Gender Based Violence

Equally Safe, which is the national Scottish Government and COSLA strategy for preventing and eradicating gender based violence against women and girls has, as its definition, the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, 1993, which states that ‘gender based violence is a function of gender inequality, and an abuse of male power and privilege’. This gendered definition specifically highlights the need to ‘understand violence within the context of women’s and girl’s subordinate status in society, and includes women and girls across all protected characteristics defined by equality legislation; age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sexual orientation, and pregnancy and maternity.

Equally Safe: Scotland’s strategy to eradicate violence against women

Gender refers to the range of socially constructed roles, traits, attitudes, behaviours, values, responsibilities, power, status and influence given to males and females, on a differential bases. Cultural expectations can play a major role in defining what we perceive as male and female roles and society’s views of masculinity and femininity.

Equally Safe defines gender based violence as encompassing:

  • 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

This strategy explicitly employs a gendered analysis of gender based violence. However, this analysis is not a denial that men can be victims of most types of violence, including domestic abuse, rape, sexual assault, harassment and childhood sexual abuse. However, statistics clearly demonstrate that women are much more likely to be victims. Police statistics continually show that the proportion of domestic abuse incidents involving a male victim and a female accused sits around I in 5 of all incidents.


Multi-Agency Partnership

Each Local Authority will have a Gender Based Violence (or Violence against Women) Partnerships which will develop a local strategy and action plan on how they will work towards elimination of all forms of gender based violence. It is recognised that no one agency can provide the solution and we need a community wide response so that everyone can challenge every aspect of gender based violence.

You can find copies of the Strategies here:

Stirling Strategy and Action Plan 2020 – 23

Falkirk’s strategy is coming soon. 

Clackmannanshire’s strategy is coming soon. 

Equally Safe at Work

What can we, as Practitioners, do?

Firstly there is an importance in keeping ourselves and colleagues safe. 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.

About Equally Safe at Work

Training and Awareness Raising

Crib Sheet: If you have contact with anyone currently experiencing domestic abuse

Please make sure you take advantage of training and awareness raising events within each of the councils. More information about Public Protection and the Public Protection calendar is available on our page linked below.

Public Protection Learning & Development

Early Education and Prevention

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

Mentors in Violence Prevention Programme

Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood resources

White Ribbon Campaign 

White Ribbon Scotland seeks to end gender-based violence by including men in the solution. The work of the charity seeks to provide information and training sessions on how men can help end violence against women (VAW) within their own organisations and communities. We understand that most men are not violent towards women, but by ignoring those who are, is a large part of the problem.

White Ribbon Status Projects awards organisations/educational institutions/geographical areas with a tangible and intangible award that demonstrates their commitment to end VAW. We also seek trainee speakers, co-ordinators and ambassadors to represent and spread our message.

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, get in touch.

List of Specialist Support Services

Forth Valley Alcohol & Drugs Partnership: Substance Use Support Leaflet

Gender Based Violence: Support in Forth Valley Poster

Domestic Abuse Helplines 

Safer Scotland: National Resources

Equally Safe Falkirk Leaflet

Forth Valley Rape Crisis Centre (

Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC)

All practitioners should be aware of, and attend training on what a MARAC is and know who, within your area, is the MARAC attendee and who can support you in bring a referral forward. So, if you are working with someone who you have concerns may be at serious risk of harm or murder, you need to think about, and talk to someone about a referral to MARAC.

SafeLives’ MARAC Overview

For more information and resources surrounding MARAC, see our page linked below.

Our Domestic Abuse page 

NHS Forth Valley Sexual Assault Response & Coordination Service

As a Practitioner, you should be aware of the Sexual Assault Response & Coordination Service (SARCS) available at The Meadows.

The Meadows brings together a number of services including experienced healthcare staff, specially trained police officers, and other services which provide support for people who have experienced rape and sexual assault and is located a short distance from Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

If a person has been raped or sexually assaulted, they can report it to the police at any time. In an emergency situation dial 999 – non-emergencies dial 101 or visit

However, if a person has been raped or sexually assaulted within the last 7 days and do not want to tell the police or are unsure about telling them now – they can self-refer to a SARCS.

NHS Inform turn to SARCS will provide more information on options available.

There is also a dedicated NHS telephone number 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and speak to a specially trained healthcare professional who can help to arrange the care you might need.

Telephone:  0800 148 88 88. Calls are free from landlines and mobiles.

Perpetrator Programmes

Our Justice Social Work services undertake supervised contact with Perpetrators of GBV and they, or the court, can refer to the Caledonian Project.

SACRO Caledonian Work Programme