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Rape Crisis Scotland


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New report supports Protection Gap campaign
New report supports Protection Gap campaign

The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) has published a new report on Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG). The report includes recommendations that support the Charter campaign to lose the Protection Gap.

The report recommends that:
"the Government amends the guidance for interviews to raise the importance of making female interpreters available for cases of violence against women and girls. The current state of using them when 'operationally possible' is not satisfactory and means that their provision is not high enough a priority.

"The Government should also amend the guidance to make the responsible authorities have a responsibility to provide crèche type childcare at venues where screening takes place."

Specifically the recommendations support the demands of the Protection Gap campaign for the Home Office to:
· Guarantee that women can have a female interviewer and interpreter if they choose
· Provide childcare during screening and asylum interviews

You can find a more detailed summary of the asylum issues covered by the report below.

There are only a few days left to sign a Postcard for Protection online.
Please do encourage as many people as possible to sign at

Joint Committee on Human Rights - Report on Violence against Women and Girls Asylum Aid: Summary of asylum issues

During 2014 the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) undertook an inquiry to examine the United Kingdom's progress towards ratification of the Istanbul Convention (Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence).

In their report on Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) published on 19th February 2015 the Committee examines each article in the Convention to ascertain the UK's compliance with it. This summary focuses on issues relating to asylum (with emphasis added).

Committee conclusion
The chapter on immigration and asylum concludes "we are disturbed by the evidence we received that the routine use of male interpreters, the operation of fast-track detention system and the reported culture of disbelief within the Home Office wall result in victims suffering further trauma whilst seeking asylum or immigration to the UK. We find this unacceptable" (Para 220).

Protection Gap campaign
The report includes recommendations that support the Charter campaign to close the Protection Gap. The report recommends that: "the Government amends the guidance for interviews to raise the importance of making female interpreters available for cases of violence against women and girls. The current state of using them when 'operationally possible' is not satisfactory and means that their provision is not high enough a priority.

"The Government should also amend the guidance to make the responsible authorities have a responsibility to provide crèche type childcare at venues where screening takes place." These issues were raised in evidence by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (Para 217).

Specifically the recommendations support the demands of the Protection Gap campaign for the Home Office to:
· Guarantee that women can have a female interviewer and interpreter if they choose
· Provide childcare during screening and asylum interviews

Double discrimination
The JCHR summarises its concerns about VAWG in relation to asylum seekers stating "These women and girls are often overlooked. Immigration policy is developed separately from policy about violence against women and girls" (Summary).

The Protection Gap campaign argues that measures being brought in through the Foreign Office for survivors of rape during civil war should also be available to women who flee such abuses and seek protection in the UK. Reiterating evidence from the Refugee Council the Committee states "We find it worrying that current Home Office policies leave people destitute during the asylum and immigration process and that this in itself leads to women being at a greater risk of being a victim of violence. This is in contrast to funding being provided by the Department for International Development to post-disaster zones which looks specifically to address such survival strategies used by women. We believe that this demonstrates the need for better co-ordinated domestic and international policies across Government departments on asylum and immigration processes" (Para 201).

The Committee notes Asylum Aid's recommendation "that the Home Secretary should ensure that there is regular representation from the Immigration Minister and UKVI [UK Visas and Immigration] at the appropriate level at all meetings discussing violence against women and girls" (Para 19).

The Committee recommends that "the work of the Inter-Ministerial Group [on VAWG] be broadened to include questions of asylum and immigration rules and practice as well as the compliance of devolved policy with the Istanbul Convention" (Para 27).

Culture of disbelief
The Committee notes evidence from Asylum Aid and Amnesty International of the higher proportion of reversals of decisions in women's cases. (Para 211).

The JCHR argues that women in the asylum system face a culture of disbelief and double discrimination as asylum seekers and women (Para 216).

In relation to the culture of disbelief Mike Penning, the Minister of State for Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims told the Committee, "it is completely inappropriate and fundamentally wrong in any modern society that someone is not believed because they happen to be immigrant or an asylum seeker. [...] If that is happening in the Border Force then that is fundamentally wrong, and we will look at it" (Para 213).

In contrast to this the Immigration and Security Minister, James Brokenshire, stated that "The Government does not accept that there is a 'culture of disbelief'" (Para 214).

The Committee concludes that "Through the Inter-Ministerial Group [on VAWG], the Government should monitor the training, the number of reversals of decisions made and the extent to which the guidance for immigration officials is properly followed to ensure a culture change" (Para 27).

Vicarious traumatisation
The Immigration and Security Minister, James Brokenshire, noted that a course entitled "The Psychological Factors Affecting Decision-Makers" was piloted to encourage decision-makers to reflect on the impact of their work and raise awareness of potential risks, including vicarious traumatisation (Para 215).

Detained fast-track (DFT)
The Committee was concerned that "those who allege that they are victims of violence against women and girls are being detained through the fast-track process and recommend a review of the screening process for this as a matter of urgency" (Para 221). They noted concerns from Women for Refugee Women at the lack of information on which a decision to allocate an applicant to the DFT was made (Para 208) as well as concerns by the Royal College of Psychiatrists regarding retraumatisation and the way it inhibits an applicant giving a coherent account (Para 209).

Special Rapporteur's visit to Yarl's Wood
Referring to the UN Special Rapporteur on VAWG not being able to visit Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre during her mission to the UK in April 2014, the Committee noted the observation of the Foreign Affairs Committee "We find it surprising that the Home Office was unable to facilitate a request, even at short notice, from a UN Special Rapporteur to visit Yarl's Wood immigration detention centre. It sets a dangerous precedent for other countries to follow suit and has caused embarrassment to the UK" (Para 210).

Published: 20th February 2015

New rape prevention campaign launched
New rape prevention campaign launched

A new campaign designed to highlight vital changes in sexual offences legislation was launched in Edinburgh today.

The “We can stop it” campaign is being led by the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) and highlights a recent shift in the law.

The Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 reformed previous legislation for sexual offences, broadening the definition of rape and creating a range of new offences. The Act also defined consent in statute for the first time, and outlined a range of circumstances in which consent cannot be considered to be present, including when a victim is asleep or unconscious, or intoxicated through alcohol or other substances. Also for the first time under the new Act, is the possibility for male victims to bring charges of rape.

The new campaign aims to raise awareness of these aspects of the law, all of which are highlighted through a series of strong, thought-provoking statements and visuals from men acting as positive role models.

With the tagline “We can stop it”, the campaign invites people, and in particular young men between 18 to 27 years old, to consider their own attitudes and behaviour and the role they can play in preventing rape.

The posters and vinyls will be displayed in areas popular with young men and women, including pubs and clubs.

A thirty-second advert has also been produced for use on the specially designed website ( and on YouTube. The second phase of the campaign will feature online advertising on a variety of sites most commonly used by the target audience.

The campaign was conceived after consultation with partner organisations, academics and focus group research with young men and women across the country. Feedback from the groups highlighted that previous campaigns on the subject were often victim-focused, or targeted men as perpetrators. “We can stop it” is designed to be a positive and proactive campaign which seeks to promote a sense of responsibility rather than attributing blame.

Assistant Chief Constable Graham Sinclair, the ACPOS lead for Public Protection, said: “Reducing incidents of rape and sexual assault is a priority for all Scottish forces and education plays a huge part in this. It is vitally important that the changes in legislation are promoted, and I am delighted that this campaign is launching today.

The tone and language of the campaign marks a significant shift in approach to raising awareness of sexual offences legislation, and I hope that it will help remind men that they are in complete control of their behaviour.”

Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland said: "I am delighted to have the opportunity to express my support for the campaign.

"It is important that the public are aware of what rape is and the campaign will help in raising public awareness on this as well as dispelling any myths about rape. There is no concept of contributory negligence in the crime of rape. Rape is rape."

"There is no concept of contributory negligence in the crime of rape. Rape is rape."

Cabinet Secretary for Justice Kenny MacAskill said: "Rape is a horrific crime and this campaign, led by ACPOS, has my full backing because we need to change attitudes and educate the next generation. This campaign also sends out the message loud and clear to perpetrators that any instance of rape is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

"This Government has strengthened legislation through the Sexual Offences Act which gives our prosecutors greater tools in their armoury to prosecute the individuals responsible and bring them to justice. However, any instance of rape is one too many. Progress is being made, but it is vital we continue working to raise awareness and change attitudes, through this campaign and other means, to stop rape from happening in the first place."

Sandy Brindley, National Coordinator for Rape Crisis Scotland said: “Rape Crisis Scotland is very supportive of the new campaign. The law is clear - sex without consent is rape. The biggest hurdle we face is changing people's attitudes towards rape. We need to make sure the Scottish public understand what rape actually is. The 'We Can Stop It' campaign speaks directly to men and offers something very positive - that rape is preventable, and men can play a positive role in making this happen.”

Published: 13th September 2012

Stop rape!
Stop rape!

Rape Crisis Scotland has adapted an apt and popular revision of the traditional approach to rape prevention in a new poster and postcard campaign. We hope this will help to reverse the popular trend of focusing rape prevention messages on women and instead transfer these towards more appropriate recipients - potential perpetrators.

You can see the poster here, the front of the postcard here, and the reverse of the postcard here.

Hard copies of posters in A4 and A3 sizes, and of postcards will be available shortly.

Please write to if you would like to receive some of these.

We also hope to have high and low resolution images available for download from this website.

Watch this space!

Published: 17th October 2011

Rape Crisis Scotland launches new postcard
Rape Crisis Scotland launches new postcard

Rape Crisis Scotland has launched a new postcard challenging attitudes to rape.

Please contact if you would like to receive hard copies of the new postcards.

You can also download pdfs of the front of the postcard here, and of the reverse here.

Published: 22nd June 2011

Now is the time to deliver on key pledges on sexual violence

It is now clear that the SNP will be the next Scottish Government. 
Two explicit commitments in their manifesto are of particular interest to anyone concerned with addressing violence against women:  continuing funding for Rape Crisis Scotland and Scottish Women’s Aid, and legislating so that in sexual offence trials judges will direct juries not to take into account any delay in reporting a rape or any apparent lack of resistance from the victim / survivor when reaching their decision.  Two very important pledges with the potential to make a real difference.  Provision of support and access to justice following a crime as traumatic as rape need to be seen as basic human rights.  Rape Crisis Scotland looks forward to the implementation of these commitments and to working with the new Scottish Government to improve responses to sexual violence.

Published: 6th May 2011

Scottish Government Throws A Lifeline to Vital Violence Against Women Services Across Scotland
Scottish Government Throws A Lifeline to Vital Violence Against Women Services Across Scotland

We are delighted to report that the Scottish Government has announced its intention to continue funding for violence against women services in Scotland for the coming year.

At the Scottish Government debate on Violence against Women held on 23rd December 2010, Alex Neil the Minister for Housing and Communities, announced that three vital funds will be retained at their current level in the next financial year.

This follows an intensive period of joint campaigning by Scottish Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis Scotland.

Prior to the announcement it had been thought that many services for women and children would be cut. 40 Women’s Aid groups around the country faced an average loss of 40% of their funding. A number of rape crisis centres were facing the possibility of either closure or severe restriction of their services. These services have now been safeguarded.

The announcement came as very welcome news to Lily Greenan, Manager of Scottish Women’s Aid. She said:

“We have worked closely with Rape Crisis Scotland and with local Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis groups around Scotland over the last few months gathering support for the continuation of this funding from the Scottish Government. Today we are all extremely grateful to the MSPs, local politicians and members of the public who have played their part in making this happen.

“Christmas is the time of year when our services are needed most of all – during the festive season there is a dramatic increase in the number of domestic abuse incidents – so it really could not have come at a better time.”

Sandy Brindley, National Coordinator of Rape Crisis Scotland, welcomed the announcement.

“Sexual violence can have a devastating impact and it is crucial that survivors throughout Scotland have access to specialised services. If Scottish Government funding had been lost, rape survivors across Scotland would have found it much more difficult to access support. We believe the provision of support following sexual violence should be a basic right, and we welcome the support for this across the Parliament.”

Although this announcement means that violence against women services will be guaranteed for the year 2011-2012, the future beyond this period continues to be very uncertain, and Scottish Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis Scotland are anxious to secure a long term funding strategy to ensure the sustainability of vital support services and will continue to work towards this. Lily Greenan said:

“We still have a long way to go to ensure that women and children who experience violence are able to access support wherever and whenever they need it. We look forward to working with the Scottish Government and COSLA over the next few months to find ways to secure the future of these vital services.”

We are very grateful indeed to every MSP who signed the pledge to Save Our Services – you can see a list of these here, and if you share our concern and commitment to their long-term provision, please do get in touch with your local MSP and let them know. You can also see the full press statement issued by Scottish Women's Aid and Rape Crisis Scotland here.

Published: 11th February 2011

New Welsh campaign
New Welsh campaign

The Welsh Assembly Government has launched a campaign to challenge a culture of victim blaming.

The Stop Blame campaign aims to dispel the myth that victims of rape or assault are in any way responsible for the heinous crimes that they suffer. Victims of rape or sexual assault may be reluctant to report the crime for fear of being judged as responsible for what has happened to them. The campaign aims to put an end to this attitude by showing victims, perpetrators and the public that the blame lays solely with the assailant and not with the victim.

Wales’ Social Justice Minister Carl Sargeant said: “Victims of rape or sexual assault are in no way responsible for what happens to them. Apparent justification such as ‘she was too drunk’ or ‘she was asking for it’ just doesn’t wash. This attitude can be extremely damaging for the victims and we must put an end to it now. There is absolutely no excuse for committing rape or sexual assault and the blame should never be placed on the victim.”

Paula Hardy, Chief Executive of Welsh Women’s Aid, said: “Welsh Women’s Aid and the violence against women sector in Wales have been working closely with the Assembly Government in the development of the campaign. We welcome its launch, which proactively challenges the myths around victim blame, and we hope this will lead to greater justice and support for survivors of rape and sexual assault."

The Welsh Assembly Government campaign was launched on Friday 17 December with a series of radio adverts, outdoor posters and online advertising. The campaign is supported by the website which aims to challenge the blame culture and also features information and advice for victims.

Published: 21st December 2010

First Minister Alex Salmond supports dedicated funding for Violence Against Women Services
First Minister Alex Salmond supports dedicated funding for Violence Against Women Services

On 24th November we took the Save Our Services campaign one step further when we joined forces with Scottish Women’s Aid, Zero Tolerance & White Ribbon Scotland for a day to lobby MSPs at the Scottish Parliament. MSPs moving through the Members’ Lobby on their way to or from the debating chamber were greeted by a visually arresting timeline behind our large stall  - a very eye-catching reminder of the huge advances we’ve made in Scotland over the last four decades in fighting violence against women and supporting those who have suffered its consequences. And very many of them responded by coming over for a few words and signing our pledge to preserve dedicated funding for VAW services. We were delighted to receive the support of the First Minister, who you can see here signing the pledge.

Published: 26th November 2010

Don't Suffer in Silence
Don't Suffer in Silence

This poster, produced by Perth & Kinross Violence Against Women Partnership, provides contact information for local and national support services and is intended to raise awareness & understanding. Its very clear message reinforces the fact that perpetrators, and not those who suffer at their hands, are to blame.

Printed copies of the posters are available are available from . Could you please indicate when getting in touch how many of each you require.

Published: 26th November 2010

Drinking is not a crime: Rape is
Drinking is not a crime: Rape is

This joint initiative led by Tayside Police, Western Division, in partnership with Women’s Rape & Sexual Abuse Centre, P&K and Perth & Kinross Community Safety Partnership was launched on the 25th November at Barrack Street Police Station. Local and national press and television were in attendance and we are hoping that there will be good coverage and promotion of the campaign.

The campaign aims to promote the clear message across Perth & Kinross that sex without consent is rape, no matter what the circumstances.

The postcards will be distributed across Perth & Kinross by police officers, and are available for all organisations to use and distribute. Please contact if you would like to receive these.

Published: 26th November 2010

Spend Now, Save Later
Spend Now, Save Later

The Scottish Women’s Budget Group has produced a concise analysis of the case for gender budget analysis in violence against women spending with ‘Spend Now, Save Later’.  The paper was commissioned by Scottish Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis Scotland and we hope it will inform the debate about how financial decisions should be made and highlight in particular the reasons why frontline services such as rape crisis and women’s aid need continued funding, and the costs of not funding these vital services.

Published: 10th November 2010

Scottish Women's Aid Lobbying Event
Scottish Women's Aid Lobbying Event

Scottish Women’s Aid organised a lobbying event outside the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 28th October at 10.45am.  The aim of this event was to raise awareness of the impact the impending cuts will have on women, children and young people who experience domestic abuse and in particular the impact on Women's Aid services of losing two key funding streams - the Violence Against Women Fund and the Children's Services Fund. Women's Aid workers and supporters from all over Scotland will be coming along.  The importance and potential impact of any threat to the Rape Crisis Specific Fund was also highlighted.

The women and children represented by Women’s Aid are rarely able to speak out in public about what they need from services, so the centrepiece of the event was a group of silhouettes, reminding us that women and children need services because they are not safe at home.

This marked the start of 4 weeks of local lobbying across Scotland, with events organised by local Women's Aid groups in partnership with Scottish Women’s Aid – locations for events included Inverness, Ayrshire, Glasgow and Edinburgh, as well as the Scottish Labour Party Conference in Oban and the STUC Women's Conference in Perth.

Published: 27th October 2010

"Not Ever" to screen in local cinema
"Not Ever" to screen in local cinema

We are delighted to report that Dumfries & Galloway Domestic Abuse and Violence Against Women Partnership will be screening "Not Ever" in the Robert Burns Cinema in Dumfries on 17th, 18th & 23rd September and on the 2nd & 18th October.

Published: 31st August 2010

Save Violence Against Women Services Campaign
Save Violence Against Women Services Campaign

Save Violence Against Women Services Campaign

The Save Violence Against Women Services Campaign is a joint campaign being run by Rape Crisis Scotland and Scottish Women’s Aid.The campaign aims to protect essential frontline services for women experiencing violence.

Background Information

Violence against women is a serious and widespread issue:

•Each year, 3 million women in Britain experience rape, domestic abuse, stalking or other violence (source: End Violence Against Women Campaign)

•There were 53,681 incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the police in Scotland in 2008-09.In the same year, the police recorded 821 reports of rape, 142 of assault with intent to rape and 1,640 incidents of indecent assault (source: Tackling Violence Against Women: A Review of Key Evidence & National Policy, Scottish Government, 2010)

•A study by NSPCC showed that a third of teenage girls in a relationship suffer an unwanted sexual act (Barter, McCarry, Berridge and Kathy Evans, Partner exploitation and violence in teenage intimate relationships, 2009)

•It is estimated that 20% of women and 5% of men have experienced some form of child sexual abuse (World Health Organisation)

•It is estimated that violence against women costs society £40 billion each year (Hard Knock Life, New Philanthropy Capital, 2008).

The Scottish Government has provided crucial and much needed support over the past decade to help sustain and develop support services such as rape crisis centres and women’s aid groups.This support has taken the form of ring fenced funding specifically for violence against women services.This ring fenced funding has led to a significant improvement in the services for women across Scotland.The Rape Crisis Specific Fund has provided £50,000 per rape crisis centre per year to guarantee a basic level of service and has also funded the creation of 5 new rape crisis centres.The support available for children experiencing domestic abuse has been greatly improved by the Children’s Services Fund which has funded more than 100 children’s workers who have provided services to over 2500 children and young people last year.The Violence Against Women Fund has funded a range of vital support services across the country.If these funds do not continue, the impact on women and children across Scotland will be severe.

Why do we need ring fencing?

The Equality & Human Rights Commission have identified what they call a ‘postcode lottery’ of vital support services for women experiencing violence across the UK.Scotland, however, is recognised as leading the way in the provision of services, and dedicated funding is the reason this has happened:

"The best story to be told is in Scotland where provision is distributed more equally and furthermore is the only part of the UK where there has been an expansion of Rape Crisis Centres. The reason is simple; the Scottish government is developing a strategic approach to addressing violence against women and has allocated ring-fenced funding for services."

The national provision of ring fenced funding was necessary because these services were not being adequately funded at a local level.

What would be the implications of removing ring fencing?

In this economic climate, the consequences of removing ring fencing for these services are even more serious than they would be under other circumstances.There is a serious risk that if funds were allocated to local authorities but not ring fenced that the funding would be diverted elsewhere.For some rape crisis centres, where the Scottish Government funding is their main or only source of funding, this would mean the service closing.After the investment of the past few years, this would be a significantly retrograde step, with devastating implications for survivors of sexual violence.

The campaign

In order to protect essential services for women and children experiencing violence, Rape Crisis Scotland and Scottish Women’s Aid are calling on the Scottish Government to give a commitment to protect ring fenced funding for violence against women services.We will be asking all MSPs to sign a pledge committing to the continuation of this vital funding.

We believe this is the only way to adequately protect the continued existence of these services.

Here is a Press release about the campaign.

For further information, please contact:

Sandy Brindley, Rape Crisis Scotland 0141 331 4182 / 07764167501

Lily Greenan, Scottish Women’s Aid 0131 226 6606 / 07882 692235

Published: 9th August 2010

“Not Ever” – Scotland’s first ever TV rape advert launched this week
“Not Ever” – Scotland’s first ever TV rape advert launched this week

Rape Crisis Scotland has launched Scotlands first ever TV campaign aimed at tackling women-blaming attitudes to rape. The advert was launched at a special screening at the Glasgow Film Theatre on Monday 28 June, and was broadcast for the first time that night during coverage of Brazil’s World Cup match. It will continue to be shown over the next 9 weeks on STV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

The Not Ever advert addresses women-blaming attitudes towards rape such as claims that dressing provocatively, being drunk or flirting with men are contributory factors. Its hard-hitting approach is intended to make people stop in their tracks, and to shake out and challenge ingrained prejudices many Scots have towards women who have been raped.

Recent research reveals that almost one in five Scots believe a woman is partially to blame for being raped if she is wearing revealing clothing - a survey of 1,040 Scots carried out by Cello MRUK in February 2010 for the Scottish Government found that:

•23 per cent thinka woman can be at least partly responsible if she is drunk at the time of the attack

•17 per centthought that a woman bore some responsibility if she wore revealing clothing

•15 per cent say there should be some burden of responsibility for rape if the women is flirting

•8 per cent think rape can be the woman's fault if she is known to have had many sexual partners

These attitudes can make it difficult for women to speak out about being raped, because of fear of being blamed for what has happened.There are also significant concerns about the impact these attitudes might have on rape survivors’ ability to access justice, in terms of attitudes which jury members might hold.

Although many people genuinely believe they wouldn’t judge a rape victim by what they wear, how drunk they were, or if they had been flirting all night, they often actually do; particularly when sitting as a juror in court. Not Ever wants to prompt people to keep their judgments in check and to remember that there’s only one person who is responsible for rape and it’s not the victim. It doesn’t matter what you wear, how many sexual partners you’ve had, or if you’re out getting drunk with friends - no one deserves to be raped - ever.

A new campaign website has been set up to allow people to share their thoughts and seek support at , and people can also show support for Not Ever on the campaign’s Facebook page at .

There is also a Not Ever Twitter stream: @Not_Ever to keep people updated with the progress of the campaign.

Published: 1st July 2010