Malcolm calls for domestic abuse courts across Scotland
Question: Violence against women Malcolm Chisholm (Edinburgh North and Leith) (Lab): To ask the Scottish Executive what support it will provide to organisations and initiatives that are seeking to combat violence against women to support the women affected.

The Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing (Nicola Sturgeon): Tackling violence against women is a high priority for the Scottish Government and, I am sure, for every member of the Parliament. We value the work that is done by Scottish Women's Aid, Rape Crisis Scotland and many others in combating such violence. We will carefully consider the funding to support such organisations, to develop further the work around violence against women and to support the women and children who are affected.

Malcolm Chisholm:
Will the Scottish Government support the statement of intent that the women's coalition yesterday sent to all members of the Scottish Parliament, which asked for a commitment to tackle violence against women in the next four years? Can the Government reassure the many organisations that support women who are affected by male violence and which are increasingly concerned about funding beyond April 2008? Will the Government build on current work to change public attitudes and behaviour? Will it also, as part of ensuring effective legal protection, extend the successful Glasgow domestic abuse court to other parts of Scotland, and take action to address the appalling findings of last week's report about the use of sexual history and character in rape trials?

The Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing (Nicola Sturgeon):
First, I acknowledge Malcolm Chisholm's commitment and track record on this matter, and I hope that we can build substantial consensus. I support the statement of intent to which he referred in his question.

On funding for organisations, I refer to Stewart Maxwell's comments of a few moments ago. We recognise that the delay in the comprehensive spending review, which is caused by the Westminster Government, will bring uncertainty to some organisations, and we will make announcements as soon as we possibly can. In the meantime, I hope that Malcolm Chisholm will accept my assurance that the Scottish Government gives the highest priority to combating violence against women and children.
September 27th 2007, (Column 2217-8)