Support for Elected Members

Violence Against Women is an issue that affects all communities and we want to encourage members to become involved in tackling all forms of violence against women, as well as the attitudes and structures that perpetuate it.

The Improvement Service aims to make sure that elected members and community planning partnerships are up to date with developments and the challenges across Scotland by producing a range of briefings, promoting events, highlighting campaigns and presenting examples where multi-agency partnership working is making a difference in tackling violence against women.

We hope these resources will help to stimulate healthy, positive debate and discussion at a local level.

Current Briefings

Guidance and other resources

Violence Against Women and Girls: Primary Prevention Guidance for Community Planning Partnerships

Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is extremely harmful to women and children. It can cause severe and long-lasting physical and mental health problems, reduced participation in the workforce, substance abuse, and death.

We must be ready to respond to VAWG when it happens, but we should also work to prevent it from happening in the first place by tackling gender inequality, the root cause of this violence.

Community planning partners have a key role to play in this, both within their own organisations and as members of local strategic partnerships.

The Improvement Service and Zero Tolerance, in partnership with the National Violence Against Women Network, have published guidance that supports local community planning partners to develop effective local strategies and activities to promote and embed gender equality and prevent VAWG from ever occurring.

The Violence Against Women team is available to support community planning partners with workshops on developing primary prevention activities at a local level. Please contact the IS Violence Against Women team and Zero Tolerance for more information.

Equally Safe Quality Standards and Performance Framework

The Improvement Service has worked in partnership with the Scottish Government, COSLA and the National VAW Network to develop a set of quality standards and performance indicators for local Violence Against Women Partnerships. They can be used to measure, demonstrate and improve the activities they are undertaking at a local level to address violence against women and girls and the impact this work is having.

Domestic abuse-informed practice and systems: a self-assessment toolkit and evaluation framework

Domestic abuse can be one of the most difficult and complicated issues for social workers in child protection and other family-serving agencies. Without strong domestic abuse-informed policy, practice support and standards of collaboration, these cases will continue to challenge the system, reduce positive outcomes for families and leave workers feeling disconnected from their values as social workers and practitioners.

This Self-Assessment Tool and Evaluation Framework takes a reflective look at key areas of policy and practice from a domestic abuse-informed perspective. It aims to help stakeholders assess whether their organisation is domestic abuse-informed and identify any areas for improvement.

Domestic abuse- and trauma-informed practice: companion document

The Improvement Service, in partnership with COSLA, the Scottish Government, NHS Education for Scotland and the Safe & Together Institute, has published a companion document to support all professionals working with women, children and young people affected by domestic abuse and those working with perpetrators to strengthen awareness and understanding about trauma-informed and domestic abuse-informed practice. The document provides context, key messages and practice-focused reflective questions to support professionals to work in a trauma-informed way that recognises the nature, prevalence and impact of domestic abuse. The document aims to strengthen understanding of how taking a domestic abuse- and trauma-informed approach can support improved outcomes for women, children and young people affected by domestic abuse and can support staff wellbeing and safety.

It is the Scottish Government’s and COSLA’s ambition for Scotland to be a trauma-informed and responsive nation, and for everyone in Scotland’s workforce to receive training and support to understand the key role they have to play in responding to psychological trauma. Trauma is everyone’s business and all members of the Scottish workforce have a role to play in understanding and responding to people affected by trauma. This doesn’t mean that everyone needs to be a trauma expert - we know that different expertise and skills are required to support people’s recovery – but instead that all workers, in the context of their own role and work remit, have a unique and essential trauma-informed role to play in responding to people who are affected by trauma.

In communities across Scotland, women, children and young people experiencing domestic abuse are at increased risk of harm and trauma both while restrictions are in place to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and as we move towards recovery and renewal. We also know that the pandemic has increased the risk of staff experiencing chronic stress, burnout and vicarious trauma, and that the negative impact on practitioners across services and systems supporting families affected by domestic abuse is immense. Given that the risk and intensity of domestic abuse are likely to be heightened for the foreseeable future, it is more vital than ever that systems and services are in place locally and nationally that embed and promote good practice and that practitioners are themselves supported and well in order to support others.

Partner organisations including the Caledonian System, Community Justice Scotland, the National Violence Against Women Network, SafeLives and Scottish Women’s Aid have informed and endorsed this document.

Download an interactive version of the companion document

Masterclass Materials

Presentation: Engaging Men in Tackling Violence Against Women

Webinar: Primary prevention of VAW exploring good practice in employment and the workplace

The Improvement Service and Zero Tolerance are hosting a series of webinars to highlight key themes and good practice from the primary prevention guidance. The first focuses on the links between the primary prevention of VAWG and employment and the workplace.

Joanna McLaughlin - National Violence Against Women Co-ordinator
Samantha Keogh - Project Officer, Violence Against Women