Scotland bears many hallmarks of a case of successful feminist constitutional activism: high levels of women's descriptive representation in the devolved parliament and a gender-inclusive institutional design mutually reinforced one another, opening up the political process. In this article domestic violence policy is examined in order to address the question as to whether political devolution has led to positive gender outcomes, in respect of substantive gains for women. The actors, institutions and outcomes of Scottish initiatives (1998-2007) are traced and it is argued that policies have been distinctive in the UK with respect to timing, framing and approach. Domestic violence, therefore, provides a striking case where devolution 'has made a difference' to the substantive representation of women, with positive - albeit fragile - outcomes.
- constitutional change
- substantive representation of women
- domestic violence policy