Tackling Violence Against Women in the Highlands
What is Violence Against Women?
Violence Against Women is an over-arching term, often also called ‘gender based violence’ that includes domestic abuse, prostitution, child sexual abuse, stalking, rape and many other forms of violence that predominately affect women and are most commonly perpetrated by men. They are grouped together by the term “Violence Against Women” to highlight this gender bias and to emphasise the risk of violence women and girls face throughout their lives at home and in the community because they are female. In Highland we use the terms “Violence Against Women” and “gender based violence” interchangeably.
Who is at risk?
The biggest risk factor to experiencing all forms of Violence Against Women is being female. While no woman is immune from it, not all women are equally at risk. Factors such as age, financial dependence, poverty, disability, homelessness, and insecure immigration status can heighten women’s vulnerability to abuse or entrap them further in it. For example, minority ethnic women may face barriers such as racism and language difficulties and may also fear being accused of bringing shame and dishonour upon the family. Disabled women may experience communication or physical barriers to getting help or away from an abuser, or be isolated because of their impairment. Young women are at high risk of all forms of abuse, yet often this can be overlooked or minimised, particularly in their teenage years.
What are the impacts?
Experiencing abuse or violence as an adult or when a child can have a wide ranging effect on an individual’s life. The impacts may be health related and be physical, psychological, sexual or a combination of these. Other impacts may include financial difficulties, becoming homeless or roofless.
How are we tackling it in Highland?
In Highland, the Public Services Partnership is committed to developing its multi-agency approach to tackling Violence Against Women. We have developed an action plan focusing on 5 areas (often called the ‘p’s’). These are:
Prevention of Violence Against Women
Protection from Violence Against Women
Provision of services for those affected by Violence Against Women
Holding perpetrators of Violence Against Women to account
Ensuring participation of survivors of Violence Against Women in improving services and shaping future strategic direction
You can find out more about Violence Against Women, support services for those affected and the different ways agencies are tackling it in the following publications: