Charity aims to update workplace attitudes and cultures towards domestic abuse in all its forms
Workers across Scotland are being recruited in a new nationwide project to help them play their part in eliminating violence against women and girls.
Women continue to be poorer, experience more abuse, and wield less power than men in our families, our communities, and our institutions. These realities enable abusers and constrain women and children every minute of every day.
Scottish Women’s Aid is launching a programme that will encourage workforces across Scotland to be better equipped to identify behaviours through their work roles that could signal that someone is at risk.
The charity, which is launching the project with the Scottish Government, is confident that by providing employees with a better understanding of women’s inequality, domestic abuse and sexual violence, workplaces can play an important new role in driving change.
A pilot scheme for the Equally Safe in Practice (ESiP) is being launched in eight local authorities: Angus, Dundee, East Renfrewshire, Falkirk, Fife, Renfrewshire, South Lanarkshire, West Dunbartonshire in departments including housing, social care, education and child care. After the pilot is completed, the programme will be rolled out across Scotland.
Marsha Scott, Chief Executive at Scottish Women’s Aid said: “Violence against women and girls, in all its forms, violates the human rights and dignity of every woman and girl in Scotland. This violence both nurtures women’s inequality and is a consequence of it.
“Equipping the Scottish workforce with knowledge, understanding, and the tools necessary to recognise and respond to violence against women and girls is key to challenging the everyday harm and to deliver the outcomes for women, children and young people that Scotland strives for.”
Minister for Equalities Christina McKelvie said: “The Scottish Government is clear that violence against women and girls, in any form, is wholly unacceptable; we are committed to working closely with our partners in the statutory and third sectors to prevent and eradicate all forms of gender based violence from Scottish society.
“We are delighted to be working with Scottish Women’s Aid on this vital project to ensure workforces across Scotland have a better understanding of gender based violence, and the norms and cultures that perpetrate it.”
The ESiP training and resources will – for the first time – provide a comprehensive range of support to help employees identify sexual violence, domestic abuse and women’s inequality in daily life.
The training will raise awareness and an understanding of what gender inequality, sexual violence and domestic abuse is, why it disproportionately affects women and girls and how to identify the signs that someone – even a work colleague that you would never suspect – is a victim or a perpetrator.
It will also provide opportunities to progress from one-off training sessions to more of an open and frequent discussion on how society encourages domestic abuse in all its forms and the ways we can actively end it.
Marsha added: “The training is bespoke to each organisation and will be delivered in ways which best suit. For example, we have different resources for small to medium businesses right through to decision makers.
“With workplaces returning to the office after lockdown, this is a great opportunity to offer employees a new set of tools for delivering positive outcomes in our communities.”
Working as part of the Scottish Government’s wider ‘Equally Safe’ strategy, the Women’s Aid ESiP team are creating a comprehensive framework that informs workers about what causes gender inequality, sexual violence and domestic abuse and how they can better identify and report issues of problematic behaviours and attitudes.
EsiP sits alongside other key strands in the Scottish Government’s Violence against Women strategy, including Equally Safe at Work and Equally Safe in Schools.
The programme is an innovative employer accreditation programme developed by Close the Gap, Scotland’s expert policy advocacy organisation working on women’s labour market equality. It supports employers to improve their employment practice to advance gender equality at work and prevent violence against women.
Equally Safe at School has been developed to complement the ongoing Sexual Violence Prevention Work that is being delivered in schools across Scotland, from local rape crisis centres. The project aims to equip schools with the tools to challenge gender based violence and stereotypes, and promote equality.