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Joint statement on the Scottish Government’s announcement of a public enquiry into policing in Emma Caldwell’s case.

11th March 2024

Time for justice, time for change

It took 19 years for Emma Caldwell’s murderer to be brought to justice. This is not acceptable.

As organisations working to end violence against women, we know all too well of the challenges survivors face when reporting abuse and violence and seeking justice.

We welcome the Scottish Government’s announcement to hold a public enquiry to review the failures of the police service in the case of Emma. However, too many women who sell sex in Scotland are still living with high levels of harm, abuse, and violence on a daily basis, with most perpetrators not held to account. 

These women are still waiting to get justice.

No family should go through the pain and grief that the Caldwell family has gone through. The families of Sheila Anderson, Diane Mcinally, Karen McGregor, Leona McGovern, Marjorie Roberts, Jacqueline Gallagher and Joanna Colbeck are still waiting on answers. They too deserve justice.

No woman should ever have to experience violence because she is involved in selling or exchanging sex.

We are collectively calling for leadership, commitment, and political will to ensure that women who sell sex are no longer pushed to the margins.

This public inquiry should lead to more than lessons and answers, we want to see meaningful reform of our policing and justice systems.

And beyond that, we are calling for:

  • Clear messaging from our leaders that violence against women, including those who sell or exchange sex, has no place in Scotland.

  • Prevention to be taken seriously so no men commit violence against women again.

  • Sustainable and long-term investment and resources so women can access specialist support when they are involved in, and when they decide to leave the ‘sex industry.’

  • Ensuring that when women experience abuse, they are treated as victims of a crime and not as criminals.

  • Above all a justice system which ensures that men who cause harm and violence can be brought to account.



Women’s Support Project

Scottish Women’s Aid

Rape Crisis Scotland

Victim Support Scotland

Zero Tolerance

Scottish Women’s Convention


Financially Included

Say Women

Wise Women

Women's Hub Dundee

Vice Versa

Routes Out


Assist / VAW Services

Glasgow Violence Against Women Partnership

Beira’s Place

Dumfries & Galloway Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Support Centre

Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre

Fife Rape and Sexual Centre

Glasgow Rape Crisis Centre

Lanarkshire Rape Crisis

Moray Rape Crisis

Orkney Rape and Sexual Assault Service

Rape Crisis Grampian

Rape and Sexual Abuse Service Highland (RASASH)

WRASAC Dundee & Angus

RASAC Perth and Kinross

Amina MWRC

Argyll and Bute Women’s Aid

Clackmannanshire Women's Aid

Clydebank Women’s Aid

Dumfries Women’s aid

East Ayrshire Women’s Aid

East and Mid Lothian Women’s Aid

Edinburgh Women’s Aid

Fife Women’s Aid

Hemat Gryffe Women’s Aid

Inverness Women’s Aid

Lochaber Women’s Aid

Moray Women’s Aid

Motherwell & District Women’s Aid

Shakti Women’s Aid

Stirling & District Women's Aid

South Ayrshire Women’s Aid

West Lothian Women's Aid

Western Isles Women's Aid


Jacci Stoyle, Secretariat Cross Party Group Commercial Sexual Exploitation

Michelle Burman, Professor of Criminology Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR) University of Glasgow

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