New term: time for MSPs to get to work
Posted on September 2 2015
It’s the first week of a new parliamentary term in Scotland. The Scottish Parliament reconvened on 1 September after the summer recess, and there is plenty to do. We hope that MSPs have sharpened their pencils and are ready for a busy session.
Because it is such a prevalent and pressing issue, violence against women is seldom far from the order of business in Scotland’s law-making chamber, and this session is no exception. MSPs will be busy with:
- Stage 3 of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill
- Developing guidance on the licensing of Sexual Entertainment Venues (SEVs) following the passing of a new licensing law
- Developing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) National Action Plan, Service Standards and National Guidance
- Reconsidering the requirement for corroboration in Scots law
- Debating and scrutinising the new Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm Bill (announced as part of the Programme for Government 2015-16).
- The Write to End Violence Against Women Awards, taking place on the 10 December 2015
- 16 days of Action on Violence against Women – an internationally recognised period of activity to highlight VAW, from 25 Nov – 10 Dec
- International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation on 6 February
- End Prostitution Now: Challenging Demand for Prostitution. National campaign to reduce harm caused through prostitution through introduction of legislation to criminalise buying sex and decriminalise selling sex.
16 years later, it’s as vital as ever, if not more so, that parties work collaboratively to end VAW. Women’s and children’s lives are too important to fall into the chasm between parties’ differing stances. Cooperative working to find solutions to the ‘wicked problem’ of violence and women’s inequality is urgently needed.
That’s why six of the key organisations working to end VAW have sent a joint briefing to MSPs urging them to work on these issue in the weeks to come; to work across parties; and to sign the Ending Men’s Violence Against Women Statement of Intent which is a public declaration of their commitment to end VAW using the principles of Equally Safe. Why not ask your MSP if they have signed it yet? And ask them what they will be doing to end VAW? You can find your MSP by using They Work For You.
We look forward to a productive new term and to continued improvement of Scotland’s response to all forms of violence against women and girls.