THE Scottish Government should appoint a commissioner for violence against women and girls to ensure it is meeting human rights obligations, an independent review has said.

The report set out a long-term plan to transform violence against women and girls (VAWG) work in Scotland, and said that women and children should be given a legal guarantee of assistance from their local authority when they have been subjected to violent behaviour.

In addition, the body said these services must comply with international human rights standards after finding Scotland is not compliant with a number of important conventions, including the Istanbul Convention which recognises violence against women as a violation of human rights.

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The Independent Strategic Review Group of Funding and Commissioning of VAWG Services in Scotland has now published a paper setting out 53 recommendations that members say will position Scotland “as an exemplar of best practice”.

It includes providing women the legal right to - and guaranteed funding for - minimum VAWG services such as legal and psychological counselling, financial assistance, housing, education, training and assistance in finding employment.

The review included more than 100 engagement events with women, children and young people across Scotland, and heard evidence that current services do not work for large numbers of women and children, particularly those from minority ethnic communities, as well as older, younger and disabled women.

Plans to provide a legal right to services would mean that funding would no longer rely on short-term funding rounds from a variety of sources, which can disadvantage smaller organisations.

Instead, the recommendations set out moving to a model of “collaborative commissioning”, essentially a model that would ring-fence the funding and devolve it to local authorities, instead of centrally, as is currently the case.

The report called for a Commissioner to be appointed “covering all aspects” of VAWG and to establish an Istanbul Implementation Observatory, to “assess progress against international standards”.

The Commissioner and Observatory would ensure progress in achieving the 53 recommendations set out by the report.

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The chairwoman 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.”

Local government body Cosla’s community wellbeing spokeswoman 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.”

It is likely 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.