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Summary

  1. Next: Violence against women debate

Live Reporting

By Ailsa Brown and Craig Hutchison

All times stated are UK

That's all from us

That concludes our coverage of the Scottish Parliament on 4 December 2014.

Remember, you can watch all today's chamber proceedings and the Devolution Committee at your leisure this evening at

BBC Scotland's Democracy Live website.

Holyrood at night
BBC

'Never ever tolerated'

Ms Burgess concludes her speech by saying the message from this parliament should be loud and clear that domestic violence is never normal, never acceptable and never ever to be tolerated and justified.

Abused woman
Science Photo Library

The motion and amendments from the violence against women debate are unanimously agreed to at decision time.

Government closing

Housing and Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess says the chamber is united in condemning violence against women and searching for ways to tackle it.

Ms Burgess praises the national organisations who support the victims.

Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess
BBC
Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess

She says the new first minister has committed to tackling gender inequality which can be the root cause of domestic abuse.

The minister says: "We will always protect children who are in a family where there is domestic abuse."

We have to a gendered analysis of violence against women, she says.

Madonna criticised

Ms Murray criticises "that silly exhibitionist Madonna, who apparently is taking her breasts out for photographers."

Madonna
Reuters
Madonna on tour two years ago

"She does a total disservice to women by continuing to collude with that objectification of women.

"That sort of behaviour needs to be condemned because it is doing women no good whatsoever."

Sexual harassment

Ms Murray says, shockingly, 59% of women aged 13 to 21 have experienced some form of sexual harassment.

Labour closing

Dr Elaine Murray praises the national advocacy and support agencies as well as the local groups many MSPs have mentioned.

Ms Murray highlights Mr Matheson's motion, which commends the valuable contribution that voluntary and third sector organisations such as Scottish Women's Aid, Rape Crisis Scotland and the Women's Support Project make to the shaping of Scotland's approach to violence against women.

Labour MSP Elaine Murray
BBC
Labour MSP Elaine Murray

It also praises the organisations for the vital support that they provide to women, children and young people who have experienced or are experiencing violence or abuse, and this year congratulates White Ribbon Scotland.

Conservative closing

Scottish Conservative MSP Mary Scanlon welcomes the tone in this consensual debate and says she is pleased the government has recognised the White Ribbon Campaign.

In closing for the Conservatives, Ms Scanlon says the impact on children of witnessing domestic violence can be a wide range of serious problems and health issues.

Conservative MSP Mary Scanlon
BBC
Conservative MSP Mary Scanlon

Most worryingly girls who witness domestic violence are more likely to pick a violent partner in the future, she says.

What is being done to ensure that the children of domestic abuse victims are looked after, Ms Scanlon asks the cabinet secretary.

White Ribbon Campaign

MSPs from across the chamber have praised the White Ribbon Campaign which is run by a group of men "who know that there's never an excuse for violence against women".

They pledge never to condone it, or to stand by when they know it's happening.

"We're part of a worldwide movement. There are thousands of us. Join us. Stand with us."

Catalogue of domestic abuse

Cara Hilton replaced Ex-MSP Bill Walker after a by-election.

Earlier this year

Walker lost a bid to overturn his convictions for assaulting a woman during a catalogue of domestic abuse that earned him a jail sentence.

Walker was jailed for 12 months last September after being found guilty of 23 assaults and one breach of the peace which spanned decades.

Bill Walker
PA

His case was heard by three judges at the Appeal Court in Edinburgh.

The 72-year-old was released from Dumfries Prison last month after serving six months of his sentence.

Walker was jailed after he was found guilty of attacking three former wives, Maureen Traquair, Anne Gruber and Diana Walker and a teenage step-daughter.

Cara Hilton

Labour MSP Cara Hilton says "as MSP for Dunfermline I'm very conscious that I'm only here in Holyrood today because of the offences my predecessor committed against the women in his life".

Labour MSP Cara Hilton
BBC
Labour MSP Cara Hilton

She continues "and the fact that those women were finally brave enough to come forward and report the domestic abuse".

Community Justice Bill

Domestic abuse
BBC

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the Community Justice Bill which will include a consultation on creating a specific domestic abuse offence and an offence for revenge porn.

Clare's father

Clare Wood's father, Michael Brown, who is originally from Aberdeen, campaigned for the introduction of the law and welcomed the pilot's launch.

He said: "It is not acceptable that domestic abuse exists in this day and age and the sooner people are helped to get out of that environment the better.

Clare's father Michael Brown
BBC
Clare Wood's father Michael Brown

"It not only affects the person who is being abused but their wider network including their parents, any children they may have and friends.

"If Clare had known George Appleton's background she almost certainly wouldn't have become involved with him and if I had the knowledge I have now perhaps something could have been done and Clare would still be here today.

"This scheme is another way to help people and I can only see it as a good thing. If it prevents just one child from growing up without a mother or a father it will be worth its weight in gold."

Clare's law

A scheme allowing people to find out whether their partner has a history of domestic violence, known as Clare's Law, is being

piloted in Aberdeen and Ayrshire.

Trials of the disclosure system began running from November.

Clare Wood
Greater Manchester Police
Clare's Law is named after Clare Wood, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 2009

It is named after Clare Wood, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in Salford, Greater Manchester, in 2009.

A similar scheme was rolled out in England and Wales earlier this year.

The Home Office said the pilots had provided more than 100 people with potentially life-saving information.

Police recorded 60,080 incidents of domestic abuse in Scotland in 2012-13, up slightly from 59,847 in the previous year.

Conservative view

Conservative MSP Nanette Milne says women are still often portrayed as sexual objects, which is "not acceptable in 21st century".

Ms Milne also makes reference to men who suffer domestic abuse and says "they are often forgotten because they are very much in the minority".

Conservative MSP Nanette Milne
BBC
Conservative MSP Nanette Milne

She also talks about female genital mutilation (FGM) and says it is "a brutal act of violence" and that she is appalled there has been no prosecutions in the nine years since the FGM Scotland Act 2005.

The North East Scotland MSP concludes by saying she particularly welcomes Clare's law currently being piloted in Aberdeen.

Dedication to murder victim

Labour MSP Graeme Pearson dedicates his speech to a woman he met 43 years ago when he was still a police officer.

Mr Pearson was director general of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency and also the head of the Violence Reduction Unit.

The week before Christmas she was his first homicide inquiry.

She had had the temerity to purchase Christmas presents for her children and her partner was so enraged he took off his shoes, put on boots and kicked her and stamped and punched her to death, says the Labour MSP

Mr Pearson says in the 43 years since then there's been thousands of women in Scotland who have faced the same behaviour and died.

Woman with head in hands
PA

In the last year we have records there were 60,000 incidents of domestic abuse in Scotland - women often suffer five times before the make official report he says.

Mr Pearson raises the issue of domestic abuse cases being delayed in the courts and urges the cab sec to look at the reasons for these delays and ensure they are kept to a minimum.

Labour's justice spokesperson Graeme Pearson

Labour MSP Graeme Pearson
BBC
Labour MSP Graeme Pearson

Labour MSP Graeme Pearson's amendment in full:

Violence against Women-As an amendment to motion S4M-11789 in the name of Michael Matheson (Violence against Women), insert at end ", and encourages the Scottish Government to enhance its efforts to deal head-on with the prevailing culture, exacerbated by some media, music and internet content, which promotes the view of women as sexual objects rather than as human beings who are worthy of the same equal rights and respect as men".

Revenge porn

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson says the government is looking at creating a specific offence of domestic abuse which will enable our justice system better respond to abuse.

Woman with head in hands
BBC
Women's aid charities have described revenge porn as being a form of domestic abuse

The government will bring forward work to create a specific offence of revenge porn, a growing problem as social media becomes an integral part of Scottish life says Mr Matheson.

He highlights the

Scottish Women's Aid Stop Revenge Porn website.

Scottish Women's Aid says it has become increasingly concerned about the use and abuse of technology to perpetrate domestic abuse.

It is particularly concerned about the threat of or the actual distribution of sexual/intimate images.

Commonly known as "revenge porn", it describes behaviour whereby images of a sexual/intimate nature are distributed non-consensually.

In July, Scottish Women's Aid launched a website to raise awareness of revenge porn, the first of its kind in the UK.

Equally Safe priorities

Four key priorities are set out within the strategy:

1. Scottish society embraces equality and mutual respect, and rejects all forms of violence against women and girls.

2. Women and girls thrive as equal citizens: socially, culturally, economically and politically.

3. Interventions are early and effective, preventing violence and maximising safety adn wellbeing of women and girls.

4. Men desist from all forms of violence against women and girls and perpetrators of such violence receive a robust and effective response.

While the strategy sets out some early commitments, it explains how a phased approach will help ensure that longer-term change is sustained.

Equally Safe: Scotland's strategy for preventing and eradicating violence against women and girls

Equally Safe sets out Scotland's strategy to take action on all forms of violence against women and girls.

While the overarching aim is to prevent and eradicate violence against women and girls, it identifies key priority areas.

Women looking scared
Science Photo Library

While the strategy sets out some early commitments, it explains how a phased approach will help ensure that the longer-term change is sustained.

The strategy has been produced by Scottish Government and COSLA, with input from key justice agencies (Police Scotland and COPFS) and from third sector agencies which support women.

The overall aim of the strategy is to prevent and eradicate violence against women and girls, creating a strong and flourishing Scotland where all individuals are equally safe and respected, and where women and girls live free from such abuse - and the attitudes that help perpetuate it.

Justice Secretary

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson says it is "intolerable that violence against women is still a part of Scottish life".

This debate is timely, he says, as it coincides with the annual

16 days of global action.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson
BBC
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson

The aim of the 16 days of action is to raise awareness and trigger action to end the global scourge of violence against women and girls, the UN observes International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November.

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence which follow (ending on 10 December, Human Rights Day) are a chance to mobilize and raise awareness.

Mr Matheson highlights the 365 days of action in Scotland , where "day in and day out police, prosecutors, courts and advocacy groups tackle the blight on our society that is violence against women".

Violence against Women debate

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson will now lead a debate focusing on violence against women.

His motion is below, in full:

S4M-11789 Michael Matheson: Violence against Women-That the Parliament affirms its commitment to ending violence against women and to supporting women, children and young people who are affected; supports the 24th year of the UN 16 Days of Action Against Gender Violence; welcomes the publication of Equally Safe, Scotland's strategy for preventing and eradicating violence against women and girls; endorses the inclusion of far-reaching priority actions in the programme for government to address domestic abuse and revenge pornography; welcomes the introduction of Police Scotland's pilot Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse in Scotland; acknowledges the positive developments made collaboratively utilising partnerships across Police Scotland and the NHS and specialist services to eradicate honour-based violence, with the criminalisation of forced marriage and establishment of the Female Genital Mutilation Short-Life Working Group; commends the valuable contribution that voluntary and third sector organisations such as Scottish Women's Aid, Rape Crisis Scotland and the Women's Support Project make to the shaping of Scotland's approach to violence against women and for the vital support that they provide to women, children and young people who have experienced or are experiencing violence or abuse, and this year congratulates White Ribbon Scotland on its eighth anniversary of positive campaigning to ensure that men are part of Scotland's strategy to end gender-based violence.

Man about to hit woman
Science Photo Library
MSPs debate how best to tackle violence against women

Closing speech of human rights debate

Independent MSP John Finnie, the Justice Committee Rapporteur to the SNAP process, says he is glad the SNAP process is up and running and congratulates them on a "first class annual report".

The Rapporteur says it is encouraging to hear from Professor Miller that the approach taken in Scotland is perceived internationally as one of the most collaborative in Europe.

Independent MSP John Finnie
BBC
Independent MSP John Finnie

Mr Finnie says he particularly welcomes the announcement from Mr Neil of the awareness raising campaign, which is "terribly, terribly important".

The Rapporteur meets the Chair of the SNAP Leadership Panel twice a year to receive a briefing on the SNAP process, and to report back to the Committee after each such meeting.

Scottish government

Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil says Education Secretary Angela Constance will return to the chamber before the Christmas recess in relation to survivors of historic child sexual abuse.

Mr Neil says this has been a short but good debate and when it comes to human rights we all need to be continually on our watch.

Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners' Rights Secretary Alex Neil
BBC
Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners' Rights Secretary Alex Neil

The cabinet secretary says he will seek meetings with human rights issues to make the Scottish government's opposition to withdrawing from the European Convention of Human Rights and the creation, by the Conservatives, of a British Bill of Rights.

Labour closing

Labour's Graeme Pearson says there is much work to be done on human rights and that work has to be led by this parliament.

The work is absolutely vital if each of us are to be able to play a full part of in what a modern Scotland will be like in the future, says Mr Pearson.

Labour justice spokesperson
BBC
Labour justice spokesperson

He highlights the human rights of the disabled, children, prisoners, migrants, asylum seekers, victims of crime and survivors of historic child abuse.

The idea of human rights can cause the heckles to rise in some part of our community says Mr Pearson and he recommends Alex Neil re-analyse our national approach to freedom of information.

Conservative view

Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell says last year members expressed their support for SNAP unanimously and that consensus remains.

SNAP has made considerable progress, says the Tory MSP.

Margaret Mitchell
BBC

Ms Mitchell says SNAP has already attracted interest from around the world, which is testament to the Scottish Human Rights Commission.

Stop and search

Liberal Democrat MSP Alison McInnes says SNAP has made an impact and good progress in the first year.

Ms McInnes says she welcomes the announcement of the cabinet secretary of awareness raising campaign.

Liberal Democrat MSP Alison McInnes
BBC
Liberal Democrat MSP Alison McInnes

She says that stop and search is intolerable and she is still astonished this government permits the police to conduct hundreds of thousands of these violations each year.

European Court of Human Rights

European Court of Human Rights
Getty Images
European Court of Human Rights

Analysis

Analysis by legal correspondent Clive Coleman

The European Convention on Human Rights was concluded in the aftermath of World War Two, drafted by British lawyers and supported by Winston Churchill.

Winston Churchill
BBC
Winston Churchill

It enshrined human rights that applied equally to all, the good guys and the bad guys.

The UK signed up to that and to a 'club', The Council of Europe, whose members work cooperatively on matters relating to human rights and the rule of law across Europe.

A condition of membership is abiding by the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights.

These proposals address what is described as mission creep, decisions of that court into areas never intended.

They amount to saying, we want to change the rules of the club as they apply to us and we want to be able to limit human rights in respect of some people who abuse their responsibilities.

European Convention of Human Rights

SNP MSP Rod Campbell says: "Whatever the intention of the Conservative party I believe there's a very limited appetite in Scotland to replace the European Convention of Human Rights with any British Bill of Rights."

The Conservatives at Westminster have described their plans to stop British laws being overruled by human rights judgements from Strasbourg as "viable and legal".

SNP MSP Roderick Campbell
BBC
SNP MSP Roderick Campbell

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said if the Tories won the 2015 election, a new Bill of Rights would give UK courts and Parliament the "final say".

There should be no "legal blank cheque to take human rights into areas where they have never applied", he added.

The Tories at Westminster have also said they would be prepared to exercise their right to withdraw from the European Convention if Parliament and the British courts could not veto laws from applying to the UK.

The Council of Europe, comprising European Convention member states, said it was "inconceivable" that the UK, as a founding member, could leave.

The European Court of Human Rights
Council of Europe
UK ministers say the European Court of Human Rights is over-reaching itself

But But former Attorney General Dominic Grieve - who was sacked as attorney general in July - questioned how such changes could be enforced in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Conservatives

Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell says SNAP's first annual report is "a very well crafted and structured report" and one that belongs to numerous organisations.

The plan is "particularly impressive for its inclusive and collaborated approach", she says.

This is no top down devised report where after a while it will gather dust on a shelf she insists.

Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell
BBC
Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell

"It is a live vibrant plan "

Crucially the plan focuses on outcomes she says.

During his evidence to the Justice Committee Professor Alan Miller indicated that an Apology Law is very much a part of the draft action plan concerning children who suffered historic abuse.

Labour

Labour MSP Elaine Murray says today we celebrate the first annual report from SNAP and highlights the benefits of a human rights approach to policy development.

"We face many gaps in human rights in Scotland."

Labour MSP Elaine Murray
BBC
Labour MSP Elaine Murray

Ms Murray says SNAP is unusual and welcome as it is not government led, but involves 40 non governmental organisations.

SNAP aims to provide justice to children, disabled people and the survivors of historic sexual abuse, amongst others.

'Much more to do'

This parliament will this afternoon debate violence against women, says the cabinet secretary, which is a fundamental breach of human rights and which we want to eradicate from our society.

Mr Neil highlights the problems of poverty, stigma around minorities and a lack of equality.

There is much more to do to ensure the people of Scotland understand their rights, says the minister.

He says the Scottish government will work with with the Scottish Human Rights Commission to create an awareness raising campaign to ensure greater understanding of why rights matter and how people can claim them.

SHRC

Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil says a modern inclusive Scotland protects and respects the human rights of all its citizens.

Next week marks the first anniversary of SNAP and it is creating a collaborative partnerships to promote human rights across Scotland,he says.

Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners' Rights Secretary Alex Neil
BBC
Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners' Rights Secretary Alex Neil

Mr Neil praises the

Scottish Human Rights Commission and commends the first SNAP report.

Human rights

Tribute to Mandela in sand
Getty Images

We often take human rights for granted, until they are threatened, eroded or withdrawn says Ms Grahame.

Human rights issues are considered by the Justice Committee all the time, she says.

Chair of The Scottish Human Rights Commission

On 18 February 2014, the Committee took evidence on SNAP from Professor Alan Miller, Chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC) and Chair of the SNAP Leadership Panel.

Professor Alan Miller
Stuart Nicol
Professor Alan Miller has been chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission since 2007

Following that meeting, the Committee agreed to facilitate a parliamentary debate on human rights to coincide with the SNAP annual report being laid before the Parliament in late 2014.

The Committee also agreed to appoint John Finnie MSP as Rapporteur to the SNAP process.

The Rapporteur meets the Chair of the SNAP Leadership Panel twice a year to receive a briefing on the SNAP process, and to report back to the Committee after each such meeting.

Justice Committee convener

Justice Committee convener Christine Grahame emphasises that human rights are not separate, but should permeate all areas of public life.

Justice Committee Convener Christine Grahame
BBC
Justice Committee Convener Christine Grahame

Ms Grahame outlines the outcomes of SNAP as Better Culture, Better Lives and Better Worlds.

The SNP MSP praises the

SNAP report, saying it is informative and easy to read.

SNAP

According to the

SNAP website:

"Scotland's National Action Plan for Human Rights (SNAP) is a roadmap for the realisation of all internationally recognised human rights.

"It is based on evidence and broad participation. It has been developed by a Drafting Group from across the public and voluntary sectors and overseen by an Advisory Council whose members reflect the diversity of Scottish civic life.

"Our vision is of a Scotland in which everyone is able to live with human dignity.

"SNAP will coordinate action by a wide range of public bodies and voluntary organisations towards achieving this vision.

" It is not a traditional action plan but a transformative programme of action including agreed outcomes, priorities and a process for working together from 2013 - 2017 to progressively realise the potential of human rights in all areas of life."

Welcome back and coming up

Welcome back to

BBC Scotland's Democracy Live coverage of the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 4 December.

Scottish Parliament debating chamber
PA

Later this afternoon MSPs will debate how best to tackle violence against women.

First though, the

Justice Committee will lead a debate on
Scotland's National Action Plan for Human Rights or SNAP.

That's lunch

The parliament is suspended until 2.30pm.