Public Health Scotland (PHS) has today published six briefings that outline the relationship between Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) and Scotland’s public health priorities.

In Scotland, VAWG is a major public health issue. Gender and sex are important determinants of health with many health conditions, health behaviours and exposures to health risks varying because of gender inequality. We know it is important to consider gender and recognise the impact of gender inequality to address VAWG.

The briefings take this into account and offer recommendations for what a public health response to VAWG could look like, highlighting:

  • The challenges faced by women in Scotland to live in safe places and communities;
  • The early years shape attitudes towards violence against women and how the impact of experiencing violence as children can impact on adulthood;
  • The challenges faced by women in Scotland to achieve positive mental health;
  • The complex relationship with alcohol and drugs;
  • The weaker economic position of women in Scotland, relative to men; and
  • The barriers to eating well, having a healthy weight and being physically active.

Claire Sweeney, Director of Place and Wellbeing at PHS, said:

“Tackling violence against women and girls is everyone’s business. The briefings we’ve published today make clear the links between gender and health. To achieve Scotland’s public health priorities, we must address violence against women and girls.

By recognising this as a public health issue, we can strengthen local and national leadership and tackle the inequality of outcomes experienced by women and children within our communities.

It is critical for all of us across the public sector, community planning partners, and third sector organisations to consider the application of the recommendations outlined in the briefings. We all need to work together, to focus our efforts on adopting a public health approach to violence against women and girls in Scotland”.

View the VAWG and public health priorities briefings.

Last updated: 19 October 2023