The Scottish Government is being urged to appoint a Violence Against Women and Girls Commissioner as part of plans to transform services in Scotland.

The recommendation is one of a number put forward as part of a proposed overhaul of services to create a more effective funding model and give better access to help and support.

A report from the Independent Strategic Review of Funding and Commissioning of VAWG Services in Scotland has now been published and makes ambitious demands in order to ensure Scotland is compliant with international human rights conventions.

The review states there should be a legal right to, and guaranteed funding for, minimum core services after hearing evidence that current provision does not work for large numbers of women and children.

Those from minority ethnic communities, disabled women and deaf women, in particular, are being failed.

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The Chair of the Review, Lesley Irving, said: “I am confident that our recommendations, which are grounded in the evidence we have gathered over the course of the Review, will allow us to take a very significant step forward in how we respond to VAWG in Scotland. 

"It’s time to make that commitment.”

As part of the review, the committee held more than 100 engagement events with women, children and young people across Scotland and received evidence from 475 people.  

Should Scotland implement the legal right to services it would be the first country in the world to do so and would mean that third sector services were no longer reliant on short term competitive funding rounds from a variety of sources. 

Instead, the report recommends, a model of collaborative commissioning should be in place with decisions about funding made in the local areas close to where services are provided, rather than centrally as it is at the moment.

It also emphasises the importance of education, including for boys, and the need to focus on prevention. 

Scotland is currently not compliant with several international human rights conventions, including the Istanbul Convention and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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To put Scotland in line with best practice developments at European level, the report recommends that a new body called the Istanbul Convention Implementation Observatory (ICIO) is established, and a VAWG Commissioner appointed to ensure progress is maintained.

Defending the high costs that would be involved in its recommendations, the report says urgent action is required to prevent women and their children from violence.

COSLA's Community Wellbeing spokesperson, Maureen Chalmers, said: "COSLA appreciates the commitment shown to ensuring Local Government involvement and the Review's cross-governmental approach. 
"I look forward to forthcoming discussions with COSLA Leaders and the Scottish Government on its ambitious recommendations."

The report’s recommendations will take several years to be fully implemented, and the Scottish Government and COSLA have been asked to provide a timeline for implementation by December 2023.