The safety and well-being of women and children at risk of experiencing violence during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is being supported with funds for key organisations.
Grants from the SNP Government’s £350 million Communities Fund have been made to Scottish Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis Scotland to ensure key support services are maintained and victims still have access to methods of reporting crimes during the crisis, including online video platforms, text messaging and phone calls.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf MSP said:
“We want women and children experiencing domestic abuse in the home to know that although they may feel isolated and vulnerable during these unprecedented times, they are not alone.
“Anyone experiencing violence, including coercive and controlling behaviours, should not feel in any way inhibited by the current coronavirus outbreak to report a crime against them.
“These are enormously difficult times but the safety of women and child victims who experience abuse in the home is paramount. The message to stay at home does not mean that they should not seek urgent help, advice or support.
“As the anniversary of the Domestic Abuse Scotland Act 2018 approaches, it is a priority now as ever that victims of domestic abuse and gender based violence have access to support services and that organisations and frontline staff working to provide these vital services are given the backing required to deliver new ways of working in these unprecedented times.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“Having to stay inside our own homes can be challenging due to the lack of social contact. However, it is even more difficult for those now forced to spend more time in a home where they feel unsafe, such as those who are physically or emotionally abused by partners, parents or carers.
“As domestic abuse will continue and – likely – increase during this crisis, I can’t stress enough that even during the lockdown, anyone who does not feel safe at home should be encouraged to seek help and make their way to safety if they can.
“If you are in immediate danger and unable to talk on the phone, please do call 999 and then press 55. This will transfer your call to the relevant Police force who will assist you without you having to speak.”
Scottish Women’s Aid will receive £1.35 million over six months and Rape Crisis Scotland will receive £226,309 over six months.
Scotland’s 24 hour Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline is available on 0800 027 1234.
Rape Crisis Scotland Helpline is available on 08088 01 03 02. Calls to this number are free. Or email email@example.com or text 07537 410027.
The SNP Government has provided an additional £825,000 to Police Scotland to support the training of officers and frontline staff to respond to and investigate the new domestic abuse offence.