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High Hopes? The Gender Equality Duty and its Impact on Responses to Gender-based Violence

Lookup NU author(s): Jenny Johnstone


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From 2007 until the Single Equality Act 2010 came into force, UK legislation in the form of the Gender Equality Duty (GED) required public authorities to take gender equality into consideration in all their policies, functions and services. This article traces the development and implementation of the GED in Scotland, following a period of constitutional reform. It outlines its scope and focuses on its perceived potential as a policy tool for driving practical and cultural change in the way public bodies, particularly those responsible for the delivery of criminal justice, respond to gender-based violence. It draws on documentary analysis of gender equality schemes and action plans and a set of qualitative interviews undertaken with policy actors and third sector women’s groups, as part of a wider study exploring the impact of the GED, and reflects on examples where gender equality outcomes are explicitly taken into account in responses to gender-based violence. In so doing, it highlights the distinctive approach taken to gender-based violence in Scotland. The article argues that despite some evidence of mainstreaming, the real potential for change afforded by the (short-lived) GED was never fully realised.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Burman M, Johnstone J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Policy and Politics

Year: 2015

Volume: 43

Issue: 1

Pages: 45-60

Print publication date: 01/01/2015

Online publication date: 01/01/2015

Acceptance date: 01/01/1900

ISSN (print): 0305-5736

ISSN (electronic): 1470-8442

Publisher: Policy Press


DOI: 10.1332/030557312X655846


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