GBV Programme

International context

Addressing gender based violence is an international concern highlighted by the United Nations, World Health Organisation and the European Union.

According to the UN Secretary-General’s 2006 In-Depth Study on All Forms of Violence against Women:

  • 89 countries had some legislation on domestic violence, and a growing number of countries had instituted national plans of action.
  • 104 states recognised marital rape as prosecutable offence
  • 90 countries had laws on sexual harassment

However, gaps remain in too many countries:

  • 102 countries had no specific legal provisions against domestic violence
  • 53 nations did not recognise marital rape as a prosecutable offence

Scottish Government strategy

The Scottish Government provides strategic direction and leadership on tackling GBV.  The current framework for addressing this abuse is Safer Lives, Changed Lives.  The framework recognises that while male on male violence is the most common form of general public violence, there are a number of crimes, acts of violence and abusive behaviours that are perpetrated mostly by men and affect women and children disproportionately.  Included in these are domestic abuse, rape and honour crimes, all of which have their roots in the inequality between men and women in society.

Violence against women is not only a consequence of gender inequality, it also perpetuates it.  Tackling violence against women is therefore a prerequisite to reducing inequality between women and men in Scotland.

Read Integration and Inspiration: Final Report of the Gender-Based Violence and Health Programme in Scotland, 2008-2011

Gender based violence and health programme

In 2008, the Scottish Government’s Directorate of Healthcare Policy & Strategy issued a Chief Executive’s Letter (CEL) on Gender-Based Violence.  The letter detailed a programme to address the health consequences of gender-based violence and outlined the responsibility of all health boards to produce and implement a plan to specify how they will achieve the four key deliverables of the programme:

  • Introduction of routine enquiry of abuse in mental health, maternity, addictions, sexual & reproductive health, A&E and primary care settings
  • Dissemination of guidance on gender-based violence to staff
  • Production of an employee policy for staff with experience of abuse, and staff who are perpetrators of abuse
  • Multi-agency responses to abuse, with a particular focus on homelessness and child protection

The Scottish Government updated health board chief executives on the progress of the GBV programme in January 2012.  Brief details are given below and twin aims for the future focus on consolidating progress to date and to complete the further areas of work of the 2008 chief executive letter.

NHS Health Scotland have now assumed more direct responsibility for providing leadership on the GBV and health agenda and will work with the Scottish Government to support health boards in continuing to roll out the GBV programme.

Phase 1 progress

  • Routine enquiry of abuse in the 6 key priority settings has been introduced by some health boards.
  • Over 3000 staff completed the national training programme.
  • Guidance and resources developed to assist staff.
  • Research programme established.
  • National PIN policy to support staff who have experience of abuse

Phase 2 focus

  • Establish routine enquiry of abuse in all territorial health boards
  • Implementation of employee PIN policy on GBV in all health boards
  • Strengthen the role of GPs in tackling GBV
  • Work in partnership with other agencies to address GBV
  • Support health boards with the additional areas of forced marriage and human trafficking

Support for Survivors

If you are looking for support for your own experiences of GBV you can call:

Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline
0800 027 1234

Rape Crisis Scotland
08088 010302

or click on:

Scottish Womens Aid

Survivor Scotland

Galop National LGBT Domestic Abuse Helpline


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