But changing the law is not enough. We need to do more.

“That is why I am announcing today new funding of £20 million over the next three years to step up our work to tackle violence against women.

“We will invest that money in measures to speed up the court process, give more support to victims, and expand schemes to help offenders change their behaviour and reduce reoffending.”

Notes to editors

Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil announced the breakdown of the Scottish Government’s equality budget of £20.3m last week. He confirmed that this included funding of £11.8m to tackle violence against women.

Further information is here - http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Equality-Budget-announced-for-2015-16-1780.aspx

At the Scottish Women’s Aid conference in Edinburgh on Thursday, the First Minister launched a consultation seek views on how legislation can be used to better support victims of domestic abuse and sexual offences.

The consultation will look at five key areas, among them would be whether a specific offence of Domestic Abuse is required and if legislation to tackle the problem of so-called “revenge porn” – the posting, usually by ex-partners, of private, intimate images without consent is needed to provide further protection.

Further information is here - http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Tackling-violence-against-women-17dd.aspx