Thursday 28 September 2017
Experts from across justice, education and health will be invited to contribute to fresh action to prevent sexual crime, particularly offences involving young people. The announcement follows new research commissioned by Justice Secretary Michael Matheson which suggests that around half of the growth in all recorded sexual crimes between 2013-14 and 2016-17 has been due to growth in sexual ‘cyber-crime’.
The findings, which follow a recent summit hosted by the Solicitor General on educating young people on sexual crimes, also indicate that the average age of both perpetrators and victims is substantially lower when the internet is used as a means to commit such offences.
The Parliament was host to an event held by Colleges Scotland this week showcasing some of the fantastic work being carried out across the country.
I caught up with staff and students from both City of Glasgow College who were on hand to chat about the Construction Crafts departments and Glasgow Kelvin College who were showcasing their UK India Education and Research Initiative.
This young woman pictured with me is currently studying painting and decorating within the Construction and Built Environment department of City of Glasgow College. A great ambassador for both the college and the trades!
The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Stage 1 debate took place this week in Parliament and I took the opportunity to participate and highlight the work being carried out by the CEDAR project run by Glasgow Women’s Aid.
You can access my contribution here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/ReportSelectPage.aspx?type=plenary&year=2017&page=0&meeting=-1
Deputy First Minister John Swinney met with UK First Secretary of State Damian Green to discuss the issues surrounding the current draft of the EU Withdrawal Bill. The meeting was an opportunity to exchange views between the Scottish Government and the UK Government on Brexit and to discuss the current draft of the EU Withdrawal Bill.
Whilst the discussions were constructive the Scottish Government remain absolutely clear that, as things stand, they will not recommend to the Scottish Parliament that it gives its consent to the EU Withdrawal Bill.
The bill as currently drafted is impractical and unworkable. It is a blatant power grab which would take existing competence over a wide range of devolved policy areas, including aspects of topics like agriculture and fishing, away from Holyrood, giving them instead to Westminster and Whitehall.
Scottish Ministers will continue to talk to the UK Government so that the bill is changed to protect devolution whilst emphasising to the First Secretary of State that the consent of the Scottish Parliament is required if there is to be agreement in this process.
UK Ministers should be in no doubt – to override a vote of the Scottish Parliament and impose the EU Withdrawal Bill on Scotland would be an extraordinary and unprecedented step to take.
The current proposals are a direct threat to the devolution settlement which the people of Scotland overwhelmingly voted for in 1997.
Youthlink Scotland were in Parliament this week promoting the role youth work is playing in closing the attainment gap.
In meeting the challenge of closing the attainment gap formal education providers need to work differently with a range of partners.
Youth work has a long track record of effective prevention and intervention work with young people, supporting them to be more resilient, optimistic for the future, consider risk, make reasoned decisions and take control.
Good quality youth work provides for all our young people but most importantly for those furthest away from reaching their potential.
School Library Improvement Fund
The Scottish Government is allocating £1 million to improve school libraries over the next three years.
Launched by the Deputy First Minister, the School Library Improvement Fund will be open for education authorities to apply for funding on behalf of school libraries in their area.
It will fund projects designed to enhance library provision at schools, as part of a wider approach to improve literacy skills and educational attainment.
The fund will be administered by SLIC to support projects in four priority areas – reader development, digital creativity, information literacy and health and social wellbeing.
Details on how to apply are available on the SLIC website: www.scottishlibraries.org/funding/school-library-improvement-fund/
Generations Working Together
I had the pleasure of meeting up with staff at Generations Working Together (GWT) in their Wilson Street offices last week to discuss their project.
GWT provides information, delivers support and encourages involvement to benefit all of Scotland’s generations, by working, learning, volunteering and living together.
Their vision is all generations in Scotland working together to create a better and fairer country for all a vision I very much welcome and champion.
A new Scotland-wide awareness-raising campaign on the dangers of sepsis has been announced by Health Secretary Shona Robison.
Health Secretary Shona Robison made the announcement following a meeting with the sepsis awareness charity Fiona Elizabeth Agnew Trust (FEAT).
The campaign will raise awareness amongst Scots of the often-silent symptoms of the condition, which can be fatal if not caught in time. It will also complement the work already being done by Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) through the Scottish Patient Safety Programme to raise awareness both among clinical practitioners and clinicians.
TV and Film Industry
The Scottish Parliament’s Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee are conducting an inquiry into Scotland’s TV and film industry. The Committee wants to look at ways to strengthen and develop the sector using recommendations from the Screen Sector Leadership Group’s report.
The Screen Sector Leadership Group (SSLG) was established on the recommendation of the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee in a report it published on the economic impact of the film, TV and video games industries in 2015. The Screen Sector Leadership Group brought together senior representatives of the Scottish Screen industry to recommend actions to strengthen and develop the sector.
You can find out more about the call for views and submit written evidence by visiting the Committee’s website.