Gender-Based Violence Project


Power Women: Gender-Based Violence and Leadership Course

Power Women has been designed to empower people with learning disabilities who identify as women with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to become leaders and make Scotland a better place for women and girls with learning disabilities who have experienced gender-based violence.

To find out more, and apply for the course, you can read these leaflets:

What is Gender-Based Violence or ‘GBV’?

Public Health Scotland states that Gender-Based violence (GBV) is a “major public health, equality and human rights issue. It covers a spectrum of violence and abuse, committed primarily, but not exclusively, against women by men”.

The United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women defines “violence against women” [as] “*any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.

Our Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Project

Research has found that women with learning disabilities are disproportionately at risk from GBV when compared to their peers in the general population.

The Scottish Commission for People with Learning Disabilities’ (SCLD) Gender-Based Violence project is a 2 year project, funded by the Scottish Government‘s Delivering Equally Safe Fund. The project will be designed and delivered in partnership with People First Scotland’s Equally Safe Group, with the aim of ensuring that women and girls with learning disabilities, and the services who support them, are better able to recognise and report abuse, and to access justice and support.

This will mean both learning disability services and universal gender-based violence services provide more accessible, holistic and effective support to women with learning disabilities who experience GBV.

To achieve this, the project has four key strands of work:

Conducting research into:

  • Accessibility of GBV services and routes to justice for women with learning disabilities in Scotland
  • Services and service delivery that would benefit women with learning disabilities experiencing GBV;
  • Barriers within existing legislation and policy that prevent women with learning disabilities accessing appropriate support.

Products and resources:

The project will also involve designing and delivering a leadership course for women with learning disabilities to increase knowledge around GBV, as well as helping women to build the skills and confidence needed to take part in influencing policy and practice decisions that affect them.

Following the findings from the research stage of the project, SCLD will produce an accessibility audit tool for GBV services. The aim is for this to be used by support services to understand barriers to accessing support for women with learning disabilities and to identify where change is needed.

Throughout the course of the project we will aim to influence relevant policy and legislation by attending specific steering groups, committees and policy groups to represent and reflect the experiences, needs and aspirations of women with learning disabilities.

The work will be overseen by the Scottish Women and Girls with Learning/Intellectual Disabilities Gender-Based Violence Steering Group.

This is a core group of key stakeholders, including professionals and people with learning/intellectual disabilities, with expertise and a shared commitment to working towards the elimination of GBV for people with learning disabilities.


Listen to a podcast: 16 Days of Action by Scottish Commission for People with Learning Disabilities (

Follow the link to our Google Drive* to access the latest project information and resources.

*Please note that we are currently building our resources library and we will update the Google Drive regularly.

More information

If you would like more information on the project please contact SCLD’s Gender-Based Violence Project Adviser, Michelle Mair, at:

Support information

Download our Easy Read document on how to access support if you, or someone you know or support has experienced GBV.

The NHS Scotland sexual assault self-referral phone service (SARCS) can also provide help and support for women who have experienced sexual violence. You can download their Easy Read guide on where to get help if you have recently been raped or sexually assaulted.