Support the Statement of Intent 2007

October 26, 2007

The Women’s Coalition – The Zero Tolerance Charitable Trust, Scottish Women’s Aid, Rape Crisis Scotland, Engender and The Women’s Support Project – is gathering support for the Statement of Intent 2007 and invites you to put pressure on your MSP to become a signatory.

As the new administration finds its feet, now is the time to ensure that the issue of violence against women is not sidelined. The Coalition is greatly encouraged by the First Minister’s recent announcement to continue work to bring in new legislation that will address the low percentage of rape convictions in Scotland. However, many more change sstill need to take place so that we can progress towards a new Scotland where women and children can live free from fear.

Frontline services such as Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis groups (historically over-stretched and under-funded) have benefited from national funding streams such as the Violence Against Women Fund and the Rape Crisis Specific Fund. These funds have significantly expanded the services available to women and children across Scotland. It is vital that this work continues if we are to achieve the goal of ultimately ending violence against women.

White Ribbon Scotland supports the statement; you can also make a difference as an individual. By asking your MSP to support the Statement of Intent 2007 your will be asking the new Scottish Government: –

• For the continued provision of funding to violence against women projects to ensure the continuation of essential service provision to women and children experiencing violence.

• For the continued development of strategic work on violence against women, guided by the multi-agency National Group on Violence Against Women and enabled by the Violence Against Women Team within the Equality Unit at the Scottish Government.

• To commit to changing public attitudes and behaviours through education initiatives and public awareness campaigns.

• For the adoption of a broad definition of violence against women, which makes the links between domestic abuse, rape and commercial sexual exploitation.

• To Ensure effective legal protection for women and children experiencing violence.

You can find out more from Zero Tolerance, including links to the E-Petition, and also join the Facebook Group!

Find out who your local MSP is from the Scottish Parliament site – get lobbying!

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Scottish government commits to reform the law on rape

September 9, 2007

Excellent news – via Rape Crisis Scotland news with permission

On Wednesday 5th September 2007, the First Minister gave a commitment to prioritise reform of the law on rape, following on from the Scottish Law Commission’s review. In his speech, “Principles and Priorities: Programme for Government”, Mr Salmond says:

“In the area of criminal law, we’ll introduce our Rape and Sexual Offences Bill – to reform the law on rape and sexual offences in light of the Scottish Law Commission’s review.

Presiding Officer, if any member was ever in doubt about the need for action in this area, the figures published yesterday will have made the position clear.

At the same time as a 10% rise in sexual assaults, clear up rates for rape and indecent assault fell to 67% and 59% respectively.

Part of that is due to a lack of confidence from victims that the legal process will secure a conviction and it is therefore right that this Government and this Parliament acts.”

In response to questioning from Margaret Curran MSP, the First Minister also confirmed that he would match the previous administration’s record £3m funding for rape crisis services in Scotland. Mr Salmond further confirmed that he would reform the law in Scotland relating to the admission of sexual history evidence.