Rape (Early Stages of Dating)

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 5 September 2019.

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Photo of Stuart McMillan Stuart McMillan Scottish National Party

4. To ask the First Minister what action the Scottish Government is taking in response to Police Scotland figures that show that more than 160 people have reported being raped in the very early stages of dating in 2018-19. (S5F-03499)

The First Minister:

All forms of violence against women and girls is a violation of human rights and must not be tolerated. I welcome Police Scotland’s new campaign, which seeks to tackle sexual violence head on and to make it clear that sex without consent is always rape.

We are working with schools, colleges, universities and employers to deliver prevention programmes through our equally safe strategy. We continue to pilot, with Rape Crisis Scotland and Zero Tolerance, a whole-school approach to tackling gender-based violence. We also support Rape Crisis Scotland’s national sexual violence prevention programme, which has been expanded to all Scottish local authorities.

However, only by tackling outdated attitudes in society can we create the conditions for sexual violence to be reduced and, ultimately, eradicated, which should be an aim for all of us.

Photo of Stuart McMillan Stuart McMillan Scottish National Party

I recognise that the #GetConsent campaign is aimed primarily at men aged between 18 and 35 because that is the peak age for offending. However, does the First Minister agree that informed discussions about sex and consent need to take place in school settings in order to prevent sexual crime in the first place?

The First Minister:

I agree strongly with that, which is why the work that I referred to in my earlier answer is so important. Education and prevention are the clear focus of the equally safe strategy, for the reasons that Stuart McMillan talked about.

We want every child and young person in Scotland to develop mutually respectful, responsible and confident relationships with other children, young people and adults. In the summer, we published a resource for professionals that aims to help them to support young people in their understanding of healthy relationships and consent. In addition, national guidance for schools will be developed to set out the range of support, and the practical prevention and intervention measures that are available to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people.