'Not enough being done to protect women and girls from violence' 

There are calls for a commission to be established to help inform policy on tackling the issue.

‘Not enough being done to protect women and girls from domestic violence’, say Scottish Liberal Democrats iStock

Not enough is being done to protect women and girls in Scotland from violence at the hands of men, it has been claimed.

It comes after official figures showed that 64,807 incidents of domestic abuse were recorded by police in Scotland over the last year.

Justice secretary Keith Brown warned that the numbers represent the “tip of the iceberg”, with fears that the figure could be higher due to the difficulties for victims in coming forward.

A debate on recognising the role that men must play in challenging and eradicating violence against women and girls will take place at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have now called on the Scottish Government to establish a national commission to help better inform policy on tackling the issue.

It would seek to bring together charities and experts on gender-based violence to better inform ministers.

Alex Cole-Hamilton, the party’s leader, has also written to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to ask if she would review the case of Adrienne McCartney.

Ms McCartney, a victim of domestic violence, died by suicide after reporting her case to police and prosecutors.

Beatrice Wishart, Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP, explained that the party’s deputy leader, MP Wendy Chamberlain, will lead a policy commission on men’s violence.

“The bleak but unavoidable reality is that Scotland is not doing enough to protect its women and girls,” said Wishart.

“Up and down this country, women and girls suffer violence at the hands of men – violence which is underpinned by everyday sexist and misogynistic attitudes. We all have a duty to call this out.

“Following Sarah Everard’s murder in 2021, Liberal Democrats repeatedly called on the Scottish Government to create a commission to look at all aspects of preventing men’s violence against women and girls, the Government has made little progress.”

Wishart insisted that action is owed to the memory of those who have been victim to men’s violence, highlighting the case of East Kilbride nurse Louise Aitchison, who was murdered by her partner in 2020.

She continued: “If the Government won’t tackle this issue head-on, Scottish Liberal Democrats will.

“Our party’s deputy leader, Wendy Chamberlain MP, will be leading a commission on men’s violence.

“As the only former female police officer in the House of Commons, Wendy is well placed to lead this work within our party and to make recommendations for how we can improve policy.

“We owe it to the memory of Adrienne McCartney, Louise Aitchison, Sarah Everard and the many victims of men’s violence to act now.”

Alex Cole-Hamilton called on MSPs from across the chamber at Holyrood to help develop a strategy to end gender-based violence.

“Establishing a specific commission to eradicate gender-based violence is a fundamental step in the right direction,” he said.

“Women and girls are tired of sympathetic platitudes that rarely translate into action. We need long-term, robust solutions.

“I want to see a huge cross-party effort in the Scottish Parliament which will develop a successful strategy to end gender-based violence. Women and girls cannot afford to wait any longer.”

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