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How we can end violence against women

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Zero Tolerance, violenca against women, Scotland, 4-page summary, what we can do, end violence against women and girlsPrimary prevention is a long-term strategy, preventing violence from ever happening.

The campaign group Zero Tolerance recently launched a 4-page summary outlining how we can end violence against women and girls in Scotland.

The briefing, ‘Primary prevention of violence against women and girls’, outlines the extent of violence against women and girls in Scotland, explains the cause of this violence, and sets out what everyone can do to play their part in ending all violence against women and girls.

Violence against women and girls is extremely harmful to women and children. It is caused by gender inequality. And it can cause severe and long-lasting physical and mental health problems, reduced participation in the workforce, substance abuse and death.

In 2017-18 there were 59,541 domestic abuse incidents reported to Police Scotland; 82 per cent of the victims were women. Also in 2017-18 there were 12,487 sexual crimes, including rape and attempted rape, reported to Police Scotland; this represents a 97 per cent increase over the last 10 years.

Primary prevention aims to tackle this root cause of violence against women and girls in order to eradicate it.

Primary prevention is a long-term strategy, preventing violence from ever happening by challenging the attitudes, values and structures that sustain inequality and violence.

Primary prevention should work on many levels: with individuals, small groups, schools, workplaces, whole communities, governments, laws and policies.

There are five essential actions that can be taken to address the cause of violence against women and girls by promoting and normalising gender equality in both public and personal relationships.

They are to:

challenge the condoning of violence against women;

promote women’s independence and decision-making in public life and relationships;

foster positive personal identities and challenge gender stereotypes and roles;

strengthen positive, equal and respectful relations between and among women and men, girls and boys; and

promote and normalise gender equality in public and private life.

Primary prevention is a more efficient use of resources than dealing with the many serious, long-term consequences of violence – which in monetary terms along cost the Scottish public purse £4 billion.

And all of us can take action to build a Scotland where violence against women and girls is no longer tolerated.

To do this we need new social norms, including equal and respectful relationships, to eliminate of all forms of oppression and discrimination, and collective action to tackle women’s inequality.

Individuals can: Promote gender equality in our professional and personal relationships, workplaces and communities by advocating for change and challenging gender stereotyping and inequality. Everyone, and that includes boys and men, should be involved in primary prevention.

See Zero Tolerance’s Talking Gender for more information.

Organisations and Employers can: Tackle occupational segregation and the pay gap. Provide career development opportunities for women.

Offer and promote parental leave policies to both women and men.

See Zero Tolerance at Work for more information.

And National Leaders can: Speak publicly about the continuum of violence against women and girls and how to prevent it by driving greater public understanding of the links between gender inequality and violence against women and girls.

Work to make tackling gender stereotyping and inequality a priority within early years care and education.

And commit to the long and continuous work to tackle all forms of social, political and cultural discrimination, inequality and disadvantage.

To read ‘Primary prevention of violence against women and girls’, click here.

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