Partnership, power and policy: a case study of the Scottish Partnership on Domestic Abuse
Men's violence against women in Scotland has only recently emerged onto the national policy agenda, based to a large extent on three decades of work on the issue by feminist activists and organisations. The research presented here is a case study of the policy process that produced domestic violence as a policy priority in Scotland—the Scottish Partnership to Address Domestic Abuse, which operated from 1998 to 2000. The research describes the maturing of a social movement as it engaged with the State at a key moment in Scottish history, exploring the nature of that engagement in the context of power, influence, political opportunity, policy processes and partnerships. Key findings focus on feminist engagement with the Scottish State, on the structures of partnership working, and on prospects for intervention in political processes for those usually marginalised in policy making.Set up in 1998 to define a national strategy for addressing domestic violence, the Partnership officially ended its work in November 2000 with the presentation of the National Strategy on Domestic Abuse to the Scottish Parliament. Data were gathered from interviews and documentary analysis. Data gathering focused on feminist efforts to penetrate policy processes, on the establishment of the Partnership in the context of an increasingly minimalist, differentiated system of governance, and on the location of the Partnership at the intersection of devolution and 30 years of feminist activity on men's violence against women. How new voices came to the table, Partnership processes for agenda setting and decision making, and the naming and framing of policy problems throughout the life of the Partnership- —all emerged as important themes. Analysis revealed substantial increases in access to decision makers and policy networks, and the findings reflect significant influence of the VAW sector on the national policy agenda. Also clear was the success of resistant institutions within criminal justice and health at maintaining the status quo in their sectors and protecting their policy processes from feminist influence.