The draft EQIA demonstrates that there are no potentially negative impacts to equality groups resulting from the implementation of our Equally Safe strategy and associated delivery plan.
The findings of this EQIA highlight that members of certain equality groups may be at greater risk of experiencing gender based violence, and that there are particular forms of violence that are either specific to, or more likely to be experienced by, people with certain protected characteristics.
The Scope of the EQIA
The likely effects of the policy were informed by a range of evidence, including public consultation and stakeholder engagement on the content of the delivery plan. A variety of sources of information were used, including:
• Domestic Abuse Recorded by the Police in Scotland 2017-18
• Homicide recorded by the police 2017-2018
• Recorded crime in Scotland 2017-2018
• Home Office Forced marriage statistics
• Scottish social attitudes survey 2014
• WHO female genital mutilation fact sheet
The Domestic Abuse statistics recorded by the police in 2017-2018 suggest that 26-30 year olds have the highest incident rate for both victim and accused. The number of incidents recorded by the police generally declined with age.
The recorded crime in Scotland in 2017-2018 statistics estimate that at least 40% of the sexual crimes recorded related to a victim under the age of 18.
Research carried out by UNICEF shows that FGM is commonly carried out between the ages of 5-14. Forced marriage statistics also demonstrate that younger people are affected by forced marriage (age 14-25).
The impact of the policy in relation to children is considered in a separate Children's Wellbeing and Rights Impact Assessment
There is limited Scotland-specific evidence on the extent to which people with disabilities are affected by gender based violence. However, a number of studies have found that people with disabilities are at increased risk of experiencing domestic abuse. In 2015, Public Health England published a report on disabled people's experiences of domestic abuse. It noted that "Disabled people experience disproportionately higher rates of domestic abuse. They also experience domestic abuse for longer periods of time, and more severe and frequent abuse than non-disabled people ."These findings were echoed by Wise Women survey ‘The Daisie Project’.
Research also suggests that there is a link between disability and forced marriage. In 2017, roughly 12% of the cases recorded by the Home Office Forced Marriage statistics involved victims with a learning disability.
In 2018-2018, the police recorded 59,541 incidents of domestic abuse. Where information was recorded, four out of every five incidents had a female victims and a male accused.
Sexual crimes recorded in Scotland in 2017-018 account for 5% of all crimes recorded. Where identifiable, the vast majority of victims of rape, attempted rape, and other sexual crime were female.
Pregnancy and maternity
As noted above, women are at considerably greater risk of being victims of domestic abuse than men, and younger people are at greater risk than older people.
There is limited evidence concerning the extent to which pregnant women and new mother experience domestic abuse in Scotland. However, research quoted in the 2013 publication Scottish Government Equality Outcomes: Pregnancy and Maternity Evidence Review found that "research highlights that pregnant women face an "increased risk" of domestic abuse, with domestic abuse 'estimated to occur in 5% to 21% of pre-birth cases and in 13% to 21% of post-birth cases'" and that "evidence from Scotland and across the UK indicates that 'abuse often starts in pregnancy and gets worse when the first child is new-born."
Gender identity/ Transgender people
There is limited evidence concerning transgender or intersex peoples' experience of domestic abuse.
In 2010, LGBT Youth Scotland and the Equality Network carried out research into transgender people's experiences of domestic abuse. This was a small study of 60 people whose main focus was to determine the specific needs of the transgender community when accessing services which provide support and advice to those experiencing domestic abuse. However, that study found that 80% of those surveyed had experienced emotional, physical or sexual abusive behaviour by a partner or ex-partner. It is not clear if this study can be regarded as representative given the low numbers of the sample but if it is, it would indicate that transgender people are at much greater risk of partner abuse.
That study also found that "seventy-three per cent of the respondents experienced abusive behaviours from partners or ex-partners which specifically aimed to oppress or invalidate the transgender person's gender identity, undermine their ability to transition, or to influence their decision about coming out to others." Forty-two per cent of respondents stated they had felt insecure about their gender identity as a result of a partner's behaviour. The study noted that "Both transgender specific emotionally abusive behaviours and the negative impacts which result are often not fully understood or acknowledged by service providers.".
A survey undertaken by Stonewall, reports that one in four lesbian and bisexual women have experienced domestic abuse from a partner, which is the same as the general female population, while half of gay and bisexual men have experienced domestic abuse, and a third have experienced domestic abuse from a partner.
If these figures accurately reflect the direct experience of lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Scotland, it suggests that they may be at greater risk of experiencing partner abuse than the general population.
Gender based violence can affect anyone but a study carried out by the NHS in 2017 suggests that discrimination in relation to ethnicity, migrant or refugee status can increase and intensify abuse.
Female Genital Mutilation as a form of gender based violence is not fixed on any particular race. While the exact number is unknown, at least 200 million girls and women in 30 countries have undergone female genital mutilation. Whilst survivors of FGM are found in some communities in Scotland, not all women and girls born in countries or communities where it is practised are affected or at risk. There is no concrete evidence that FGM is actually being practised in Scotland, but neither is there clear evidence that it is not
Religion and belief
There is a lack of evidence that gender based violence differentially affects people on the basis of their religion or belief. However, under-reporting is a particular issue in women from religious and ethnic minority communities.
FGM and forced marriage are not recommended by any religions or religious texts but both may have become symbolic on certain communities as a demonstration of faith.
The Scottish Government has found that none of the proposals are discriminatory and that there are no significant issues that we consider would impact negatively upon the various groups.
However, there is evidence that gender based violence affected different protected groups in different ways and to different extents. For example, there is clear evidence that women are at greater risk of experiencing gender based violence than men.
This highlights the importance of a strategy that recognises the ‘gendered’ nature of violence and that fact that this violence stems from deep rooted and systemic inequality between men and women. We also recognise that violence against women and girls pervades society and affects women and girls from different backgrounds and communities. That is why we have developed an inclusive delivery plan with actions that should benefit women and girls from all backgrounds.