Violence as Public Health Issue

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Delivering for Scotland #25: Violence Prevention

Under SNP governments, Scotland has become a safer country – with crime down 45%. As well as boosting police officer numbers and ensuring Police Scotland is properly funded, the SNP approach to reducing violent crime has benefitted from a focus on prevention – to tackle the causes of violence, not just the symptoms.

The SNP Scottish Government has taken a world-leading public health approach to tackling violence, as advocated by the World Health Organisation. This includes prevention activity such as education and early intervention, coupled with appropriate law enforcement as necessary.

Supported by SNP government funding, the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit of Police Scotland has led the way on this. It treats violence as an infection which can be cured – with strong, world-renowned results in reducing knife crime.

The SVRU has worked with various partners and programmes on this, including Medics Against Violence, Navigator, No Knives Better Lives and Mentors in Violence Prevention. In total, the SNP has invested more than £20 million in violence prevention since 2007.

Over half of all violent crime is thought to be alcohol-related. That is why the SNP has taken forward a number of actions to reduce alcohol misuse in Scotland, including minimum unit pricing.

Building on progress in reducing violent crime, the SNP is working specifically to tackle violence against women and girls. This has included delivering the Domestic Abuse Act, and the move to give police and the courts new powers to remove suspected abusers from victims’ homes.

Violent crime, has fallen substantially over the last decade. This is down to the work of police, wider public services, the third sector and communities themselves – supported by Scotland’s firm focus on early intervention and prevention work.

– Humza Yousaf MSP, Scottish Government Justice Secretary