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  1. MSPs take evidence on health care and NHS governance
  2. Lib Dem MSP asks for an update on the impact of shutting down the Forties pipeline running through Aberdeenshire
  3. There is one topical question about the reports from HMICS and Audit Scotland on police governance
  4. The Scottish government leads a debate entitled 'Celebrating our Future - Scotland's Year of Young People
  5. Labour MSP Rhoda Grant uses her member's debate to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Tackling Commercial Sexual Exploitation

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Louise Wilson

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all from Holyrood Live

    Ms Brown and Mr Morton

    That's all from Holyrood Live on Tuesday 12 December.

    Brave testimony from Fraser Morton revealed the maternity ward staffing levels were 30% less than they should have had on the night his son Lucas died.

    He suggested HIS was not fit for purpose.

    A ray of optimism came from Ella Brown, who said patient safety has improved in NHS Fife following her campaign to improve patient safety in NHS Fife after her father died in hospital due to a fall.

  2. The government will continue to support the Challenge Demand project

    Ms Ewing says there is always more to do.

    The community safety and legal affairs minister says the government has committeed to establishing a multi agency group to tackle the effects of commercial sexual exploitation.

    She says the government will continue to support the Challenge Demand project and support pathways out of prostitution.

    The minister says the government will continue to reflect on the evidence it amasses and will continue to reduce harm.

  3. Limited evidence base on prostitution in Scotland

    Legal Affairs and Community Safety Minister Annabelle Ewing describes the government's Equally Safe strategy as "ambitious" as it seeks to address the inequalities behind violence against women.

    Referring to independent research published by the government on the commercial sex industry, she highlights limitations in the evidence base are "considerable".

    She says the current approach is based on existing evidence and therefore focuses on harm reduction and decreasing the numbers of women going into prostitution in the first place.

    Legal Affairs and Community Safety Minister Annabelle Ewing
  4. SNP MSP backs the 'Nordic model' for policing prostitution

    SNP MSP Ivan McKee
    Image caption: SNP MSP Ivan McKee

    SNP MSP Ivan McKee says he supports the motion and the introduction of the Nordic model.

    The "Nordic model" is where the police go after the purchasers of sex by handing out tough fines or prison sentences to punters, and leave the sex workers in peace.

    In other words, the aim is to stifle demand.

    It was a policy adopted by Sweden in 1999 and it's since been copied by a host of other countries including Iceland, Canada, Norway and recently Northern Ireland.

    The European Parliament wants more member countries to adopt the model.

  5. Police should help sex workers, 'not jail them'

    Tory MSP Maurice Corry says everyone in society should be working together to tackle the "blight" of violence against women.

    On prostitution specifically, he notes sex workers are frequently victims of violent assault - and not just from clients.

    "Sex workers should know the police are there to help them, not jail them."

    Maurice Corry MSP
  6. Background: Trafficking victims found in remote Scottish communities

    The Scottish government has launched a campaign to raise awareness of human trafficking

    Victims of human trafficking have been identified in small and remote Scottish communities including Alva, Annan and Fort William, ministers have said.

    The Scottish government laid out where victims of trafficking had been located over the past five years to illustrate how close to home the issue can be.

    All of Scotland's major cities feature on the list, alongside smaller towns.

    Read more here.

  7. 'Prostitution is a form of violence against women'

    SNP MSP Kate Forbes
    Image caption: SNP MSP Kate Forbes

    SNP MSP Kate Forbes says as long as there is demand for commercial sex "we will never live in a country free of violence against women".

    Ms Forbes says: "Prostitution is a form of violence against women."

    She cites outrage at the revelation that a landlord was making women pay sex as rent.

    The SNP says if you accept the principle that nothing is wrong with buying sex, how do you make supply meet demand.

    She says there are not enough women to provide the supply without coercion.

    "If sex work is work then poverty is necessary."

  8. Background: Equally Safe

    The Scottish Government published "Equally Safe, A Delivery Plan for Scotland’s strategy to prevent and eradicate violence against women and girls 2017-21” at the end of November.

    Four priority areas set out on the plan were:

    • ensuring that Scottish society embraces equality and mutual respect, and rejects violence
    • that women and girls thrive as equal citizens
    • that interventions are early, effective and maximise the safety of women, children and young people
    • that men desist from violence and perpetrators receive a robust and effective response
    Equally Safe
  9. Correlation between gender inequality and violence against women

    Around the world, countries with the highest rates of violence against women are also the countries with the widest gender equality gaps, says Tory MSP Alison Harris.

    She notes there has been progress on the issue but more is needed.

    Alison Harris MSP
  10. SNP MSP says vocal minority must not negate wider harm of prostitution

    SNP MSP Ruth Maguire
    Image caption: SNP MSP Ruth Maguire

    SNP MSP Ruth Maguire says: "I want all women to be safe."

    Surely we have to act to dismantle the structures that make women unsafe, she says.

    Ms Maguire says: "I hear the vocal minority of women who say that they find selling sexual access to their bodies personally and economically empowering.

    "But their individual comfort in their situation does not negate the wider harm caused by accepting a society where sexual access to women and girls can be bought and sold.

    "Where women and girls are treated like commodities."

  11. Background: SNP backs changes to criminalise those paying for sex

    The Scottish National Party backed changes to prostitution laws to criminalise those paying for sex, but not those who sell it.

    According to a reoprt in the Independent delegates at the party’s conference in Aberdeen voted in favour of a motion proposing a “Scottish model” to handle prostitution, similar to the "Nordic model" used in Scandinavian countries.

    The resolution, proposed by MSP Ash Denham, stated that “commercial sexual exploitation, including prostitution and human trafficking, is a form of violence against women”.

    For example, while indoor sex work is legal in Scotland, more than one person working together is considered an illegal brothel.

  12. 'No other form of violence against women is tolerated'

    Elaine Smith MSP

    Labour MSP Elaine Smith says pornography is "on the spectrum" of sexual exploitation.

    She suggests prostitution, pornography and other parts of the sex industry are part of a "web of organised crime".

    Ms Smith says no other form of violence against women is tolerated, arguing the "time is right" to make purchasing sex a criminal offence.

    "It is clear that women enter prostitution for socioeconomic reasons, not inspirational ones."

  13. SNP MSP says some survivors call prositution 'pay as you go rape'

    SNP MSP Ash Denham
    Image caption: SNP MSP Ash Denham

    SNP MSP Ash Denham says across Scotland there are thousands of women whose daily reality is no equality or safety in relation to men.

    Ms Denham says thousands of women are degraded and debased by men.

    She says these men treat a women's body as a commodity.

    The SNP MSP says some suvivors have described prostitution as "pay as you go rape".

    She says it is appalling that it is not a crime for men to pay for sex with women.

  14. Background: Violence against sex workers: 'He was there to kill me'


    Violence against sex workers: 'He was there to kill me'

    Sex workers say they are being left more vulnerable to attack by laws making it illegal for them to share premises for safety, and that they feel unable to report abuse.

    Two such women have spoken to the Victoria Derbyshire programme.

    "I understand I am a sex worker for a living, but I deserve the same human rights as everybody else," says Suzanne - not her real name.

    Born in Romania, she has been a sex worker in Soho, London, for five years.

    "Every time I come forward to report violence I end up threatened to be arrested and prosecuted for working in a brothel," she says.

    "Next time I suffer violence, I sure as hell won't report it."

    Read more here.

  15. Government must look to address economic drivers behind prostitution

    Tory MSP Liam Kerr expresses concern about the motion, arguing that prostitution is not always exploitation and violence against women.

    He says holding the purchaser accountable would not help address the health or economic drivers behind the offer of sex which has driven women to prostitution.

    He argues it is important to ""address the cause as well as the symptom".

    He calls for proposals to be scrutinised to ensure there are no unintended consequences.

    Liam Kerr MSP
  16. Background: Margo MacDonald

    SNP leader Alex Salmond led a tribute to Ms MacDonald at the SNP spring conference in 2014
    Image caption: SNP leader Alex Salmond led a tribute to Ms MacDonald at the SNP spring conference in 2014

    The late Margo MacDonald took on the controversial issue of prostitution, introducing a bill to legalise prostitute "tolerance zones".

    The move was prompted after a long-running experiment, operating in Edinburgh's Leith area and judged to have been a success, was scrapped after complaints from residents - although welfare workers said the move had led to an increase in attacks on prostitutes.

    The chances of Ms MacDonald's legislation making it through parliament were slim, but it did prompt a debate and she eventually withdrew the bill after saying Scottish ministers were taking action to look at the issue.

    She was seen by many as championing the rights and safety of prostitutes

    Read more about Margo Macdonald here.

  17. SNP MSP praises the late Margo MacDonald for her work on sex worker protection

    Rona Mackay MSP

    SNP MSP Rona Mackay says violence and sexual exploitation is an abuse of human rights.

    She commends the strategy for taking account of "children caught on the crossfire" of abuse for the first time.

    She praises the work of the late Margo MacDonald MSP, who campaigned strongly to increase protection for sex workers.

  18. Ms Grant says paying for sex should be a criminal offence

    Labour MSP Rhoda Grant
    Image caption: Labour MSP Rhoda Grant

    Labour MSP Rhoda Grant says if we are to fulflill the vison of the Equally Safe strategy then we must work to eradicate prostitution.

    Ms Grant says that can only come about when the men that use prostitutes are targeted.

    She calls for more funds to help women get out of prostitution.

    The Labour MSP says people exiting prostitution will have have complex problems.

    Ms Grant says paying for sex should be a criminal offence.

  19. Background: 16 Days of Activism

    The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence runs annually from 25 November (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day).

    The theme for this year is “Leave No One Behind”.

    This builds on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals agreed in 2015, which includes a pledge stating “no one will be left behind” when it comes to gender equality and the empowerment of women.

    Orange the World
  20. Women's rights 'set aside' when it comes to prostitution

    Rhoda Grant MSP

    Labour MSP Rhoda Grant says the rights of women and girls are "set aside" with prostitution, with "sexual gratification" taking priority.

    She says the Scottish government's Equally Safe strategy lacks "vision, commitment and resources" to tackle commercial sexual exploitation.

    She highlights prostitutes are more likely to suffer psychological problems and drug addiction.