SCOTLAND’s female-dominated campaigns on violence against women have been urged to open up to male voices in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

For decades, Scottish Women’s Aid and sister organisations have excluded men, even from their boards, in order to create a safe space for women.

However, increasingly, international experts believe this could mean important male allies – and their insights into offending or problematic behaviour – could be lost as policy forums are overwhelmingly made up of women.

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The case of movie mogul Weinstein – the latest to demonstrate the harm that even a single man can do over a lifetime of abuse – has been widely seen as a wake-up call for other men to challenge toxic masculinity.

Christine Goodall, of Scottish charity Medics Against Violence, led calls for men to be included. She said: “I would like more men to be party to policy making, on a government level. I have sat on groups which deal with gender-based violence and it is all women in the room. It could be seen as being very anti-men and that is unhelpful.

“Instead, I would like to see men more involved in training around domestic abuse so they can step up and take a stand.

“I would like to see the men who don’t abuse women taking a stand with the men who do or participate in everyday sexism.

“Some men are the problem but men are also part the solution.”

Dr Goodall, an academic and oral surgeon at Glasgow Dental Hospital, has been a leading mover of Scotland’s strategy of seeing violence as a preventable health problem. She was speaking at a World Health Organisation conference in Ottawa on the latest best practice on violence prevention, including how to reduce gender-based violence, such as domestic abuse and sex offending, against women and girls.

A series of international experts stressed the importance of having men at the table, both helping to formulate policy on such violence and making practical interventions to prevent it.

These included Claire Crooks, a clinical psychologist and associate professor from Western University in Canada.

She said: “We wouldn’t say that racism was a minority issue, for example. So we have to have men at the table.

“But it has to be men realising they are not going to be experts telling women how things need to be. It takes a certain type of male leaders. Our prime minister, Justin Trudeau, is a great role model. He says I am a feminist and my wife taught me how to be one. So it is claiming a role by recognising the leadership of women.”

Dr Crooks acknowledged there were “tricky areas to navigate” in real-world programmes dealing with both men and women. She cited a “strong partnership” between a women’s shelter in London, Ontario, and an agency dealing with male perpetrators of violence. She said: “We don’t want men who are abusive to their children come to our programme and get a stamp of approval and get custody in court.”

Scottish Women’s Aid, the flagship anti-domestic violence umbrella group, which brings together local shelters and services for abused women, has kept men out of its structures for 40 years. This came after a bitter public rift with the campaigner who inspired its very creation, Erin Pizzey, who advocated male inclusion.

Current chief executive Marsha Scott said: “There is nothing new about this call, and we have always worked alongside male allies, especially those in police and other public services as well as with the men in White Ribbon Scotland. There has always been room at the policy and justice table for men to take responsibility for gendered violence. That only a few have responded has little to do with us I think and more to do with a lack of interest.”

Dr Scott added: “The lack of men who take violence against women and children seriously must not be laid at the door of women’s organisations and is in effect another version of victim blaming. Having said that, I find some hopeful signs that powerful men and women are willing to grasp the nettle of real change.”

Women’s Aid split with two local groups, in Falkirk and Moray, after they respectively offered services to male domestic abuse victims and had a man on the board.