by Mariah Kelly, Business Support Assistant
For many people, social distancing and self-isolation will mean spending increased periods of time with perpetrators of abuse. Victims/survivors may also experience increased anxiety and threat at the prospect of an abuser knowing that they are home.
To support the safety and wellbeing of women and children during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Scottish Government are providing additional grants to the charities Scottish Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis Scotland. Scottish Women’s Aid will receive £1.35 million over six months and Rape Crisis Scotland will receive £226,309 over six months.
On 19 March 2020, Scottish Women’s Aid published a statement that discusses some of the COVID-19 impacts on their services, along with the support that remains available:
“For some Women’s Aid groups, this pandemic means moving to new ways of working – including providing their service over the phone, online, by text or by email. Women seeking support during this time should still reach out to their local Women’s Aid group, contact details for all of them are available on our website. Our staff can still help with the same safety planning, emotional support and referrals for other services that they would do in person, and some groups are still running in-person appointments. Individual groups’ responses are under constant review, and each group will make decisions about the provision of their service based on information as it becomes available.”
“In all of this, frontline services, the police and the justice system must be particularly attuned to the dynamics of domestic abuse and the ways that it restricts the freedoms of the women, children and young people who experience it.”
“Our website has a wealth of information on it and we would encourage professionals with questions about their practice during this time to reach out to us.”
There are many resources available if you or somebody you know is affected by domestic abuse. Scotland’s 24-hour Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline is available at 0800 027 1234 or www.sdafmh.org.uk/. Specially trained staff are available to offer support and information for anyone experiencing domestic abuse, those concerned about someone else and professionals with questions. While it may not be safe to call the helpline whilst a perpetrator is in the home, there are online contact forms available and staff can arrange phone calls at a time that is safe and convenient.
In an emergency, always be ready to call 999.
Scottish Women’s Aid: https://womensaid.scot/Rape Crisis Scotland: National Helpline on 08088 01 03 02 (6pm to midnight, 7 days a week) or www.rapecrisisscotland.org.uk/. You can also text them at 07537 410027.
National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0300 999 5428/0800 999 5428 or galop.org.uk/report
Further support and local services for women: www.mygov.scot/domestic-abuse/support-for-female-victims/
Further support and local services for men: https://www.mygov.scot/domestic-abuse/support-for-male-victims/