THE Scottish Government will respond to concerns raised by a United Nations expert on violence against women about trans law reforms working their way through Parliament, the First Minister has said.

Nicola Sturgeon’s government is currently in the process of making changes to the process by which transgender people can change their legally-recognised sex on official documents – which the UN special rapporteur on violence against woman Reem Alsalem has said do not properly consider potential unintended consequences.

In a letter the UK Foreign Secretary, Alsalem said the Scottish Government’s plans could “potentially open the door for violent males who identify as men to abuse the process of acquiring a gender certificate and the rights that are associated with it”.

This, she added, could risk the safety of not only cisgendered women but “trans women, and gender non-conforming women”.

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Raising the matter in Holyrood afternoon on Thursday, Tory MSP Pam Gosal urged the Scottish Government to put the plans on hold.

Sturgeon said Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison would respond to the UN expert soon.

Gosal said: “The United Nations claim that this bill could allow violent males access to women-only spaces, posing a risk to the safety for both women and trans women. The expert appealed to the Scottish Government to set aside more time to consider the bill’s possible unintended consequences. Can I ask the First Minister; does she agree with this United Nations expert that this bill should be postponed, so that these legitimate concerns about the women’s safety can be addressed.”

The First Minister suggested that the concerns could “further stigmatise the trans community”, arguing it was “violent men” who were responsible for the vast majority of violence against women.

She said: “I believe that those who are responsible for violent attacks on women are those who perpetrate those attacks and where that is as is very, very often the case, violent men, it is violent men that we should be focusing on.

“They continue to pose the biggest risk to women and I don’t believe we should further stigmatise the trans community because of the actions of violent men.

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“Violent men who right now want to access women-only spaces do not need a gender recognition certificate to do that, so let’s focus on the problem and the problem is violent men, that is the one that we should focus on.

“In terms of the comments from the person from the UN, of course we will respond in full to that. I’m not sure the comments were quite as they were characterised in the question but the Social Justice Secretary will respond in detail on the issues raised.

“Many of these issues have been discussed and addressed already by Parliament during stages one and two of the bill and of course Parliament will have the opportunity to discuss the bill again at stage three of the legislative process shortly.”

The bill is expected to pass into law shortly, with a pro-reform majority locked in at Holyrood, despite a number of SNP MSPs rebelling on the legislation, with the green light from party high command.

Among them was Ash Regan, the former community safety minister, who dramatically quit government so she could vote against the Government – one of few shock resignations from the SNP’s government in its long time in power in Edinburgh.