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Violence against women

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What is “Violence Against Women”?

Violence Against Women describes a range of behaviours/abuses that impact on women and girls. The very fact of being female puts women and girls at increased risk. Sometimes this is referred to as Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) or Gender Based Violence (GBV).

The Scottish Government uses Violence Against Women and Girls to refer to a range of actions that harm, or cause suffering and indignity to women and children. These include but are not limited to:

  • physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family (including children and young people), within the general community or in institutions, including domestic abuse, rape, and incest
  • sexual harassment, bullying and intimidation in any public or private space, including work
  • commercial sexual exploitation, including prostitution, lap dancing, stripping, pornography and trafficking
  • child sexual abuse, including familial sexual abuse, child sexual exploitation and online abuse
  • so called ‘honour based’ violence, including dowry related violence, female genital mutilation, forced and child marriages, and ‘honour’ crimes

Violence Against Women is both a cause and consequence of gender inequality. That means women are more likely to experience certain abuse because of the disadvantages they face in their lives. They are likely to have more limited opportunities where they have been subjected to abuse and controlling behaviour.

Of course, we do not deny or minimise the known use of violence against men or within same sex relationships, but it's a fact that women and girls are a much larger group affected by particular forms of violence. Many men and boys are victims of violence and abuse - some experience the abuse described.

It's society's idea of masculinity and femininity that helps contribute to the continuing violence against women. This can make it difficult for men and boys to identify themselves and get support.

For more information on a specific form of violence click on the relevant tab below:

If you think you or your child(ren) are in immediate danger of being hurt, please phone the police on 999.

Related Publications

Violence Against Women - Housing Options
Violence Against Women Leaflet

Related Links

Equally Safe Scotland's Strategy

To report any concerns to the police, call the non-emergency number 101. In an emergency, always dial 999.